An imaginative contemporary tale reminiscent of the Brothers Grimm.

SPARROWHAWK

What if Alice’s Wonderland was full of gothic savagery rather than curiosity and whimsy?

The illegitimate, mixed-race child of a white naval captain and a brown, enslaved mother she has never known, Artemisia has been mistreated and neglected by everyone around her except her sister, Caroline. She finds herself unwillingly pulled into another world so unlike her own that she realizes she must become someone—something—else in order to survive and return to her old life. In need of direction, she happens upon Crispin, a furry, antlered creature who is a most unreliable escort. With unknown but clearly ulterior motivations, Crispin volunteers his services to Artemisia. Our young heroine soon learns that she must fight and best beasts and monsters of this new world in order to escape. But will she have to become a monster herself in order to defeat one? Dawson (No Country for Old Gnomes, 2019, etc.) creates a captivating, dark, and violent world of faeries and other magical, mythical creatures. Acceptance, identity, transformation, and the conundrum of human nature are prevalent themes in this story. Readers follow Artemisia as she toes the line between holding on to who she is and becoming that which she detests. The artwork—while occasionally confusing—is vibrant, enhancing the otherworldly feel.

An imaginative contemporary tale reminiscent of the Brothers Grimm. (author’s note) (Graphic fantasy. 13-adult)

Pub Date: Aug. 20, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68415-395-4

Page Count: 128

Publisher: BOOM! Studios

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

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An exciting look at girl power gone wrong.

SQUAD

New student Becca can hardly believe her luck when Arianna, Marley, and Amanda, who sit at the top of the Piedmont High School hierarchy, pick her to join their exclusive friend group.

She does her best to remain in their favor, taking cues from Marley and Amanda about how to go along with whatever Arianna requires of her. One night, the three girls arrive just in time to rescue Becca from being assaulted at a party, revealing themselves to be man-eating werewolves who target predatory boys. It doesn’t take much to convince Becca to join their ranks and help them enact vigilante justice. There is a price, however: a hunger that must be satisfied by consuming human flesh during the full moon. But the girls assure Becca that with the four of them looking out for each other the risk of discovery is low. The story highlights important topics, including internalized misogyny and codependent friendships. Becca yearns for the support and closeness that the squad offers, and this fuels her willingness to overlook their offenses—from microaggressions to murder—until things get out of control. The color illustrations are reminiscent of classic comics; the familiar normality of the everyday high school scenes portrayed stands in stark contrast to the werewolves’ meting out of justice. Becca is gay and Asian, Amanda is Black, and Marley and Arianna read as White.

An exciting look at girl power gone wrong. (Graphic paranormal. 13-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-294315-6

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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THE ODYSSEY

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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