Ellipsis-laden dialogue makes even death-defying, CGI-ready adventures drag


Three teens are tricked into using their phenomenal cosmic powers for immoral purposes.

Quin, Shinobu and John are finally ready to be inducted into the secret society of Seekers. Though they are only teenagers, they have trained since they were children to fight with the Seeker weapon, the whipsword, and to avoid the dreaded mind-destroying disruptor. Somehow, horrifyingly, John fails his final test and is sent away. John, however, already knows the secret that's been kept from Quin and Shinobu: The Seekers are no heroes. Quin has spent her life desperate for her father's approval and is horrified to realize what a monster he's always been. With their lives toppled, the three would-be fighters are separated, traveling with magical speed from rural Scotland to a noir Hong Kong stocked with opium dens. The childhood friends are now at odds, though with chapters alternating with each protagonist, the characters have the opportunity to show all their perspectives. In an adventure packed with drug abuse, self-harm, amnesia and betrayal, one erstwhile Seeker aims to control another. It's a thinly drawn tangle of a setting, with portable televisions and cellphones alongside steampunk-style airships and sci-fi “airlifts.” Nor do the heroes escape lazy stereotyping. For biracial Shinobu, for example, becoming "more Japanese" translates to "things like manners and honor." A relationship triangle completes the picture (as it's packed with pseudo-sexual violence, it's difficult to call it a love triangle).

Ellipsis-laden dialogue makes even death-defying, CGI-ready adventures drag . (Science fantasy. 14-16)

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-74407-2

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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Equal parts entertaining and thought-provoking.


Sixteen-year-old Mandy considers herself the anti-Starfire: Unlike her scantily clad superhero mother, she doesn’t have superpowers, can’t fly, and doesn’t even own a bathing suit.

Mandy dyes her hair and dresses in all black to further call out how different they are. Mandy’s best friend, Lincoln, whose parents were born in Vietnam, insightfully summarizes this rift as being down to an intergenerational divide that occurs whether parents and children come from different countries or different planets. Mandy tries to figure out what kind of future she wants for herself as she struggles with teenage insecurities and bullying, her relationship with her mom, and her budding friendship (or is it something more?) with her new class project partner, Claire. Yoshitani’s vibrant and colorful stylized illustrations beautifully meld the various iterations of Starfire and the Titans with the live-action versions of those characters. Together with Tamaki’s punchy writing, this coming-of-age story of identity, family, friendship, and saving the world is skillfully brought to life in a quick but nuanced read. These layers are most strongly displayed as the story draws parallels between cultural differences between the generations as evidenced in how the characters address bullying, body positivity, fatphobia, fetishization and sexualization, and feminism. This title addresses many important concepts briefly, but well, with great pacing, bold art, and concise and snappy dialogue. The cast is broadly diverse in both primary and secondary characters.

Equal parts entertaining and thought-provoking. (Graphic fantasy. 14-16)

Pub Date: July 27, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77950-126-4

Page Count: 184

Publisher: DC

Review Posted Online: Aug. 10, 2021

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There’s a built-in audience for the London sisters’ adventures, but beneath all the glitter is a bunch of blah.


Hardworking sisters face glamorous romantic and professional challenges in Los Angeles.

Approachable fashionista-next-door video bloggers Sophia and Ava London have built an impressive reputation as savvy guides to fashion, accessories and personal grooming and are thrilled to be moving up in their shared career. An award naming the tightknit sisters Best Webstars of the Year leads to a licensing deal for their own makeup line—London Calling—with LuxeLife Cosmetics, and now the hottest men in Los Angeles are falling at their feet. Ava begins dating paparazzi-bait–turned–doting boyfriend Liam Carlson (but she continues to enjoy flirtatious banter with Dalton, a fellow volunteer at the local animal shelter). Meanwhile, Sophia, “boytoxing” after being blindsided by a terrible breakup, finds herself torn between wealthy smoothie Hunter Ralston and gorgeous Italian bartender-sculptor Giovanni. The Fowlers—who, like their protagonists, are beauty-and-fashion video bloggers—let their otherwise-effervescent modern fairy tale of sisterly love and self-actualization get bogged down in a dreary subplot of sibling separation anxiety and jealousy, basing it on the flimsiest of serial miscommunications and resolving it in a single paragraph. A last-chapter twist threatens the sisters’ reputation (and sets up a potential sequel), making the novel simply stop, rather than resolve.

There’s a built-in audience for the London sisters’ adventures, but beneath all the glitter is a bunch of blah. (Chick lit. 14-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-250-00618-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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