This is a strikingly illustrated book set in a potentially massive world, and readers will hope this isn't the only story to...

DECELERATE BLUE

The U.S.A. is governed by forces dedicated to accelerated living, monitoring everyone with implants and countless cameras and harshly punishing sedition.

Speech is streamlined, literature and media are truncated, and teenager Angela's parents fall into line, shrugging off horrifying punishments doled out to those resisting the new order as what they deserve. After Angela learns that her parents are sending her grandfather to a "reduction colony" for not keeping his heart rate up to government standards, she visits him and learns that he buried something for her by the biggest trees by the sprawling, oxygenated Megamall. She cuts class to get it but is grabbed by someone who leads her into a literal underground movement—and she doesn't want to leave. At 208 pages of stark black-and-white illustration by Cavallaro, punctuated by color in powerful moments (as when Angela experiences her first “girl kiss”), this is a substantial graphic novel. But despite moments of brilliance in the story, it suffers from its own acceleration, narrowing what could be a vast world. There's enough here for three or more books to give readers more time with Angela as she decelerates, learns, and finds love in resistance fighter Gladys and to introduce more than the singular obviously nonwhite character met here.

This is a strikingly illustrated book set in a potentially massive world, and readers will hope this isn't the only story to come from it. (Graphic science fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-59643-109-6

Page Count: 208

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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THE ODYSSEY

Hinds adds another magnificent adaptation to his oeuvre (King Lear, 2009, etc.) with this stunning graphic retelling of Homer’s epic. Following Odysseus’s journey to return home to his beloved wife, Penelope, readers are transported into a world that easily combines the realistic and the fantastic. Gods mingle with the mortals, and not heeding their warnings could lead to quick danger; being mere men, Odysseus and his crew often make hasty errors in judgment and must face challenging consequences. Lush watercolors move with fluid lines throughout this reimagining. The artist’s use of color is especially striking: His battle scenes are ample, bloodily scarlet affairs, and Polyphemus’s cave is a stifling orange; he depicts the underworld as a colorless, mirthless void, domestic spaces in warm tans, the all-encircling sea in a light Mediterranean blue and some of the far-away islands in almost tangibly growing greens. Don’t confuse this hefty, respectful adaptation with some of the other recent ones; this one holds nothing back and is proudly, grittily realistic rather than cheerfully cartoonish. Big, bold, beautiful. (notes) (Graphic classic. YA)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7636-4266-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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A heartwarming, funny story filled with richness and complexity.

PUMPKINHEADS

Autumn loving, they had a blast; autumn loving, it happened too fast.

Having worked together in the Succotash Hut at the pumpkin patch for years, best friends and co-workers Deja and Josiah, who goes by Josie, ditch work and find love on their last night, heading out in search of Josie’s unrequited love, the girl who works in the Fudge Shoppe. Deja, a witty and outgoing girl who attracts—and is attracted to—boys and girls alike, is set on helping the shy, rule-following Josie move out of his comfort zone before they part ways for college. Deja encourages Josie to take a chance and talk to the girl of his dreams instead of pining for her from afar. Not to be dissuaded by his reticence, Deja leads Josie to multiple stops in the Patch in search of the almost-impossible-to-find Fudge Girl, with every stop taking them in a new direction and providing a new treat. As they journey through the Patch—chasing a snack-stealing rascal, dodging a runaway goat, and snacking their way through treats from fudge to Freeto pie—they explore the boundaries of their friendship. Visually bright and appealing in autumnal reds, oranges, and yellows, the art enhances this endearing picture of teenage love. Deja is a beautiful, plus-sized black girl, and Josie is a handsome, blond white boy.

A heartwarming, funny story filled with richness and complexity. (Graphic fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62672-162-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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