Never trust a guy in spandex.
In Abby Hamilton’s world, superheroes do more than just stop crime and save cats stuck in trees—they also drink milk straight from the carton and hog the television remote. Abby’s older brother moonlights as the famous Red Comet, but without powers of her own, following in his footsteps has never crossed her mind.
That is, until the city’s newest vigilante comes bursting into her life.
After saving Abby from an attempted mugging, Morriston’s fledgling supervillain Iron Phantom convinces her that he’s not as evil as everyone says, and that their city is under a vicious new threat. As Abby follows him deeper into their city’s darkest secrets, she comes to learn that heroes can’t always be trusted, and sometimes it’s the good guys who wear black.
Chosen by readers like you for Macmillan's young adult imprint Swoon Reads, The Supervillain and Me is a hilarious, sweet, and action-packed novel by debut author Danielle Banas that proves no one is perfect, not even superheroes.
The setting was world literature class. Period one. Here’s how it went down: My teacher, who will remain nameless, gave my class a poetry assignment right before Christmas break. I forget exactly what qualities the poem had to possess, but I can tell you that I didn’t put a lot of work into it. Like basically no work at all. And can you blame me? I was just trying to get all my homework done before break started; I didn’t care if I did a good job or not, which in retrospect was probably my number one mistake.
There is only one line from that stupid poem that I still remember to this day. I compared knowledge to a juicy steak. Why? I don’t remember, but I did. A juicy steak. And then, when I let two of my best friends read it, they laughed in my face and told me it was ridiculous.
I mean, it kind of was ridiculous, but I didn’t really care. Like I said, I just wanted to go on Christmas vacation.
Fast forward about a week and a half, and I was back in hell (AKA period one world literature). The class was boring, as usual. And I most definitely was counting down the minutes until I got to leave, as usual.
And then my teacher did the unthinkable.
She pulled out the stack of poems we had turned in before break, grinning at us like she just won the lottery, and announced that we were going to play a game. She was going to read our poems out loud, and we were going to guess which one of our classmates was the author.
Now let me repeat that for the folks in the back. She was going to read my stupid juicy steak poem that my friends had made fun of out loud.
No. No, no, no. Because, you see, when I was in school I had an inherent fear of anyone reading anything that I wrote out loud. I was totally fine with my teacher reading my crappy poem in the privacy of her own home while she drank herbal tea and graded papers, but she was not, under any circumstances, going to read about my juicy steak for the entire class to hear.
I still remember that moment so well. My face was on fire, blood pounding in my ears. My heart was skipping beats, and I somehow felt both hot and cold at the same time. She was going to do it. The first poem she picked up off the stack was going to be mine, and everyone was going to laugh at me and I was going to spend the rest of my senior year getting made fun of for comparing steak to knowledge and I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t breathe –
And the first poem she picked up… miraculously wasn’t mine.
But she reached for another…
And then the bell rang.
Yes! I was saved by the freaking bell. Literally. I had two days before I would have to sit in my world literature class again, and because my stupid steak poem had turned me into a sweating ball of anxiety, I knew that I had to fix this.
So I wrote another poem. This one was about flowers and sunshine – exactly what everyone else in my class had written about (because I was the only weirdo who chose to write about steak). Then the next day, after school was over and the building emptied out, I snuck into my teacher’s classroom with the intention of digging through her desk and swapping my crappy poem for my brand new, good one.
Now if you’re reading this and thinking that I sound crazy and desperate, you’re absolutely right. I was crazy. And desperate. But I couldn’t stomach the thought of any of my classmates reading this lousy thing that I wrote. It was like giving them access to a part of my brain that was way too intimate and vulnerable, something that I wasn’t prepared to share with the world quite yet at seventeen years old. In my mind, there was no other option. I would pull this off, or I would melt into a puddle of embarrassment and die.
So I snuck into my world lit teacher’s classroom, creeping across the linoleum floor in the dark, a January blizzard raging outside the windows, listening to every hum and creak the building made, terrified that the night janitor or the vice principal or my teacher herself would walk in on me. (Now is probably a good time to point out that I went to a Catholic school, and if I got caught then the devil himself would smite me and drag me to the depths of hell. Well…maybe that’s dramatic. But I would have received a ton of detention.)
I held my breath as I shuffled through the folders on my teacher’s desk, removing them gently, careful not to disturb the papers so that I could put everything back perfectly the way it was. Guys, I was like James-freaking-Bond.
The first few folders didn’t have anything interesting, but the third one…eureka. I saw the names of my classmates, and I flipped through until I found mine, positive that someone was going to walk in front of the classroom door at any moment and spot me.
I found my name, found my lame steak-knowledge poem staring up at me, mocking me. I gripped it in my hands, ready to switch it for something far better. But…then I realized that I couldn’t. Because she had already graded my poem.
Right there, on top of my lame “knowledge is like a juicy steak” poem that my friends had laughed at, the poem that caused me almost 36 hours of sheer panic and anxiety…was a big…fat…A.
She gave me an A.
I looked back and forth from the steak poem to my brand new flower poem. Surely, I was in some kind of sit-com or alternate universe because there was no way this was happening. But it was. And I knew deep down inside that I couldn’t switch the poems. She would notice. And, I mean, I was pretty happy to take the A.
So I returned the steak poem to the folder, put her desk back exactly the way I’d found it, and then I grabbed my flower poem and walked out the door.
I went home. And no one ever found out what had transpired in my teacher’s classroom on that January afternoon. And you know what else? She never finished playing the poem game. Meaning that the horrible steak poem, the thing that made me physically sick, was never read out loud. All the stress had been for nothing.
So moral of the story: Don’t be ashamed of your writing. If I wrote the same boring flower and sunshine poem as the rest of my classmates, then maybe I wouldn’t have gotten that A. And if I was afraid of people reading my novel about a bunch of quirky superheroes, then I never would have been published. It’s definitely easier said than done, but I’m trying to have more faith in my writing abilities. I hope that this story helps you to do the same.
Follow her on Twitter or Instagram @daniellebanas
a Rafflecopter giveaway