In Bowles’ superb companion novel to They Call Me Güero (2018), young poet Güero’s social consciousness unfolds as he navigates his first romantic relationship with the fiercely intelligent Joanna.

Seventh grade is ending, and Güero’s budding romance with Joanna is getting serious. From sharing their first kiss to meeting her parents during an awkward dinner, Güero commits to being the best boyfriend he can be. As summer unfurls, there are hangouts between Güero y los Bobbys and Joanna y las Morras, and Joanna carefully opens up to Güero. Güero even starts a band with los Bobbys! Eventually, fall arrives, and with it, eighth grade—and a drastic change as Joanna’s father falls victim to a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid. As her father’s fate takes a toll on Joanna, Güero grapples with dealing with his new teachers. Tensions flare between Güero and Joanna and even among Güero’s friends. Wanting to use his privilege for good, Güero organizes a protest on behalf of Joanna’s father, but the ensuing scrutiny tests Güero, his relationship with Joanna, and his community. This rich verse novel utilizes Güero’s humorous, witty voice to the fullest via varied poetic forms. The author’s deep consideration of Joanna and the other characters is a real delight and results in a story that feels rich in scope. The inclusion of topics like the justice system, detention centers, and changes in language adds further intriguing material for discussion.

Sublime. (glossary) (Verse novel. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-46257-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Kokila

Review Posted Online: July 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022


From the School for Good and Evil series , Vol. 1

Rich and strange (and kitted out with an eye-catching cover), but stronger in the set pieces than the internal logic.

Chainani works an elaborate sea change akin to Gregory Maguire’s Wicked (1995), though he leaves the waters muddied.

Every four years, two children, one regarded as particularly nice and the other particularly nasty, are snatched from the village of Gavaldon by the shadowy School Master to attend the divided titular school. Those who survive to graduate become major or minor characters in fairy tales. When it happens to sweet, Disney princess–like Sophie and  her friend Agatha, plain of features, sour of disposition and low of self-esteem, they are both horrified to discover that they’ve been dropped not where they expect but at Evil and at Good respectively. Gradually—too gradually, as the author strings out hundreds of pages of Hogwarts-style pranks, classroom mishaps and competitions both academic and romantic—it becomes clear that the placement wasn’t a mistake at all. Growing into their true natures amid revelations and marked physical changes, the two spark escalating rivalry between the wings of the school. This leads up to a vicious climactic fight that sees Good and Evil repeatedly switching sides. At this point, readers are likely to feel suddenly left behind, as, thanks to summary deus ex machina resolutions, everything turns out swell(ish).

Rich and strange (and kitted out with an eye-catching cover), but stronger in the set pieces than the internal logic. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: May 14, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-210489-2

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013



From award winner Telgemeier (Smile, 2010), a pitch-perfect graphic novel portrayal of a middle school musical, adroitly capturing the drama both on and offstage.

Seventh-grader Callie Marin is over-the-moon to be on stage crew again this year for Eucalyptus Middle School’s production of Moon over Mississippi. Callie's just getting over popular baseball jock and eighth-grader Greg, who crushed her when he left Callie to return to his girlfriend, Bonnie, the stuck-up star of the play. Callie's healing heart is quickly captured by Justin and Jesse Mendocino, the two very cute twins who are working on the play with her. Equally determined to make the best sets possible with a shoestring budget and to get one of the Mendocino boys to notice her, the immensely likable Callie will find this to be an extremely drama-filled experience indeed. The palpably engaging and whip-smart characterization ensures that the charisma and camaraderie run high among those working on the production. When Greg snubs Callie in the halls and misses her reference to Guys and Dolls, one of her friends assuredly tells her, "Don't worry, Cal. We’re the cool kids….He's the dork." With the clear, stylish art, the strongly appealing characters and just the right pinch of drama, this book will undoubtedly make readers stand up and cheer.

Brava!  (Graphic fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-32698-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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