Nubia: Real One

Nubia: Real One
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Age Range
Release Date
February 02, 2021
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Can you be a hero...if society doesn't see you as a person? Nubia has always been a little bit...different. As a baby she showcased Amazonian-like strength by pushing over a tree to rescue her neighbor's cat. But, despite having similar abilities, the world has no problem telling her that she's no Wonder Woman. And even if she was, they wouldn't want her. Every time she comes to the rescue, she's reminded of how people see her; as a threat. Her moms do their best to keep her safe, but Nubia can't deny the fire within her, even if she's a little awkward about it sometimes. Even if it means people assume the worst. When Nubia's best friend, Quisha, is threatened by a boy who thinks he owns the town, Nubia will risk it all--her safety, her home, and her crush on that cute kid in English class--to become the hero society tells her she isn't. From the witty and powerful voice behind A Blade So Black and with endearing and expressive art by Robyn Smith, comes a vital story for today about equality, identity and kicking it with your squad.

Editor review

1 review
A powerful story of Nubia finding her path
Overall rating
Writing Style
Teen Nubia might have similar powers to Wonder Woman, but she knows the world is more likely to see her as a threat rather than a superhero. Her moms are constantly worried about her safety, but Nubia can't help but come to the rescue when something wrong is happening in front of her, even if it means risking another move. When a guy at their school escalates his harassment of Nubia's best friend, Quisha, Nubia knows there's no hiding. The world may not welcome a superhero who looks like her, but that won't stop her from protecting and saving the people she loves.

NUBIA: REAL ONE has already claimed a spot as one of my favorite reads of the year. L.L. McKinney is a master at crafting emotion-filled dialogue and writing epic conflict, especially the struggles of internal conflict and finding your true path. McKinney exercises the same precise skill in the small moments just as well as the big ones, the times when Nubia and her friends are just talking or Nubia and her crush are having awkward and adorable encounters. This is a story where you sit down to read a few pages and end up consuming the whole novel in one sitting.

In addition to the fantastic story line (featuring themes of friendship, romance, heroism, social justice, and more) is the stunning art work. Robyn Smith created incredible character designs. Smith excelled at making Nubia and the rest of the cast come to life, beautifully executing facial expression and body language that conveyed a world of emotion. My favorite part is how you can see changes in Nubia's body language throughout the novel as she slowly grows in conviction and puts on her Wonder Woman bracelets.

NUBIA: REAL ONE is an action-packed superhero journey about claiming your space when the world tries to tell you over and over again that you don't fit in it. It's about being vulnerable, finding strength in unexpected places, being awkward, being confident, and in the end, being yourself and who you're truly meant to be.
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