Life is full of promise for Demarcus. He’s a strapping sixteen, and just discovered he has superpowers. His prospects brighten even more when a tech giant invites him to a conference for America’s best and brightest youth. But there he will learn that other people have discovered his powers—and their uses for him. In Launch, Jason C. Joyner fuses the idea of superheroes with Christianity, drawing an inspired parallel between superpowers and the miraculous exploits of biblical figures such as Elijah and Samson. With the old man Iaonnes, Joyner even revives Christianity’s oldest urban legend of the disciple who would never die. The story, built around a core of teenagers, technology, and social media, inhabits its youthful, contemporaneous world with conviction. Fun and never airy, Launch offers a good ride.
Best for: Teenagers; fans of superheroes and sci-fi.
Discern: Some violence, often directed at teenagers; adults plot to sacrifice a young girl’s life for their plans.