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A stirring fable about fighting and surviving the horrors of depression, both literal and figurative.

A teenage girl suffering from depression and tormented by ghostly visions confronts a looming supernatural threat.

Japanese American Cleo Newman’s severe depression and anxiety make even simple existence hard: She struggles with panic attacks and is plagued by suicidal thoughts. On top of that, she’s been seeing things—terrifying monsters and spirits—and no matter how much progress she makes with her psychiatrist, Dr. Davis, who’s Black, they never seem to leave her alone. At the encouragement of her white adoptive father, Cleo attempts to reintegrate into her prestigious magnet high school in Westchester, New York. But as her visions intensify, her life falls apart further, and she starts to fear she’s truly lost her mind. Meanwhile, her father is desperate to rescue Cleo from her anguish but struggles with how he can help. Cryptic phone calls with a figure from the family’s past in Kagoshima, Japan, about the origins of Cleo’s visions only serve to confuse him further. When her visions breach the physical world, Cleo must draw on every strength to neutralize a world-ending threat. The expressive panel layouts highlight the action sequences, and the full-color illustrations paint the spectrum of emotions from washed-out depression to cold, sharp panic to vivid and triumphant victory.

A stirring fable about fighting and surviving the horrors of depression, both literal and figurative. (content note, cover gallery, psychiatrist’s note, resources) (Graphic paranormal. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 4, 2024

ISBN: 9781534397774

Page Count: 132

Publisher: Image Comics

Review Posted Online: April 20, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2024

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A descriptive and atmospheric paranormal social thriller that could be a bit tighter.

After a Nigerian British girl goes off to an exclusive boarding school that seems to prey on less-privileged students, she discovers there might be some truth behind an urban legend.

Ife Adebola joins the Urban Achievers scholarship program at pricey, high-pressure Nithercott School, arriving shortly after a student called Leon mysteriously disappeared. Gossip says he’s a victim of the glowing-eyed Changing Man who targets the lonely, leaving them changed. Ife doesn’t believe in the myth, but amid the stresses of Nithercott’s competitive, privileged, majority-white environment, where she is constantly reminded of her state school background, she does miss her friends and family. When Malika, a fellow Black scholarship student, disappears and then returns, acting strangely devoid of personality, Ife worries the Changing Man is real—and that she’s next. Ife joins forces with classmate Bijal and Benny, Leon’s younger brother, to uncover the truth about who the Changing Man is and what he wants. Culminating in a detailed, gory, and extended climactic battle, this verbose thriller tempts readers with a nefarious mystery involving racial and class-based violence but never quite lives up to its potential and peters out thematically by its explosive finale. However, this debut offers highly visually evocative and eerie descriptions of characters and events and will appeal to fans of creature horror, social commentary, and dark academia.

A descriptive and atmospheric paranormal social thriller that could be a bit tighter. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2023

ISBN: 9781250868138

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2023

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An affecting supernatural mystery with a pair of brave protagonists.

The disappearance of a child unveils what lies hiding in the woods at the edge of a small town.

There are all sorts of stories about Picnic, Illinois, but it’s not until her toddler cousin, Madison, goes missing from her crib one night that 15-year-old Luce starts to believe them—and especially when she notices a pair of glowing, wolflike eyes through the windows of her house. To everybody’s relief, Madison is returned to her crib, seemingly safe and sound, soon after she vanished, but Luce and the child’s mother notice discomfiting differences in the 2-year-old. And yet, no one else seems to give credence to their concerns. Luce, prompted by a teacher, starts to research Picnic’s history and the many disappearances—and sudden reappearances—of baby girls, going back decades. Meanwhile, deep in the woods, Fanya, who narrates alternating chapters, tends to the baby girl and prepares for the ritual to welcome her as part of her pack when the full moon comes. As Luce’s and Fanya’s stories converge, so do past and present in Lund’s atmospheric novel. The story borrows elements from South Slavic lore about women who turn into animals to tell an affecting tale about small-town secrets, wronged people, and the bravery of two girls bent on getting to the truth in order to save lives. All characters are assumed White.

An affecting supernatural mystery with a pair of brave protagonists. (Paranormal thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35109-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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