An adorable diary of love’s gut punches.

Mismatched British schoolboys fumble their way toward romance.

Charlie is a waifish year 10 (equivalent to ninth grade) who is popular despite some taunting and social backlash for coming out at Truham Grammar School for Boys. Year 11 schoolmate Nick is a red-blooded rugby player with a warm demeanor and hunky exterior. When the two are paired in a vertical classroom experiment, Charlie develops an immediate crush on presumably straight Nick, and Nick craves more and more time with Charlie both on campus and off. As the two veer toward a mutual romance, they individually struggle through wondering how to make it come to fruition, questioning if it’s even possible, and deciding whether a first boy-boy crush is a definite proclamation of gayness. Organic frame borders and fragmented panels underscore the respective action on the spreads (sweet and tender moments, run-ins with homophobic jerks) and prevent the visual graphics from going aesthetically stale. Handwritten text reinforces the lens of humanity through which Oseman spins this to-be-continued story. Crisp, clear-cut font is reserved for tech moments when back-and-forth texting is the storytelling vehicle. Charlie and Nick appear white, and there is ethnic diversity in the supporting cast. Fans of Oseman’s debut, Solitaire (2015), will enjoy this story that centers on protagonist Tori’s younger brother, Charlie; however, this volume stands alone and will engage readers new to her work.

An adorable diary of love’s gut punches. (Graphic novel. 12-16)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-61744-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020


A timely and well-paced story of personal discovery.

Time travel brings a girl closer to someone she’s never known.

Sixteen-year-old Kiku, who is Japanese and white, only knows bits and pieces of her family history. While on a trip with her mother to San Francisco from their Seattle home, they search for her grandmother’s childhood home. While waiting for her mother, who goes inside to explore the mall now standing there, a mysterious fog envelops Kiku and displaces her to a theater in the past where a girl is playing the violin. The gifted musician is Ernestina Teranishi, who Kiku later confirms is her late grandmother. To Kiku’s dismay, the fog continues to transport her, eventually dropping her down next door to Ernestina’s family in a World War II Japanese American internment camp. The clean illustrations in soothing browns and blues convey the characters’ intense emotions. Hughes takes inspiration from her own family’s story, deftly balancing complicated national history with explorations of cultural dislocation and biracial identity. As Kiku processes her experiences, Hughes draws parallels to President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban and the incarceration of migrant children. The emotional connection between Kiku and her grandmother is underdeveloped; despite their being neighbors, Ernestina appears briefly and feels elusive to both Kiku and readers up to the very end. Despite some loose ends, readers will gain insights to the Japanese American incarceration and feel called to activism.

A timely and well-paced story of personal discovery. (photographs, author’s note, glossary, further reading) (Graphic historical fantasy. 12-16)

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-19353-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020


Pairing art from an earlier, self-published edition to a newly adapted text, Hinds retells the old tale as a series of dark, bloody, chaotic clashes. Here Grendel is a glaring, black monster with huge teeth, corded muscles and a tendency to smash or bite off adversaries’ heads; the dragon is all sinuous viciousness; and Beowulf, mighty of thew, towers over his fellow Geats. The narrative, boxed off from the illustrations rather than incorporated into them, runs to lines like, “Bid my brave warriors O Wiglaf, to build a lofty cairn for me upon the sea-cliffs . . . ” and tends to disappear when the fighting starts. Because the panels are jumbled together on the page, the action is sometimes hard to follow, but this makes a strongly atmospheric alternative to the semi-abstract Beowulf, the Legend, by Stephen L. Antczak and James C. Bassett, illus by Andy Lee (2006), or the more conventionally formatted version of Michael Morpurgo, with pictures by Michael Foreman (2006). (Graphic fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-7636-3022-5

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2007

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