Fantasy comfort food that hits all the genre notes.

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ESTRANGED

In this stand-alone graphic novel, a human child must locate his changeling to save the fay world from a ruthless usurper.

Living with the fay king and queen, human Childe (who’s never been given a proper name) spends his days as a fawned-over curiosity. However, when the belowground realm’s throne is seized by malevolent queen Hawthorne, it falls on Childe to venture up into the human world to find his changeling. Aboveground, Childe and the candle-golem Whick soon locate Edmund, who struggles both to appear human and to keep his fay magic at bay. Before long, Childe, Whick, Edmund, and Edmund’s human sister, Alexis, find themselves scurrying along labyrinthine subway tunnels into the Below and fighting dangerous dragons, savage statues, and a rancorous royal. Refreshingly free of even a whisper of romance, Aldridge’s pleasing adventure gives a nod to many well-loved fantasy tropes, including fairies, dragons, talking animals, and witches. As richly imagined in the full-color illustrations, the worldbuilding is both accessible and as familiar as those genre stalwarts. Some of the action scenes feel a bit rushed and may leave readers wanting more, but this quibble aside, this should easily resonate with preteen and teen fans of both Holly Black and Neil Gaiman. All of the human characters—including peripheral ones—are white.

Fantasy comfort food that hits all the genre notes. (Graphic fantasy. 9-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-265387-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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DRAMA

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 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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This engaging, heartwarming story does everything one can ask of a book, and then some.

WHEN STARS ARE SCATTERED

A Somali boy living in a refugee camp in Kenya tries to make a future for himself and his brother in this near memoir interpreted as a graphic novel by collaborator Jamieson.

Omar Mohamed lives in Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya with his younger brother, Hassan, who has a seizure disorder, and Fatuma, an elderly woman assigned to foster them in their parents’ absence. The boys’ father was killed in Somalia’s civil war, prompting them to flee on foot when they were separated from their mother. They desperately hope she is still alive and looking for them, as they are for her. The book covers six years, during which Omar struggles with decisions about attending school and how much hope to have about opportunities to resettle in a new land, like the United States. Through Omar’s journey, and those of his friends and family members, readers get a close, powerful view of the trauma and uncertainty that attend life as a refugee as well as the faith, love, and support from unexpected quarters that get people through it. Jamieson’s characteristically endearing art, warmly colored by Geddy, perfectly complements Omar’s story, conjuring memorable and sympathetic characters who will stay with readers long after they close the book. Photographs of the brothers and an afterword provide historical context; Mohamed and Jamieson each contribute an author’s note.

This engaging, heartwarming story does everything one can ask of a book, and then some. (Graphic memoir. 9-13)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-55391-5

Page Count: 264

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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