A spare, emotionally evocative coming-of-age journey.



In this text-and-graphic mashup, a gift from a novelist on a school visit opens up a world of possibilities for Ophelia, a white Quebec teen.

Sensing that 10th-grader Ophelia is troubled, the writer gives her a blank notebook which lights a fire inside her. In it, Ophelia charts her rocky course from emotional isolation toward self-acceptance and friendship. Her year in foster care at age 8 and molestation two years later by her single mother’s boyfriend have eroded the trust between mother and daughter. Ophelia dresses in body-disguising layers, works at a dollar store, occasionally shoplifts, and sneaks out at night, tagging walls with her signature broken-heart graffiti. Discovering a derelict building, she claims it as her creative refuge only to learn that an overweight classmate, another social outcast, has laid claim to it, retreating there to dream of journeying around the world. Reluctantly dividing the space, each makes tentative forays into the other’s world. As they find the courage to look beyond their own pain, they befriend two lesbian classmates and recognize that the hijab-wearing Muslim girls at school are experiencing rejection too. Text and art mesh subtly, the latter ranging from semi-abstract to finely detailed collages, emphatic and powerful. Words scrawled in and over the art are in the original French, their meaning rewarding readers’ investigation but not essential for appreciating their impact.

A spare, emotionally evocative coming-of-age journey. (Fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-77306-099-6

Page Count: 264

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes


From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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Not much forward momentum but a tasty array of chills, thrills, and chortles.


From the Peculiar Children series , Vol. 4

The victory of Jacob and his fellow peculiars over the previous episode’s wights and hollowgasts turns out to be only one move in a larger game as Riggs (Tales of the Peculiar, 2016, etc.) shifts the scene to America.

Reading largely as a setup for a new (if not exactly original) story arc, the tale commences just after Jacob’s timely rescue from his decidedly hostile parents. Following aimless visits back to newly liberated Devil’s Acre and perfunctory normalling lessons for his magically talented friends, Jacob eventually sets out on a road trip to find and recruit Noor, a powerful but imperiled young peculiar of Asian Indian ancestry. Along the way he encounters a semilawless patchwork of peculiar gangs, syndicates, and isolated small communities—many at loggerheads, some in the midst of negotiating a tentative alliance with the Ymbryne Council, but all threatened by the shadowy Organization. The by-now-tangled skein of rivalries, romantic troubles, and family issues continues to ravel amid bursts of savage violence and low comedy (“I had never seen an invisible person throw up before,” Jacob writes, “and it was something I won’t soon forget”). A fresh set of found snapshots serves, as before, to add an eldritch atmosphere to each set of incidents. The cast defaults to white but includes several people of color with active roles.

Not much forward momentum but a tasty array of chills, thrills, and chortles. (Horror/Fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7352-3214-3

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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