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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A sweet romantic fantasy that tackles the uncertain future.

CRUMBS

A seer (with limitations) experiences first love as she tries to navigate her future.

Unlike traditional seers, Ray can only see a person’s present, not their future. Despite the frustrating limitations of her gift, Ray studies at the Council Academy, hoping to join the Grand Council of Sorcerers. As a weekly reprieve, she visits Marigold’s Bakery, where the pastries possess spells to help manifest desired emotions or outcomes; Ray always chooses “romance.” It is there she meets barista Laurie, the owner’s nephew and an aspiring musician. The pair grow closer after Laurie invites Ray to an open mic night with his friends. As Ray contemplates whether the future she’s been working toward is truly the right one for her, Laurie is learning how to overcome rejection after rejection in his musical career. Despite life’s curveballs, each learns to look inward for answers but also lean into the other. Stirling’s graphic novel, adapted from a webcomic, presents readers with an enthralling new world brimming with magic. The bright pastel palette makes it all the more inviting. Steady pacing allows the story to blossom as Ray and Laurie grow as a couple and navigate the disappointments that come with chasing dreams. Brown-skinned Ray is fat with wavy brown hair; racially ambiguous Laurie has straight black hair, black eyes, and light skin. The supporting cast is diverse in race, sexuality, and body type.

A sweet romantic fantasy that tackles the uncertain future. (Graphic fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: July 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-358-46779-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Etch/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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A triumphant queer coming-of-age story that will make your heart ache and soar.

LAURA DEAN KEEPS BREAKING UP WITH ME

A 17-year-old struggles to navigate friendship and finding herself while navigating a toxic relationship.

Biracial (East Asian and white) high schooler Freddy is in love with white Laura Dean. She can’t help it—Laura oozes cool. But while Freddy’s friends are always supportive of her, they can’t understand why she stays with Laura. Laura cheats on Freddy, gaslights and emotionally manipulates her, and fetishizes her. After Laura breaks up with her for a third time, Freddy writes to an advice columnist and, at the recommendation of her best friend Doodle, (reluctantly) sees a psychic who advises her that in order to break out of the cycle of her “non-monogamous swing-your-partner wormhole,” Freddy needs to do the breaking up herself. As she struggles to fall out of love and figure out how to “break up with someone who’s broken up with me,” Freddy slowly begins to be drawn back into Laura’s orbit, challenging her relationships with her friends as she searches for happiness. Tamaki (Supergirl, 2018, etc.) explores the nuances of both romantic and platonic relationships with raw tenderness and honesty. Valero-O’Connell’s (Lumberjanes: Bonus Tracks, 2018, etc.) art is realistic and expressive, bringing the characters to life through dynamic grayscale illustrations featuring highlights of millennial pink. Freddy and her friends live in Berkeley, California, and have a diversity of body shapes, gender expressions, sexualities, and skin tones.

A triumphant queer coming-of-age story that will make your heart ache and soar. (Graphic novel. 14-adult)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62672-259-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: March 7, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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