Faith: Taking Flight

Book review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
Faith: Taking Flight Book Poster Image
Fun superhero origin story is body and LGBTQ+ positive.

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Superhero fantasy meant to entertain. Readers will gain some insight into living with someone who has dementia.

Positive Messages

It's not what you can do that makes you special, it's connections you make with people, your relationships with those you love most. Achieving your dreams doesn't solve all your problems. You can't escape problems, either; eventually they have to be dealt with. Fat people can be and do anything. Even if you think you have a good reason for doing something bad, it's still bad. Ends don't justify means.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Faith is a great role model for body positivity. She's fat, but that doesn't define her or what she's capable of. She's optimistic, and she feels things deeply. She does well in school, works part-time at an animal shelter, and is a loyal friend. She lives with her grandmother; they get along well and Faith is helpful and responsible at home. Her sexual orientation is "abstract"; she feels a spark with a boy and with a girl. One best friend identifies as gay, the other as pansexual. Both are positive models of loyal friends. Faith is White. Other characters represent a variety of races or ethnicities.


Fantasy superpowers include character who can set people on fire, which she does to several people. Screams are mentioned; no bloody or gory descriptions. A fight with hitting, a kick in the groin. An important character is involved in a shooting; lots of blood mentioned but not described. A Halloween activity has scares from costumed zombies, chainsaw maniacs, etc. People and animals are in danger from a burning building. People and animals are held captive and experimented on, though nothing's directly narrated. Faith punches an almost-unconscious girl to knock her out completely.


One same-sex kiss is briefly described and mentions tongue. Mention of a teen looking up porn on the internet as normal. Mention of a fictional TV show with teens who have trouble getting birth control and an episode about abortion. Those issues don't come up in the novel, though.


"S--t," "f--k," "d--k," "hell," "damn," "ass," "crap," "boobs," "balls," "dumbass," middle-finger gesture. "Holy" is in front of many swear words -- e.g., "holy s--tballs."


Various food, beverage, clothing, pop culture references. Virginia Slims mentioned once. A fictional drug is compared to Adderall.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teen main characters don't drink. At a nightclub their hands are marked so they can't get alcohol, but they're not interested in it anyway. A minor character has a joint, slurs her words, nearly falls off the roof and gets knocked out. One plot point involves mysterious new drug compared to Adderall making rounds at nearby school. Faith's friend starts using it with severe consequences, including jail and witnessing a shooting. A character mentions that her mother loved getting high. Faith's grandmother quit smoking but during dementia-related episode is found smoking. Mention that workers take smoke breaks. Mention of pack of cigarettes among TV show props.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Faith: Taking Flight is a superhero-origin novel of a Valiant Comics character, written by Julie Murphy, author of the popular book Dumplin'. It's also the first in a planned duology. Faith, who eventually becomes the superhero Zephyr, is a role model for body positivity, showing that fat people can be and do anything. She and most other characters are also positive LGBTQ+ models. Sexy stuff is pretty mild: mostly teens talking about crushes, with one same-sex kiss briefly described and mentioning tongue. Characters talk about a fictional TV show, mentioning access to birth control and an episode dealing with abortion. Violence is also pretty mild, with a few fights, suspense from characters in danger, and a superpower that sets people on fire. Strong language includes "f--k," "s--t," and "d--k" and many swear words with "holy" in front. There are several references to cigarettes, and a grandmother who quit smoking is discovered with a cigarette. Part of the plot involves an Adderall-type illegal drug gaining popularity among high schoolers. One character uses it and faces severe consequences. Parental loss is a strong theme. Both of Faith's parents died in a car crash when she was about 6, and she mentions missing them and how her life has been affected. Faith lives with her grandmother, who's beginning to show signs of dementia. Readers will learn a little about what it's like to live with and take care of someone with dementia.

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What's the story?

In FAITH: TAKING FLIGHT, Faith Herbert seems like an ordinary teen, and she pretty much is until, you know, she takes flight. As in superhero flight, for real. Faith keeps pretty busy between work, school, and totally geeking out over the fact that her favorite TV show, The Grove, has started filming in her own hometown. But even with all that going on, Faith soon notices that animals, and then people, are starting to go missing all over town. And the few who are seen again are found in a catatonic state. Something strange is clearly going on, and the more Faith digs into it, the more it looks as if her crush, Dakota, and other members of The Grove production team may be involved.

Is it any good?

This entertaining superhero origin story teams popular author Julie Murphy with the Valiant Comics franchise to bring lots of positivity to the genre. Body size, sexual orientation, and good old-fashioned upbeat optimism are the order of the day and make Faith: Taking Flight a refreshing and inclusive superhero story. Even though it's the first of a planned duology, the story wraps up nicely while leaving room for further adventures. Some of the plot and the characters are pretty transparent, and it takes a while for the mystery to deepen and build. But superhero fans and fans of Julie Murphy will enjoy the upbeat tone, along with the action and mystery without all the violence and brooding that define so many superhero stories.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the positive role models in Faith: Taking Flight. What are Faith's character strengths and weaknesses? Do you like or admire her? What about any other characters?

  • Why is it important for books, movies, TV, and other media to have diverse, positive representation of different types of people? 

  • Why are superhero franchises so popular? What do we love about them?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love superheroes and girl power

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