Gwenda Bond returns with Double Down, starring our new favorite teen heroine Lois Lane in an all new adventure!
Once again Gwenda gives us a fantastic adventure that show us teen life at its most normal. Popular kids worried about being popular, siblings who can’t get along, unrequited crushes, and that general lack of confidence that’s all too familiar from those years. That alone would be reason enough to recommend Double Down but as you dig deeper into the story you realize that the little exchanges that Gwenda sets up between characters have the potential for real impact on your teen or tween reader. Lois’ lack of experience having friends and her desire not to mess up these new found relationships gives ample opportunity to examine the positive ways we create and maintain friendships.
Thankfully Ms Bond doesn’t make the mistake of preaching or talking down. Her heroine experiences these life lessons on her own without authority figures constantly giving “lectures to learn from.” And those situations end with good, and not so good, results. I remember similar books of my youth books like The Pigman, and Tom Sawyer. Books where adults were present, and contributed to the story but the adventures and the lessons were experienced within the microcosm of youth.
Another aspect to note in this series is the use of teenage limits to highlight gender issues. Lois runs into the common age specific road blocks during her investigations of course, parents, teachers, and other authority rarely enjoy “meddling kids”, but when the roadblock is decidedly misogynistic Gwenda doesn’t hesitate to make it obvious. And those gender based slights Lois endures? Totally normal. And she handles them with intelligence and the hint of attitude you’d attribute to that wonderful character Margot Kidder brought to the screen so many years ago. As a father of a tween girl I greatly appreciate the highlighting of those issues without seeming to pander or preach.
Speaking of Margot Kidder and comic book character interpretations in general, you could easily mistake this attempt to tell modern stories of a young Lois in the same vein as a certain show on FOX. But unlike Gotham, Double Down doesn’t spend the reader’s time trying to re-imagine every possible character from Lois’ corner of the DCU. Except for Lois’ parents, Perry White, and a certain farm boy who has yet to be named, there are no characters that even resemble those of the comic book. Instead you get a great story about a tough, charismatic young woman who you can totally see growing into the hard-nosed reporter we all love.
It seems with this Lois Lane series, and Double Down in particular, Gwenda Bond has found a place to speak to kids from a kids perspective, and it comes off very genuine. And she does it while maintaining the integrity of a comic book icon and introducing brand new characters in a familiar environment that feels totally right.