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Young Adult Fiction 996
Pitch perfect origin story of Harley Quinn
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Harleen is spending her gap year working in a psych lab at Gotham University as part of a prestigious scholar's program. Her goal: acceptance into Gotham U with a full scholarship. Her obstacles: her father and the sexist STEM environment at the university. After a party goes wrong and the whisper network sends warnings about a few professors, Harleen pairs up with a few girls on campus to create the Reckoning: a girl gang bent on serving justice. A few pranks start to lead to real change, but just when things seem to be going well, one of their members is murdered and more are attacked. Harleen will have to solve the mystery that may hurt her more than she thinks if she wants the future she always imagined.

I was so excited to see this new series focusing on one of my favorite DC characters ever. Harley Quinn has such a distinctive voice, however, so there was nervousness as well. Rachael Allen absolutely nails the Harley voice with humor, sarcasm, and sparkle. In addition, the characterization is phenomenal. At this stage in Harley's life, she's still growing, learning, and figuring out where her own morality and ethical lines fall. It's so easy to understand how she becomes torn later on.

Alongside the characterization, the relationships in this story shine. First is an adorable (with an edge) romance between Harleen and Bernice. Both are shy to trust and have goals of their own, and they slowly open up to each other. Outside of the romance, I loved the friendships between the members of the girl gang. They have a shared mission that brings them together, and I love the scenes when they support each other outside of the mission too, like when they all attend Harleen's gymnastics meet.

HARLEY QUINN: RECKONING is a pitch perfect take on the early years of Harley Quinn. I can't wait to see where the series goes next, especially after the easter egg at the end featuring another beloved character.
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