Short Story Review: The Thing About Growing Up in Jokertown, Wild Cards #23.1

Good Afternoon Bibliophiles and Book Nerds,

I’m having quite the fruitful last day off from my move/birthday. I worked on my writing, started watching a new anime series (something I haven’t done in AGES), and even finished a short story.

This time around my read was a freebie entitled The Thing About Growing Up in Jokertown by Carrie Vaughn.


Fun fact, I am completely new to the Wild Cards Universe, but according to Wikipedia it’s a series of science fiction superhero shared universe anthologies, mosaic novels, and solo novels written by a collection of more than forty authors.

It’s set largely during an alternate history of post-World War II United States and follows humans who contracted the Wild Card virus, an alien virus that rewrites DNA and mutates survivors.

I’ve seen the Wild Cards stories come up plenty of times on my Tor freebie searches but always ignored them because I didn’t know what they were referring to. So yeah, I had no idea this was book 23.1, but now I’m determined to read more!

You can read the story for free here. 


The Wild Cards universe has been thrilling readers for over 25 years. In Carrie Vaughn’s “The Thing about Growing Up in Jokertown,” a group of teenage jokers yearn to explore outside the confines of their strange little neighborhood and get a real taste of the Big Apple.


The Review



I gave this short story five superpowered stars!

I’ve never read anything in the Wild Cards universe and found this free read on Tor’s website. Man was I blown away!

In this story, we follow Rikki, a superpowered ‘joker’, who wants to go on an adventure with her friends outside of Jokerstown. She’s never been to Central Park, and why can’t she and her joker friends go, even if the nats will stop and stare?

This was truly great. The characters were relatable, unique, and had their own quirks about them. I loved each of their unique powers, even if some of them weren’t quite so useful. They made a great rag-tag team of buddies.

The plot was simple but handled expertly, and I couldn’t get enough. There is obviously so much more to this universe and I have to know more!

Though there were terms I didn’t understand at first, the writing explained it pretty easily and there was no confusion after that.

All in all, this is a perfect read whether you’re a fan of the Wild Cards Universe or just a noob like me.

Definitely recommend!


That’s A Wrap!

Well that’s it for this short story review. I hope you enjoyed it!

Have you read this story? Are there other short stories you’ve read that you simply have to gush about? Feel free to leave a comment. I’d love to start a conversation!

Have a great day!


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