COMICS WILL BREAK YOUR HEART

Two heirs to a comics franchise find love and low-stakes drama in a small Nova Scotia town.

Quiet Miriam works in a down-and-out comic-book store to save money for college. Cute rebel Weldon walks in one day and buys a painting depicting the Marvel-esque TomorrowMen. Awkward sparks fizz between them, but it’s soon revealed that they’re the heirs to a years-old family dispute. Miriam’s grandfather helped create the TomorrowMen but signed a bad contract with his co-creator—Weldon’s grandfather. The two men spent the rest of their lives in a legal battle over the rights to their characters, which eventually resulted in Weldon’s father’s taking the creative helm and Miriam’s mother’s accepting a settlement. Even though the issue is largely settled, both teens still feel the need to exorcise their family demons, at least long enough to delay their happy ending for a few hundred pages. The family drama and resulting tension between Miriam and Weldon never feel substantial, with little risk involved for either of them; misunderstandings work mostly to beef up the plot and are tritely brushed aside in an underwhelming climax at Comic-Con. All major characters are white. The narration feels flat and strained throughout, with none of the rich color and movement that explodes out of the superhero genre that provides this story’s backdrop.

Read a comic instead. (Romance. 12-15)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62672-364-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: Nov. 21, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes

LEGEND

From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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Flat secondary characterizations and humdrum dialogue won’t keep teens from relishing this histrionic tale of love, death...

THE EDGE OF FALLING

Wealthy high school junior Mcalister “Caggie” Caulfield seeks relief from grief over her younger sister’s death by entering into a dangerous relationship with a mysterious boy.

After her little sister drowns in the pool at her family’s beach house in the Hamptons, Caggie wants to die too, to the point that she contemplates jumping off the roof at a friend’s party in Manhattan. A schoolmate named Kristen saves her at the last minute but nearly falls herself. Caggie actually ends up pulling Kristen back and is credited as a hero, which only makes her feel worse. In her grief, Caggie spurns the attentions of her best friend and devoted boyfriend, but she finds a kindred spirit in Astor, a tall, dark and damaged new boy at school who recently lost his mother to cancer. But what Caggie comes to realize about her relationship with Astor is that “[d]arkness stacked on darkness just makes it that much harder to find the light.” After another nearly fatal disaster with Astor at the beach house, Caggie is forced to confront the falsehoods she has told her family and friends and let go of her guilt over her sister’s death. Though Caggie makes a point of telling readers that her paternal grandfather called people like her “phony,” almost nothing is made of the connection to Catcher in the Rye, and it serves merely to make Caggie’s tale suffer by comparison.

Flat secondary characterizations and humdrum dialogue won’t keep teens from relishing this histrionic tale of love, death and lies. (Fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-3316-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

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