Readers will definitely want to have, know or be Maggie’s brothers—but she herself proves to be no slouch when it comes to...

Nervous, home-schooled by her absent and much-missed mom and saddled with three adored older brothers—and a ghost—Maggie starts high school.

Largely but not entirely left by her doting upper-grade sibs (who had “first days” of their own) to sink or swim, Maggie starts off in lonely isolation but quickly finds two great friends in Mohawk-wearing, multiply pierced, exuberantly logorrheic classmate Lucy and her quieter (but also Mohawk-topped) brother Alistair. Simmering complications soon reach a boil as Maggie discovers that Alistair and her own oldest brother Daniel have some sort of bad history, and on a more eldritch note, a woman’s ghost that Maggie had occasionally seen in the nearby graveyard takes to floating into her house and right up to her face. Filling monochrome ink-and-wash panels with wonderfully mobile faces, expressively posed bodies, wordless conversations in meaningful glances, funny banter and easy-to-read visual sequences ranging from hilarious to violent, Hicks crafts an upbeat, uncommonly engaging tale rich in humor, suspense, and smart, complex characters.

Readers will definitely want to have, know or be Maggie’s brothers—but she herself proves to be no slouch when it comes to coping with change and taking on challenges. (Graphic fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-59643-556-8

Page Count: 224

Publisher: First Second/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: Jan. 3, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012


From the Faelin Chronicles series , Vol. 1

This enthusiastic but clichéd series opener strings trope after trope on a thread of purple prose. On their 13th birthday, Diello and Cynthe impatiently await the manifestation of their magical gifts. These twins are Faelin, which means half Fae (on Mamee’s side) and half human (on Pa’s), and they have “coppery, green-flecked eyes” (natch). On an errand, the twins face not just the usual Faelin-hating prejudice but real danger; then they meet a talking golden wolf and return home to find their parents murdered, the farm sacked and old family secrets emerging. A hidden (and broken) sword, a gift of Sight, an endangered younger sister and a beckoning quest complete the picture. Earthy farm details (“We needed the rain, but it hit too hard. Mind that you lift the seedlings off the mud”) mix awkwardly with the glistening stuff of Fae (“When [Mamee] was very happy, she sometimes let her glamour appear, turning her into a glittering creature of silvery sparkles, her skin like snow, her lashes like tiny crystals”). The author tries to paint a unique world with slight alterations of recognizable English words (trees are “walner,” “chesternut” and “willuth”), but the exposition is clumsy, and momentum is weakened by overexplanation (“Amalina screamed. A cry of sheer terror”). It's not subtle, but it will carry along some readers on the prose’s pure eagerness. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7614-5828-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2011


From the My Boyfriend Is a Monster series , Vol. 1

Two teenagers fall for each other as a zombifying fungus stalks St. Petersburg, Fla., in this tongue-in-cheek romance. Paired up in school as an egg’s assigned “parents,” shy übernerd Jack Chen and irrepressible baseball star Dicey Bell feel a mutual draw—which is why they’re together, cutting class one day, when a sudden outbreak of mutant fungus turns nearly everyone into mindless, half-decayed killers. Though Dicey’s skill with a bat comes in handy for cranking up the body count, escape becomes an urgent priority when Jack is bitten. His scientist parents have a possible cure—but can they and the young fugitives hook up in time? Though so slow to get off the mark that the zombie action doesn’t even start until halfway through, the plot accelerates nicely thereafter, culminating in a wild drive in a tinkling ice-cream truck through crowds of slavering attackers. So vivacious are Jack and Dicey in Görrissen’s black-and-white art that readers will forgive the indistinct depictions of violence and the untidy way dialogue balloons spill over into adjacent panels. Simultaneously published with volume two, a tale with a different cast and setting titled Made for Each Other, written by Paul D. Storrie and illustrated by Eldon Cowgur. A hoot from opening salvo (“JACK CHEN, YOU’RE THE FATHER OF MY BABY!”) to closing clinch. (Graphic novel. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7613-6004-9

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Graphic Universe

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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