MANGAMAN

A daring piece of graphic-novel meta-fiction explores the tropes of manga versus Western comics.

Marissa is a stereotypical popular high-school girl: pretty, well-liked and girlfriend of Chaz, the hottest guy in school. But when she first lays eyes on Ryoko, a manga character who travels through “the Rip” into her world, she abandons the formulaic constraints that defined her. Ryoko helps Marissa see that her world, though very different than his, is still boxed in by panels, and that, like him, she is a character in another universe. Even as he plays with literary inventiveness, Lyga keeps the story accessible with the doomed and forbidden love between Marissa and Ryoko. Those familiar with both Western and Japanese comics will delight at the little nods to the respective conceits in those formats. For example, when Ryoko slams a volleyball in gym class, a fellow classmate exclaims, “Watch your speed lines!” In complement to Lyga’s clever meta tone is Doran’s highly stylized black-and-white art, seamlessly melding both the Western and Japanese comics aesthetics. While the innovation runs high in this tale, the story itself and the nuances of the character’s relationships is less agile, though the energetic creativity behind it easily keeps the lesser aspects afloat.

An inventive offering, sure to please fans of both American and Japanese comics. (Graphic fiction. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 14, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-547-42315-9

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2011

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Star-crossed lovers carve their own paths in an explosive conclusion that lives up to its title.

OUR VIOLENT ENDS

From the These Violent Delights series , Vol. 2

New monsters terrorize Shanghai amid political upheaval and the reignition of the blood feud between the Chinese Scarlet Gang and the Russian White Flowers.

The death of Marshall Seo unleashed a new wave of violence, but when a mysterious figure wielding control over more deadly-insect–releasing monsters begins extorting money from both gangs, their leaders agree to temporarily cooperate in the interests of eliminating a mutual foe. They order their respective heirs to find the blackmailer, and so, once again, Roma Montagov and Juliette Cai must work together for the benefit of those under their protection. But their feelings for each other—complicated by hidden truths, lingering love, and unforgiving duty—prove difficult to repress. Meanwhile, the time of revolution draws near: Workers continue to organize protests decrying both foreign occupation and gangster rule as the Nationalist Army marches toward Shanghai in its campaign to unite and reclaim the country. Secrets abound and loyalties are tested in this tightly plotted sequel featuring a multinational cast and told through multiple third-person perspectives, including those of supporting characters introduced in These Violent Delights (2020). Stubborn Rosalind, obliging Kathleen, and grief-stricken Benedikt all return to play vital roles that blend seamlessly into Roma’s and Juliette’s storylines as they each are forced to consider what it is they truly want and the lengths they will go to protect it.

Star-crossed lovers carve their own paths in an explosive conclusion that lives up to its title. (Historical fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-534-45772-0

Page Count: 512

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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Fans of empowering feminist fairy-tale retellings will love this.

THE GRIMROSE GIRLS

From the Grimrose Girls series , Vol. 1

Four reimagined fairy-tale heroines must confront their inner demons to break a curse.

Ella, Yuki, and Rory attend the prestigious Grimrose Académie for Elite Students in the Swiss Alps. They are currently grieving the death of one of their best friends, and while Ari’s death by drowning has been deemed either an accident or suicide, her closest friends have their doubts. When they find an old book of fairy tales hidden in Ari’s things, full of strange annotations in her handwriting, the girls start working—along with new student Nani—to investigate Ari’s suspicious death. As they put together the pieces and discover other deaths that happened at Grimrose, they start to wonder if there was magic involved in Ari’s death—magic that may also be at the core of their very lives, cursing them to unhappy endings. Grief, identity, and friendship intersect in this enthralling mystery with dark magical undertones that ingeniously plays with fairy-tale tropes to tell a feminist story about empowerment and grappling with how to break away from the confines of societal expectations of girls. Reminiscent of the works of Anna-Marie McLemore and Elana K. Arnold, this book ends with the promise of more to come. The main cast is queer and features diversity in disability and mental health. Rory and Ella default to White; Yuki’s name cues her as Japanese, and Nani is Black and Native Hawaiian.

Fans of empowering feminist fairy-tale retellings will love this. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-72822-887-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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