A warm, sweet, lovely tale of a world readers will want to live in.

ALWAYS HUMAN

In a not-so-distant future where changing one’s physical features is as easy as purchasing nanobot mods, Sunati falls for Austen, a girl who always looks the same.

Since Austen never changes, Sunati admires what she assumes is her bravery and confidence. As Sunati and Austen chat more, Austen bluntly asks Sunati if she only wants to get to know her more because of her medical condition, which prevents her from using mods. As they gradually grow closer, Sunati learns how to interact more respectfully with those who have overactive immune systems as well as to share her feelings more honestly. Austen, in turn, learns to trust Sunati. This beautifully illustrated slice-of-life tale that shows two young women of color getting to know each other and creating a relationship is so warm and charming that readers will hardly notice how much they are learning about how to better interact with folx who are different from themselves and the importance of not making assumptions. The story also successfully weaves in agender, genderfluid, and asexual characters as well as the subjects of parenting and colorism into the natural arc of Sunati and Austen’s developing story. The soft, romantic artwork evokes hazy watercolors. The speech bubbles are predominantly pink and blue, and the varied layout will maintain readers’ interest.

A warm, sweet, lovely tale of a world readers will want to live in. (Graphic romance. 12-18)

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4998-1110-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Little Bee

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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A biblio bias-cut whose shimmer is welcome despite its optimistic shortsightedness.

THE PRINCE AND THE DRESSMAKER

Once upon a time, there was a prince who felt fabulous only in exquisite gowns.

Prince Sebastian’s parents, like fleets of fairy-tale progenitors before, are myopically focused on getting their kid hitched. Rendezvous with potential brides rattle Sebastian, and not just because he’s only 16 and averse to icky matrimony. It’s because he dresses in couture gowns and is petrified of facing what a reveal would mean to his parents and potential wife. Weary of donning his mother’s duds, he hires Frances, a seamstress with an avant-garde flair. Their friendship quickly evolves as she harnesses her talent and he becomes empowered to make public appearances as his alter ego, Lady Crystallia. When Lady Crystallia becomes a fashion plate du jour—and secrecy verges on revelation—Sebastian and Frances are at a crossroads: can they remain true to themselves, each other, and the world? Wang’s linework has as much movement and play as Crystallia’s frocks, and her palette seamlessly wanders from petit-four brights to the moody darks of an ombre swatch. This is preindustrial Paris, so the cast is white, with the only otherness being class differentiation. Sebastian’s story shouldn’t be taken as a testament to how easy it is for one to reveal one’s true self to one’s parents, particularly if one is LGBTQIAP: Sebastian meets acceptance far too easily, particularly for such a public figure in such a conservative age. Sebastian’s summation of Frances’ aesthetic underscores the ultimate blueprint: fantasy and drama.

A biblio bias-cut whose shimmer is welcome despite its optimistic shortsightedness. (Historical graphic fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62672-363-4

Page Count: 290

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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A worthy, diverse addition to the DC Universe.

YOU BROUGHT ME THE OCEAN

AN AQUALAD GRAPHIC NOVEL

Finding yourself is difficult enough, but it’s more complicated when you have magical powers.

Jake Hyde already has enough to worry about—fretting over being accepted to his dream university to study oceanography; wondering if he’ll ever leave Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, his small town in the middle of the desert; and finding the courage to come out. In the midst of all that, he connects with Kenny—a jock and the only openly gay kid in school—and finds out that the “birthmarks” on his body that he self-consciously keeps covered grant him the power to control water. Jake is keeping secrets from his helicopter mom and best friend, Maria, who’s in love with him, and in living his truth he learns more about the father he believes drowned 17 years ago. In a universe with superheroes and supervillains, Jake must decide who he’s going to be. Sanchez’s text lends authenticity to Jake’s conflicted emotions surrounding his identity and future; he doesn’t shy away from showing the hostile bullying that Kenny and Jake face for daring to be openly gay. Maroh’s realistic sketches in muted tones are infused with bursts of color with generally pale scenery. The illustrations and text work in concert, each amplifying and complementing the other. Jake is African American, Maria is Latinx, and Kenny is Chinese American.

A worthy, diverse addition to the DC Universe. (Graphic romance. 12-18)

Pub Date: June 9, 2020

ISBN: 978-14012-9081-8

Page Count: 208

Publisher: DC

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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