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Literature / Please Don't Tell My Parents I Have a Nemesis

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The sequel to Please Don't Tell My Parents I've Got Henchmen by Richard Roberts, released on May 27th, 2017.

Penny's parents, eased into the idea of her superpowers being fully operational, have begun training her as a superhero. Meanwhile, she's determining a way to get rid of her persona as Bad Penny. Claire and Ray have their own plans, but pledge to support Penny in any way they can, even if they're not really ready to be superheroes themselves. When former associates from outer space show up, a mysterious soul-sucking artifact is stolen, and a minion-making villain from the prequels shows up, Penny comes up with a cunning plan to prove herself a hero once and for all, and establish herself as a hero.

The story ends on a major cliffhanger, which will likely be reflected in the tropes listed below, so be warned.


This book exhibits the following tropes:

  • Atrocious Alias: Air Conditioner Man. A former villain who realized he was bad at crime, and now just builds things for people and maintains the SpaceHab exhibit where he's hiding Remmy. Also, better than his real name, Mr. Gobbledonk.
  • Brain Uploading: Used to transfer The Apparition's soul into another body, Penny's engrams into first a villainous and then a heroic robot body, and ultimately her power's consciousness into her body.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Penny manages to finally convince Remmy they're not enemies as they bond over a delicious meal.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: The ending. Everything seems great, Penny's scheme is a success and she's on her way to finally tell her parents she is Bad Penny. Then, the Heart of Gold tricks her into a body swap, but intends to give Penny the same consideration Penny was going to give to her, making Penny the robot double while she continues on in Penny's body as a hero. Then, mid transfer after Penny has been put into the robot body, it turns out that the part of Penny's mind connected to her superpower is still in her flesh body, is evil, and hijacks the body swap scheme to trap Penny in the robot body, attempting to destroy the Heart of Gold, destroying the mind transfer machine, in the process blowing up Penny's left robot arm, and setting out to take over her life, leaving Penny trapped in her lab.
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  • Deus ex Machina: Possibly a literal example. After the Diabolus ex Machina above, a heroine wearing a Nun's habit and (possibly) somehow divine makes good on the promise of a favor from the previous book by appearing and freeing Penny from the wreckage of the Mind Transfer machine, giving Penny a chance to reclaim her body and her life.
  • Every Episode Ending: Defied. While each of the previous three books ended with Penny laughing maniacally, this one ends with her thinking "For some reason, I didn't feel like laughing." This change signifies just how seriously Penny is taking the threat that Evil Penny poses.
  • Evil Twin: Penny accidentally creates one for herself in the process of creating a Good Twin for her to defeat in order to be a hero—yeah, it's complicated.
  • Expendable Clone:
    • Mammon sees their clones as expendable to defend the original. Surprisingly, it does not come back to bite them. Not so much for Penny whose cloned personality decides that it's the superior of the two.
    • Averted when Penny creates her Heart of Gold android. Penny makes arrangements for her to live her own life after her purpose is fulfilled. This doesn't stop the duplicate from planning to steal Penny's body but she tells Penny she would be happy to give her the same consideration.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: A mild example with Brainy Akk as he refuses to believe in water elementals or magic despite living in a superhero universe. A mild case as he mostly objects to the terminology, considering magic just to be something which science will eventually classify.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Once again, Mourning Dove offers to kill Penny's power. She really should have listened.
    • The fact that Penny's power was so eager to create the robot that it even made two near-identical robot hearts is a big clue that it's trying to escape Penny's control.
    • The fact that Penny's power was more willing to assist her. Keep in mind it only seems more willing to cooperate in regards to building the robot such as making an invention that extracts gold from trashed phones, a task that her superpower would normally not even bother with even if she asked.
    • Shortly before her big fight with Heart of Gold Penny, the real Penny contemplates that she has a heart of steel in regards to her Determinator nature... but by the end of the book thanks to Evil Penny's Grand Theft Me she has a literal heart of steel...
  • Genre Blindness: In-Universe. Remmy is entirely ignorant of The Rules The Community plays by, this would have ended VERY badly for her if she had succeeded in exposing Penny.
  • Genre Savvy: Evil Penny. As she says to Real Penny after the latter is trapped in the Robot Body: The Robot duplicate claiming to be the real hero is the oldest one in the book.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: In-Universe subversion. Penny plays the game Little Reaper Girl, about Psychopomp's early life. It's a stealth game that involves killing hundreds of people. Penny assumes that's just the game upping the kill count like normal, but she reads up on what actually happened and is shocked to discover it's actually accurate.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Penny constructs a morally superior robot duplicate of herself. Unsurprisingly, it decides that the world will be a better place if it's driving her body. And then, Penny's power takes over and takes the body instead.
  • Grand Theft Me: First, Robot Penny attempts to hijack Meatbag Pennny's body. Then, Penny's inventing power pulls a double-cross and gets the body instead. In the end, our hero is stuck inside a damaged robot body while a possibly malicious power is returning to her parents in Penny's body.
  • Heel–Faith Turn: Mammon, from I Did NOT Give That Spider Superhuman Intelligence!, claims to have found religion in prison, now using his created minions to do charity work at the hospital. Penny feels he lacks sincerity in his conversion. It turns out that she's right.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Evil Penny. Before she shows up, all Penny really has to worry about is her parents being angry with her for being a supervillain. After she shows up, Penny has to worry about her parents not believing she's herself. Additionally, Evil Penny stole Penny's superpower along with her body, making her dangerous at best and nigh unstoppable at worst.
  • Loyal Phlebotinum: The Machine only obeys Penny. And it's apparently linked to her soul; when she gets put into the robot and her superpower takes over her body, she can't get the Machine to obey her. It won't even clamp over her wrist.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Penny works to get Apparition a human body but ends up putting her into something which looks more like one of H.P. Lovecraft's creations. Apparition, it turns out, is entirely happy with it as it's still flesh and blood, which is all she wanted from a body.
  • The Omniscient: Penny's power, once again, not only knows how everything works and how to make anything, but it can measure things down to the molecule by hand. The fact that the thing that stole Penny's body doesn't know everything makes Penny realize that it's not actually her power, it's the part of Penny's brain that is connected to her power. The distinction is small, but important.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Penny does not feel like laughing at the end of the book, showing just how seriously she is taking Evil Penny stealing her body, power, parents, etc.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Averted with Remmy as their conflict resolves in large part because Penny insists on sitting down to talk with her instead of fighting.
  • Put on a Bus: Ray Viles decides to go train with an Adventurer Archaeologist for the summer. Claire is similarly indisposed, leaving Penny in a bad predicament.
  • Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: Bad Penny's "German grenade" is repurposed as an "Onomatopoeia grenade," which has this effect for any sounds in the vicinity. In other words, laughter is turned into "Ha ha ha," explosions into "Boom," and so forth. It proves useful in sowing confusion, if nothing else.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Mourning Dove has always been Creepy Good and something of an anti-hero, but when faced with The Apparition she insists that The Apparition isn't really Polly Icarus but instead some offshoot of Mourning Dove's powers that ended up possessing Polly's corpse, creating a situation not unlike Alex Mercer and the Blacklight Virus which means the Apparition was never human/alive to begin with. Even if this is true, it doesn't change the fact that Apparition clearly is as much a person as if she actually was Polly's ghost and its hard to see any reason for Mourning Dove to say this other than to further emotionally wound Apparition. That said having to interact with a supervillainess she created through accidentally causing Polly's death and not being able to fully control her powers probably leaves the normally dour Mourning Dove in an even darker mood than usual.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Bull and his family are completely absent from this book, unlike any of the others. though given how shakey Penny and Claudia's friendship is, it makes sense that Penny might not want to spend time with her during the summer. Also we don't get any hints about who or what was responsible for that massive forest fire Penny and many other heroes had to deal with...
  • Wham Episode: After three books with only minor consequence, Penny loses her body to her evil side and ends up stuck in a robot body with no way to reverse it.
  • Zany Scheme: Penny knows she needs to find a way to convince everyone she's a hero. What's the best way to do that? How about downloading your consciousness into a robotic duplicate with a superior moral compass, tell them to throw the fight, and then fess up to the parents since they'll realize it's a robot, but will be distracted by her honesty?


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