A likable protagonist and fantasy elements make this well-trod ground feel fairly fresh

TRUTH IN SIGHT

From the Cici: A Fairy's Tale series , Vol. 2

A fledgling Latina fairy learns she must use her magic responsibly.

Quintessential preteen Cici is trying to make sense of a turbulent time in her life: her dad has moved out, she's lost her best friend to the popular clique, and she's learning to control her nascent fairy powers. She has the "fairy sight," which means she sees people with a sort of enhanced vision that helps her understand them (for example, she sees her harried mother as a multitasking octopus). One day at school she finds popular white classmate Kendra's beloved princess doll (fairy sight reveals Kendra to be something of a princess as well). Cici, seizing the opportunity to use her powers, chooses to wield them in an unkind way. When Abuela, also a fairy, finds out what she has done, Cici must own up to her wrongdoings. The plot—a friendship-tinged riff on the "with great power comes great responsibility" theme—is instantly familiar, even with the fantasy elements. Doused liberally with a comely array of warm pinks and purples, the panels have a keen focus on facial elements and hold a high visual appeal. Though this series outing doesn’t explore its issues with much real depth, the pleasing style and familiar subject matter help to compensate, leaving this with a very episodic, sitcomlike feel.

A likable protagonist and fantasy elements make this well-trod ground feel fairly fresh . (Graphic fantasy. 7-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4677-6153-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Graphic Universe

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun

THE LAST KIDS ON EARTH

From the Last Kids on Earth series , Vol. 1

It’s been 42 days since the Monster Apocalypse began, and 13-year-old Jack Sullivan, a self-proclaimed “zombie-fighting, monster-slaying tornado of cool” is on a quest to find and rescue his not-so-secret crush, June Del Toro, whether she needs it, wants it, or not.

Jack cobbles together an unlikely but endearing crew, including his scientist best friend, Quint Baker; Dirk Savage, Parker Middle School’s biggest bully; and a pet monster named Rover, to help him save the damsel in distress and complete the “ULTIMATE Feat of Apocalyptic Success.” Middle-grade readers, particularly boys, will find Jack’s pitch-perfect mix of humor, bravado, and self-professed geekiness impossible to resist. His sidekicks are equally entertaining, and it doesn’t hurt that there are also plenty of oozing, drooling, sharp-toothed monsters and zombies and a host of gizmos and gadgets to hook readers and keep them cheering with every turn of the page. Holgate’s illustrations play an integral role in the novel’s success. They not only bring Brallier’s characters to life, but also add depth and detail to the story, making plain just exactly how big Rover is and giving the lie to Jack’s “killer driving.” The marriage of text and illustration serves as a perfect example of what an illustrated novel can and should be.

Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun (. (Graphic/horror hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-670-01661-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and...

GHOSTS

Catrina narrates the story of her mixed-race (Latino/white) family’s move from Southern California to Bahía de la Luna on the Northern California coast.

Dad has a new job, but it’s little sister Maya’s lungs that motivate the move: she has had cystic fibrosis since birth—a degenerative breathing condition. Despite her health, Maya loves adventure, even if her lungs suffer for it and even when Cat must follow to keep her safe. When Carlos, a tall, brown, and handsome teen Ghost Tour guide introduces the sisters to the Bahía ghosts—most of whom were Spanish-speaking Mexicans when alive—they fascinate Maya and she them, but the terrified Cat wants only to get herself and Maya back to safety. When the ghost adventure leads to Maya’s hospitalization, Cat blames both herself and Carlos, which makes seeing him at school difficult. As Cat awakens to the meaning of Halloween and Day of the Dead in this strange new home, she comes to understand the importance of the ghosts both to herself and to Maya. Telgemeier neatly balances enough issues that a lesser artist would split them into separate stories and delivers as much delight textually as visually. The backmatter includes snippets from Telgemeier’s sketchbook and a photo of her in Día makeup.

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and unable to put down this compelling tale. (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-54061-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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