The Spec Set by Taya Okerland is a fun inter-dimensional romp where neurodivergent characters get the chance to be the heroes!
Title: The Spec Set
Author: Taya Okerland
Genre: YA/ Science Fiction
Length: 338 Pages
Available in paperback from Amazon and for free on Kindle Unlimited!
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Inter-dimensional espionage is child’s play.
Sucking liquid nitrogen-frozen popsicles in a geek hostage program (science camp) is the last way Emile wants to spend his summer, but when a camp chemistry experiment explodes into a full blown FBI accusation against his little brother Max, Emile has real work to do.
Emile knows Lilly Fang can help, and will, if he can avoid antagonizing her for ten minutes. Actually, Lilly Fang has a lot of secrets, including a lifelong neurological condition, a set of fantastical super powers, and a reporting relationship with CIA. Lilly assembles a defensive team in Max’s behalf. The teens will need all their strength (and their weaknesses) to find the thief and foil a potentially universe-spanning bomb threat. The chase will take them as far as the Y Universe, where physical laws make everything chemically unpredictable.
The Spec Set is a contemporary fantasy like The Breakfast Club meets X-Men. (less)
My Review of The Spec Set:
The Spec Set by Taya Okerlund was a fun and fast paced inter-dimensional adventure that will delight fans of the X-Men, the Avengers, or superheroes in general. Okerlund populates her pages with a diverse group of characters that seem to jump off the page. The protagonist, E, is particularly lifelike as he does his best to figure out how to balance navigating the world with his newfound super powers while being the best big brother possible.
The protagonist’s younger brother, Max, was my favorite character. I have friends and family members that I dearly love who have Asperger’s Syndrome and/or Autism Spectrum Disorder. Although I have read many nonfiction books about what it is like to love a person with autism, this is the first time I have had the opportunity to read a work of fiction in which neruodivergent characters had the opportunity to be the heroes.
One of the things I thoroughly enjoyed about The Spec Set by Taya Okerlund was that she was willing to take risks with her writing and to explore the world through a unique point of view. I have a soft spot for science fiction and it has been a long time since I have had the opportunity to visit this genre. I particularly enjoy the way science fiction allows us to speculate about the world in which we live and to ask what life would be like if things were just a little different or if technology was just slightly more advanced.
In The Spec Set, Okerlund asks the question that many of us have been asking all along: What if neurodivergence isn’t a disability- what if it is a unique and beautiful way of living and existing in this world? Then, Okerlund answers this question by adding a healthy dose of imagination and adventure.
The only note of constructive criticism that I have about this book is also a compliment: I would have liked to have seen more in-depth characterization. The entire cast of characters were so fascinating that I would have happily read more about them and their background stories. I wish that the author would have spent a little more time delving into the characters’ diverse motivations; however, i also appreciate the fact that she kept the story moving forward with a sort of frenetic energy that kept me rapidly turning the pages.
If you love diverse representation in literature or enjoy a good science fiction book, The Spec Set is one adventure that y ou won’t want to miss!
Note: I would like to thank the author for a free digital copy of this book. I received a free digital copy of The Spec Set in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Follow Taya Okerland:
Author’s Goodreads Page