Army brat Lois Lane has moved so often she hasn’t been able to make a steady friend, save her online buddy SmallvilleGuy. Now the Lanes are in Metropolis to stay, and when Lois discovers what appears to be a case of video game cyberbullying, her heart won’t let her leave the girl being bullied to staying a victim. But Lois couldn’t possibly know that she’s stumbled onto something much bigger — and much darker.
When I decided to read Fallout, I figured I’d knock out its just-over-300 pages out in three 100-page readings. And then I started reading, and I couldn’t stop reading, and a few hours later I was finished with the book and wishing I had this book when I was in high school.
Cyberbullying wasn’t as advanced when I was that age as it is now or as it’s presented in Fallout. The girl Lois is trying to help is being bullied in an immersive MMORPG, and the bullying bleeds over into real life. Unable to keep her sense of justice at bay, Lois stands up for the girl when her bullies confront her at school, and she concocts a plan with her coworkers at the Daily Planet’s high school program to help her from the RPG end.
Balancing Lois’s quest to save her classmate are a number of subplots that tie in: her slightly strained family life, her mysterious internet friend SmallvilleGuy that she’s developing a big crush on, and the strange figure she saw lifting something much too heavy for a regular person in the middle of nowhere, Kansas.
Fallout is filled with near-future sci-fi adventure — the video game system her classmate is being bullied on is way more advanced than your average PlayStation — and little references to the larger Superman universe that those more familiar with the franchise will enjoy.
I’ll admit that I have a bias towards Lois and her story because I see my own teenage self in her. By the time she starts high school in Metropolis, she already has a reputation for the things she’s done because she was curious or because she thought it was right. It’s a story that feels weirdly familiar — and because of that, I want to see how she handles the same situation, and she does so much better than I ever did.
Lois Lane: Fallout is everything a contemporary superhero adaptation novel should be: funny, smart, and with just the right balance of action and suspense. It’s got just enough references to the world of Superman to hook in anyone who picked it up for that reason, but the story belongs entirely to Lois, shows her adventures as a journalist and her growth as a young woman finding a place to belong.
I would recommend Fallout for teens who have an interest in writing or just a lot of curiosity, for readers who enjoy a good investigation, and of course, fans of the Superman franchise.
5 out of 5 stars
Feliza Casano is a fan of anime, manga, and every sort of book as well as editor in chief at Girls in Capes. She writes for all sections of the site, and she’s the one behind GiC’s Facebook and Twitter. Follow her on Twitter @FelizaCasano.