Marvel's first YA novel, Mary Jane, mirrors the story told in the Ultimate Spider-Man comic line, though in O'Brien's universe it's from the perspective of the superhero's crush, Mary Jane.
Her once self-absorbed mom realizes she needs to make a change; Peter Parker, M.J.'s old friend and a former nerd, returns to school a total hottie; and M.J., under the weight of criticism from her dance instructor, becomes anorexic. In the end, M.J. wins the battle with her body and adjusts to her mom's intense involvement with her life.
Having the chance to see this unique world through M.J.'s eyes was pleasantly surprising. M.J. and Peter's romance was more integral and touching than in past renditions of the Spider-Man story. Despite some transition flaws, this is a great read for the tween-age set of 12- to 14-year-old girls. (Jul., 215 pp., $14.95)