Ms. Marvel: No Normal revolves around Kamala Khan, a Pakistani Muslim teen living in New
Jersey, dealing with being culturally separated from both her parents and schoolmates. Within
this weird limbo of teenage frustration, her newfound powers could be just what’s needed to
finally find where her place is in this world.
One thing I love is when the heroines of stories are relatable, flawed, and grow fast. So, Kamala is easily one of my favorites. I especially liked that the tone of the novel was lighthearted and filled with humor from Kamala's voice instead of dark and edgy, which seemed to be a big trend recently in multiple mediums. Most of the praise is going toward the diversity of the cast, which is true.
Having any Muslim characters, much less a main character, is really hard to find unless they're stereotypical cardboard cutouts of a culture, not a personality of their own. Kamala and the Khan family are not limited to their religion for personality and they are not portrayed as negative for their religion.
The plot isn't centered around the villain or the fight against evil, instead it looks at Kamala's struggles as a Muslim person-of-color (POC) teenager in the first half of the novel before watching her growth as a person and a hero in the second half. The theme of not being "normal" when compared to other people are handled extremely well and with plenty of respect. Cultural ignorance is a type of normal to POC, as many people do not tend to realize the diversity of other cultures and ethnic groups.
This graphic novel handled the subject of dealing with this ignorance against your own self image with its own brand of humor, leaving a memorable message. This new brand of hero is amazing for readers of all kinds and hopefully more people will follow Marvel's example in diverse writing.
-Vania, River Teen Advisory Board