Book Review: ‘Squirrel Girl: Universe’

‘Squirrel Girl: Universe’ by Tristan Palmgren is a successful young adult superhero adventure worth reading about.

The latest adventure for the ever-popular Squirrel Girl is heading towards bookstores in the not too distant future. I’ve had the opportunity to read an advanced copy of the latest novel in Simon & Schuster’s Marvel Heroines series. Squirrel Girl: Universe by author Tristan Palmgren is scheduled to be released on August 2, 2022.

Squirrel Girl: Universe follows the story of Computer Science student Doreen Green, though best known as the superhero Squirrel Girl, on her latest adventure alongside her best friends as they aim to solve a mystery involving strange occurrences involving New York City landmarks. What they come to encounter becomes a plot larger than they could’ve imagined and brings the characters to numerous unexpected locations beyond their comfort zones. Their journey brings the protagonist face to face with impending massive universal stakes and potential galactic doom. Though while having to deal with such large external stakes, the internal struggles with Doreen could weigh just as large.

Ultimately, Squirrel Girl: Universe was an enjoyable read that has the ability to leave the audience excited for what narrative twists and turns may occur. And this is a novel that certainly places its characters in unexpected situations on multiple occasions. Framed through the literary device of a time capsule, the novel does a strong job in making these events seem like the largest-scale adventure Squirrel Girl faces in her young life as a superhero. Readers will face a major challenge in trying to put down this book based on what may happen after each chapter. In addition, this novel is quite fast-paced and readers are immediately thrown into the crux of the main adventure by the end of the first chapter.

A make-or-break for the reader’s opinion on this book will be its connection to the larger Marvel Universe. This is a story deeply tied into the lore of Marvel Comics, including numerous references beyond the scope of Squirrel Girl’s immediate world and lexicon. It isn’t enough to necessarily dissuade most readers from being able to appreciate the central plot of the novel, but Squirrel Girl: Universe would certainly be most appreciated by those who can understand at least most of the references sprinkled in throughout.

In terms of which character will most likely connect the most with readers, Brian Drayne, aka Brain Drain certainly is the most distinct and unique character that’s part of Squirrel Girl’s ensemble. Especially with how he is framed from a literary standpoint, he will be hard to not connect with when reading the novel.

Though what makes this novel most standout is its thematic messaging. Without delving too deep into the specifics, Squirrel Girl: Universe is a story about internal guilt and how we respond to making the incorrect decision. It’s a challenge often found in humanity, and this novel serves as a resonant way for young readers to have a better understanding of how to deal and move past mistakes made. What makes some of the best young adult novels so powerful is the ability to hold deeper philosophical discussions with the backdrop of some sort of fun action set-piece. And Squirrel Girl: Universe adeptly accomplishes this task with both excitement and heart.

The Verdict: Squirrel Girl Universe is absolutely worth a purchase for any young adult who is an avid reader, and especially one that already has a penchant for the Marvel Universe. The one caveat might be that a reader could be even better served to have at least some understanding of the Squirrel Girl character before jumping into this novel. Though past that, Tristan Palmgren has successfully provided young adults with an exciting superhero adventure worth reading about.

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