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

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 Books

Review Posted Online: March 24, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020


An action-packed tale for those thirsty for more superhero stories.

Grammy Award–winning artist Keys co-authors a YA superhero graphic novel bearing the title of her hit song.

Smart, quiet 14-year-old Loretta “Lolo” Wright struggles to stand up for herself until, on what should be a routine trip to a convenience store, her 16-year-old brother, James, is mistakenly accused of stealing by the police. When the officer slams her brother to the ground, Lolo’s powers manifest for the first time. Meanwhile, Michael Warner, who lives in the same Brooklyn housing projects as the Wrights, is rejected from the football team for being too small. He develops exceptional fighting abilities and shortly afterward gets involved in working for a drug dealer named Skin. When Skin sees a video of Lolo levitating the cop who assaulted James, he wants to recruit her as well, and he tries to extort protection money from Lolo’s dad, who owns a moving business. Lolo must convince Michael to choose a different path; it’s only by working together that they can defeat Skin. Featuring dizzying shifts among multiple perspectives, this full-color graphic novel presents vibrant, expressive characters set against mostly simple, bright backgrounds, with extreme violence depicted in gory detail. The narrative briefly explores class issues and racial stereotypes, but while the setup is intriguing, the momentum fizzles and the pieces never quite come together. Most main characters are Black; Skin reads as White, and secondary characters appear racially diverse.

An action-packed tale for those thirsty for more superhero stories. (Graphic fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-302956-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: HarperAlley

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022


Funny, heartfelt, and absolutely adorable.

A queer love triangle leads to an unexpected romance.

Belle Hawkins, high school senior and school mascot (she wanted a role where she didn’t have to show her face), finally finds the courage to ask out her crush, confident head cheerleader Regina Moreno. But she learns Gina already has a girlfriend, star athlete Chloe Kitagawa. Meanwhile, Gina has a Ten-Year Plan, and she refuses to let Chloe get them off track by failing her English class. Knowing Belle would be keen to please her, Gina gets her to tutor Chloe. Turns out, Belle and Chloe were friends when they were kids. As the school year progresses, Chloe and Gina’s relationship has its ups and downs, their friendships with Belle grow, and Belle’s romantic feelings change. With a palette of pink hues and strong black outlines, the cartoon art uses exaggerated elements for comedic effect and to cue heightened emotions. The three leads have well-developed personalities and are all lovingly imperfect and relatable. They are physically distinct with notably different body shapes, styles of gender expression, and ethnicities. Belle appears White and is cued Jewish, Chloe’s name implies Japanese heritage, and Gina is Brazilian American. Queerness is normalized, and the shifting dynamics of queer women between friendships and romantic partnerships are accurately depicted, making the happy ending believable. There’s enough conflict to propel the plot and give space for growth, but overall, this low-stakes tale feels like a warm, charming hug.

Funny, heartfelt, and absolutely adorable. (Graphic romance. 13-18)

Pub Date: March 21, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-78412-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023

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