A rare blend of tender and revolutionary.


The discovery of long-buried family secrets brings Amanda closer to owning her own.

Amanda is the demure sidekick to the wild and sexy Cat, who knows how to have a good time but doesn’t always know how to be a great friend. Her real best friend, though, is her Catholic dad. They go to Sunday baseball games, share favorite TV shows, and trounce each other in video games. When Amanda discovers that her runaway grandmother was actually an early transgender rights activist who transitioned late in life, it brings unbearable tension into their relationship. It also makes Amanda wake up to parts of herself she’s not yet been able to acknowledge, such as how she really feels when she’s around Cat. These revelations wreak havoc on her relationships. Fortunately, Amanda, who is white, finds a new, multiracial crew from the public school. Their lack of need for labels, for the gender binary, or to overexplain themselves allows Amanda to relax into self-acceptance. It’s a story of family and friendship and love in all its forms, perfect for the graphic novel format and elevated by the combined art and narrative. For example, when Amanda’s father tells his mother’s story, his distorted recollections are laid out in juxtaposition with actual events, resulting in an achingly moving vignette. The characters shine, fully human and permitted to be flawed. Hope prevails.

A rare blend of tender and revolutionary. (Graphic novel. 13-18)

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-59643-709-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: Dec. 9, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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Hinds adds another magnificent adaptation to his oeuvre (King Lear, 2009, etc.) with this stunning graphic retelling of Homer’s epic. Following Odysseus’s journey to return home to his beloved wife, Penelope, readers are transported into a world that easily combines the realistic and the fantastic. Gods mingle with the mortals, and not heeding their warnings could lead to quick danger; being mere men, Odysseus and his crew often make hasty errors in judgment and must face challenging consequences. Lush watercolors move with fluid lines throughout this reimagining. The artist’s use of color is especially striking: His battle scenes are ample, bloodily scarlet affairs, and Polyphemus’s cave is a stifling orange; he depicts the underworld as a colorless, mirthless void, domestic spaces in warm tans, the all-encircling sea in a light Mediterranean blue and some of the far-away islands in almost tangibly growing greens. Don’t confuse this hefty, respectful adaptation with some of the other recent ones; this one holds nothing back and is proudly, grittily realistic rather than cheerfully cartoonish. Big, bold, beautiful. (notes) (Graphic classic. YA)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7636-4266-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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A captivating read for teens, especially those who enjoy e-sports.


A talented gamer hides her identity and competes in an e-sports tournament.

Sixteen-year-old Vicky Tan lives in the shadow of her older brother, Virgil, an e-sports champion and her legal guardian. Virgil always speaks for her, believes she hates video games, and chooses food she doesn’t like, making it hard to communicate with him. Little does he know, Vicky has a secret: She not only loves playing Xenith Orion, the game he also plays, she’s extremely talented and dreams of one day playing on stage and winning a tournament. Between her brother’s unpredictability and the harassment and scrutiny women face in the male-dominated field, Vicky prefers playing as Aegis, her powerful alter ego. When the game developers announce an open tournament, Vicky and some new friends have the chance to realize their dreams. This is an emotion-filled story of family, friendship, growth, and identity based on a popular webcomic. Even readers unfamiliar with gaming will be able to enjoy it, as it includes enough explanation and background information. As the story develops, the misogynistic tendencies of the e-sports world are exposed, bringing awareness to the issue. Virgil and Vicky’s sibling relationship also portrays the fine line between being protective and overbearingly toxic. Vicky and Virgil are cued Chinese American; there is a diverse cast of secondary characters.

A captivating read for teens, especially those who enjoy e-sports. (Graphic fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5248-7649-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2022

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