Review: Super 40

super-40_lucy-woodhull_cover Super 40 by Lucy Woodhall

My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the second book I’ve read by Lucy Woodhull—the first was her 2016 release, 667 Ways to F*ck Up My Life.

Super 40 is a gem that celebrates womanhood in all forms while hooking us with Woodhull’s amazing sense of humor.

The book introduces us to Shannon, a 40-year-old divorcee living with her parents, working in a yarn shop… and, oh yes, she also obtains a superpower in the most embarrassing way possible. Shannon learns that life isn’t over at 40, and no matter what cards you’re dealt, you need to kick some butt and have fun while doing it.

Divorced, broke, and living with her parents—forty-year-old Shannon Johnson is clearly winning at life.

She’s so awesome, she accidentally uses a tampon irradiated in Kazakhstan. Suddenly, this mush-mouthed loser becomes a superheroine who can shoot menstrual cramps from her fingers.

No, really.

But her new mission of saving NYC’s abused women gets complex for Super 40. With her teleporting partner Dolly Poppin’, Super 40 runs afoul of domestic abusers, jerky news anchors, and an evil scientist with cats. Even worse, someone’s trying to kill the partners for reasons unknown, which is just plain rude. Is it the mysterious flying Antihero? The robo-kittens? Or one of the delightful internet trolls always eager to call Shannon fat and ugly?

This book is not afraid to take on the superhero genre and give it a much needed shake. Some of superpowers the various ‘heroes’ have here border on the edge of ridiculous (in a hilarious way, of course). Getting involved with this eclectic bunch—especially Dolly, who is a sassy bundle of perfection—pulls Shannon out of her comfort zone. She evolves a lot during the book, going from quiet, miserable, and trod upon to unashamed, verbal, and proud of everything that is Shannon.

We experience everything Shannon loves throughout, and so much of it reflects the average woman. Loving junk food that you probably shouldn’t? Check. Happier not conforming your body image to impress others? Check. Sick of others suggesting “cures” for something incurable? Check. Sweating in embarrassing places? Oh admit it—it’s a thing. Check. The line that resonated the most with me was this: “All I wanted to do was sleep. This ‘awake’ business sucked.”

Both myself and this random lady absolutely agree—this awake business sucks some days.

While I really enjoyed the book, there were a couple things that kept me from loving it as much as 667 Ways. One was thanks to an unrelated book I read earlier this year, so it’s something that likely won’t bother 99.999994% of readers.

  1. The superhero club was called “Super Duper”. After reading Venom & Vanilla, I wanted to cry seeing that. In this case, it thankfully was (a) not used often and (b) not used in such a way that made you question the intelligence of (or want to punch) anyone involved.
  2. Shannon’s backstory is quite essential to the book, but there were a couple places where it felt forced and slowed down the plot. This was just a minor thing that could have been solved with a tad less exposition and a teaspoon more action.

Other fun miscellaneous non-spoilery bits:

  • The pamphlets that the superhero group hands out (“So You’re All Tied Up, and Not in a BDSM Dungeon”) are wonderful—and the perfect touch to keep the book flowing.
  • Shannon’s parents! I don’t want to spoil much about them, but the interactions with them are amazing (“My life, as narrated by my father.”).
  • Good imagery in a story is my jam (if there was a song named that, at least), and Woodhull nails this element over and over. My favorite line from chapter one: “The moment I walked into the foyer, my victory tampons clutched inside my coat, my mother began vibrating like a wind-up toy. Her cloud of red hair wobbled, her angora sweater fluffed.” *swoons*
  • Karma Kameleon. I like to imagine that he’s Idris Elba. Hhnnngggngngg.

Super 40 is a fun adventure celebrating all walks of life and womanhood. It’s full of coy humor with a great cast of characters to love. The book will release on March 8 ($3 eBook/$10 paperback). If you pre-order remember to enter Lucy Woodhull’s Twitter giveaway.

I received an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.


View all of my reviews.