Today marks an extremely special day about a book that’s personally close to my heart. If y’all have been following my blog before it rebranded into the golden brown, sunflower-filled space it is today, then the title Secondhand Origin Stories might strike a familiar chord to you. I’ve gushed and lovingly screamed about this wonderfully diverse literary gem on more than one occasion. In fact, I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to organize a blog tour for this book, the #SHOSPH blog tour with a huge bunch of talented, passionate bloggers.
There are honestly so many aspects in Secondhand Origin Stories (written by the amazing Lee Blauersouth) that I absolutely love — its family-centered superhero plot, its remarkable bluntness in tackling social issues, its heartwarming portrayal of friendship and loyalty among a diverse group of superpowered teenagers, and the list stretches interminably. With that said, I am genuinely overjoyed to inform all of you that Lee Blauersouth’s self-published YA debut is celebrating its first year! Yep, today marks the first book birthday of Secondhand Origin Stories.
Of course, this means that an enormous celebration is in order! In line with celebrating its first birthday, Secondhand Origin Stories is getting a new cover designed by the author themselves (and naturally, I want to take a moment to brag about the fact that I got to see the new book cover before all of you — kidding, I love you all 💛). It’s an honor that I get to present the new cover to everyone, especially because I am totally in love with it, and I hope that y’all are as excited as I am for the reveal.
Before I proceed (at this point, y’all should be used to how talkative I can get whenever I’m really hyped and/or passionate about something), Secondhand Origin Stories‘ redesigned book cover is just one of the many, many surprises Lee and I have planned out for this incredibly momentous occasion. In other words, hold on to your seats and keep reading!
by Lee Blauersouth
read the full synopsis.
Opal has been planning to go to Chicago and join the Midwest’s superhero team, the Sentinels, since she was a little kid. That dream took on a more urgent tone when her superpowered dad was unjustly arrested for protecting a neighbor from an abusive situation. Now, she wants to be a superhero not only to protect people, but to get a platform to tell the world about the injustices of the Altered Persons Bureau, the government agency for everything relating to superpowers.
But just after Opal’s high school graduation, a supervillain with a jet and unclear motives attacks the downtown home of the Sentinels, and when Opal arrives, she finds a family on the brink of breaking apart. She meets a boy who’s been developing secret (and illegal) brain-altering nanites right under the Sentinel’s noses, another teenage superhero-hopeful who looks suspiciously like a long-dead supervillain, and the completely un-superpowered daughter of the Sentinels’ leader. Can four teens on the fringes of the superhero world handle the corruption, danger, and family secrets they’ve unearthed?
EXCLUSIVE AUTHOR INTERVIEW
Lee, happy first anniversary to your debut novel, Secondhand Origin Stories! How are you feeling now that your book has been out for one whole year?
It’s been a wonderful year! I still tear up whenever people talk about being attached to these kids. They lived inside me for so long, it means more than I can say to see them finding homes in other people’s hearts, as well.
Aside from your brilliant writing style, I’ve always admired the fact that you design your own book covers. Can you tell us a little bit about the inspiration for this redesigned cover?
To be brutally honest, my initial motivation was completely practical- while I love my old cover, it wasn’t reliably printing well, and I wanted my books to look nice for the people buying them. My priorities the cover were all about mood- this is a superhero book that isn’t action-packed. It’s character driven, and sometimes contemplative, and I wanted the cover to reflect that. I chose cool colors, zoomed in on the characters the story centers around, and chose poses are more about the characters reacting to what’s happening around them than it is about the characters standing in action ready, heroic poses. Then I threw in Jenna’s prosthetic arm to let people know there’s a scifi element and to symbolize some of the losses the family has faced.
I’m not even exaggerating when I say that the tagline of your book — Who is allowed to be a hero? — gives me chills every single time. What’s the story behind this line?
That tagline was the easiest part of the whole project! Probably because it was really the thesis the book- and the whole series really, was built around. I was writing SHOS while people were complaining online about Black Panther and Captain Marvel and how we “don’t need” superheros who are POC, or who are women. I wrote it knowing that the MCU big screen isn’t going to give me queer heroes, and knowing that they cut out Hawkeye’s hearing aides.
Someone online defended the homogeneity of big screen superheroes by saying that US society wouldn’t be able to adapt to or accept superheroes who weren’t white, nondisabled, and nonqueer. They’re too afraid of power in the hands of anyone who doesn’t “look like a superhero”. This seemed to me to be true, and like exactly the kind if situation that needed heroes to come and fix it.
I know I asked this the last time I interviewed you, but I’m going to ask it again anyway: What can you tell us about book 2?
A whole lot more! Edits are well underway. Book two will center around the family going to a small town in southern Minnesota for an important reunion. When they get there they find a mystery: for over 10 years, superpowered people have been quietly going missing from around the isolated hospital where altered’s come for major medical interventions, and the government has been keeping strangely silent about it. We’ll see Yael developing a new relationship to xyr powers and xyr gender, we’ll see Opal coping with being a public member of an institution she wants to dismantle, we’ll see Issac trying to build a new future for himself, Martin on the cusp of a big decision, and Jamie being offered a tempting, life-changing bargain.
WAIT, LOOK AT THE FULL JACKET
YA GIRL’S REVIEW IS NOW A BACK COVER BLURB!!!
When Lee contacted me to ask if I was comfortable with having an excerpt from my review splayed on the cover of Secondhand Origin Stories, I had to literally hug myself with my arms to stop myself from sobbing like a dummy. For the sake of transparency, having my words used as an actual blurb for an actual book is one of my ultimate book blogger dreams (the other one is having my name on an author’s acknowledgements page). So to say that I was delighted by this honor is a laughably huge understatement. I was on the verge of happy tears!!!
I cannot thank Lee enough for believing in me and in the honesty of my words. I’ve always taken pride in the book reviews I write, but wow, this is an entirely different feeling of fulfillment. I am especially honored and humbled because I wholeheartedly adore Secondhand Origin Stories, and I cannot imagine a better book for me to blurb. I think I’ve said this countless times before, but I will actively champion this book until my very last breath. Having said that, don’t forget to grab a copy of Lee Blauersouth’s debut novel, Secondhand Origin Stories, and if you need a bit more convincing: Brimming with social and political relevance – a relevance that has been amplified by the problematic and oppressive climate we are currently facing in real life, Secondhand Origin Stories valiantly attacks globally encompassing, systemic issues, such as racism, marginalization, and inequalities across all intersections, while simultaneously navigating through more individual-centered issues, such as coming to terms with one’s identity and learning to differentiate between what defines a person and what shouldn’t. I am still totally blown away that Lee Blauersouth was able to thoroughly explore all these ideas without ever compromising the quality of the plot’s execution. I don’t know about you, but that takes a whole lot of talent and skill. Effective writing, impressive world-building, wonderfully intricate plot, well-delivered action sequences, and a tremendous impact that unfailingly resonates with the heart of humanity. In all seriousness, in all my years of reading, Lee Blauersouth’s incredible YA debut novel is the most underrated, underappreciated title I’ve ever encountered – and that definitely needs to change immediately. Vastly powerful and all the more empowering, Secondhand Origin Stories demands to be read, loved, and ultimately, internalized.
Click here to read more of my review.
Brimming with social and political relevance – a relevance that has been amplified by the problematic and oppressive climate we are currently facing in real life, Secondhand Origin Stories valiantly attacks globally encompassing, systemic issues, such as racism, marginalization, and inequalities across all intersections, while simultaneously navigating through more individual-centered issues, such as coming to terms with one’s identity and learning to differentiate between what defines a person and what shouldn’t. I am still totally blown away that Lee Blauersouth was able to thoroughly explore all these ideas without ever compromising the quality of the plot’s execution. I don’t know about you, but that takes a whole lot of talent and skill.
Effective writing, impressive world-building, wonderfully intricate plot, well-delivered action sequences, and a tremendous impact that unfailingly resonates with the heart of humanity. In all seriousness, in all my years of reading, Lee Blauersouth’s incredible YA debut novel is the most underrated, underappreciated title I’ve ever encountered – and that definitely needs to change immediately. Vastly powerful and all the more empowering, Secondhand Origin Stories demands to be read, loved, and ultimately, internalized.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S A GIVEAWAY!
In celebration of this book’s first birthday, I am giving away two (2) Kindle copies of Secondhand Origin Stories. I promised myself that I’d take a break from doing giveaways because my finances have gotten really tight, especially with my Malaysia trip in April (as well as my research expenses), but ahh, I just can’t resist! I really want to get this book into the hands of more readers!
With that said, to enter this giveaway, just follow me (@shutupshealea) and Lee Blauersouth (@AmmoniteInk) and RT/share this tweet! For extra entries, you can (1) leave a comment on this post, and (2) add Secondhand Origin Stories on Goodreads. If you did any of the extra entries, please send proof through Twitter.
Two winners will be randomly selected in mid-April and will be contacted via Twitter. Don’t miss out on this incredible chance! Best of luck to everyone who wants to get their hands on this amazing novel!
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I’d love to hear from you!
🌻 What do you think of the new cover for Secondhand Origin Stories for Lee Blauersouth?
🌻 Are you a fan of Marvel films? What kind of representation do you hope to see more frequently in their movies?
🌻 Are you interested in family-centered superhero stories?