A well-crafted visual depiction of the troubling contents of the Mueller Report.

THE MUELLER REPORT GRAPHIC NOVEL

The Mueller Report gets the comic-book treatment in this graphic novel.

The much-anticipated Mueller Report—officially titled Report on the Investigation Into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election and named for Robert Mueller, the special counsel who conducted the probe—was finally released to the public on April 18, 2019. For those whose eyelids get heavy at the very idea of the two-volume, 448-page redacted report, Slate (You Can Do a Graphic Novel, 2018, etc.) offers this condensed, visually stimulating version: a graphic novel of excerpts accompanied by illustrations of the relevant events. Readers can learn all about Russian spies’ posing as Donald Trump supporters on Facebook; the infamous meeting between the Trump campaign and Russian agents in Trump Tower; Trump’s asking for United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ resignation; and Trump’s many colorful tweets. Along the way, the author delivers cartoonish depictions of the major players, often placing their own words—as recorded in the report—into speech bubbles. Even with Slate’s attempts to streamline the report, the book makes for some technical reading. “The Internet Research Agency (IRA) carried out the earliest Russian interference operations—a social media campaign designed to provoke and amplify political and social discord in the United States,” reads the first sentence, accompanied by smirking portraits of Vladimir Putin and Russian businessman Yevgeniy Prigozhin. The author’s drawings are simple and quite endearing—if not always flattering to those they portray—and she organizes the narrative in a way that is easy to follow. It’s unclear who would be interested in reading Mueller’s findings at this time given that new Trump scandals have already displaced these older ones in the public’s mind. Still, for those who have not perused the work and need to get the highlights, Slate’s version goes down far easier than the original report. One could imagine it proving a useful tool in the future for readers who wish to understand the particulars of the Russia investigation when it is no longer general knowledge. But for those who just lived through it, the volume is less entertaining than it is distressing, disturbing, and occasionally infuriating.

A well-crafted visual depiction of the troubling contents of the Mueller Report.

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-937258-11-8

Page Count: 108

Publisher: Richard Minsky

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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A LITTLE LIFE

Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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A steamy, glitzy, and tender tale of college intrigue.

THE CHASE

From the Briar U series

In this opener to Kennedy’s (Hot & Bothered, 2017, etc.) Briar U romance series, two likable students keep getting their signals crossed.

Twenty-one-year-old Summer Heyward-Di Laurentis is expelled from Brown University in the middle of her junior year because she was responsible for a fire at the Kappa Beta Nu sorority house. Fortunately, her father has connections, so she’s now enrolled in Briar University, a prestigious institution about an hour outside Boston. But as she’s about to move into Briar’s Kappa Beta Nu house, she’s asked to leave by the sisters, who don’t want her besmirching their reputation. Her older brother Dean, who’s a former Briar hockey star, comes to her rescue; his buddies, who are still on the hockey team, need a fourth roommate for their townhouse. Three good-looking hockey jocks and a very rich, gorgeous fashion major under the same roof—what could go wrong? Summer becomes quickly infatuated with one of her housemates: Dean’s best friend Colin “Fitzy” Fitzgerald. There’s a definite spark between them, and they exchange smoldering looks, but the tattooed Fitzy, who’s also a video game reviewer and designer, is an introvert who prefers no “drama” in his life. Summer, however, is a charming extrovert, although she has an inferiority complex about her flagging scholastic acumen. As the story goes on, the pair seem to misinterpret each other’s every move. Meanwhile, another roommate and potential suitor, Hunter Davenport, is waiting in the wings. Kennedy’s novel is full of sex, alcohol, and college-level profanity, but it never becomes formulaic. The author adroitly employs snappy dialogue, steady pacing, and humor, as in a scene at a runway fashion show featuring Briar jocks parading in Summer-designed swimwear. The book also manages to touch on some serious subjects, including learning disabilities and abusive behavior by faculty members. Summer and Fitzy’s repeated stumbles propel the plot through engaging twists and turns; the characters trade off narrating the story, which gives each of them a chance to reveal some substance.

A steamy, glitzy, and tender tale of college intrigue.    

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-72482-199-7

Page Count: 372

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

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