A heartfelt and beautifully written page-turner.

GHADY & RAWAN

After a summer break spent in Beirut, Ghady, a Lebanese teenager, returns with his family to Brussels, Belgium, where they reside.

Left behind is Rawan, his female best friend, with whom he keeps in touch through email. Through their correspondence, readers find out about their dreams and ambitions but also, and most importantly, their teenage angst and worries: Rawan’s increasingly uneasy relationship with her parents and Ghady’s bouts with homesickness and racial stereotyping. Their stories—while told through the perspectives of two Lebanese characters—skillfully examine issues pertinent to adolescents everywhere: bullying, peer pressure, racial discrimination, conflicts with parents, substance abuse….The young peoples’ narratives and communications uncover each of their perceptions of the other’s world, with Rawan envious of the fast internet and 24/7 electricity Ghady enjoys in “well-organized” Brussels while Ghady longs for the extended family life of Lebanese culture and writes to Rawan that “the noise of the Beirut streets…is better than the silence here.” Originally written in Arabic, the novel is masterfully penned by celebrated, award-winning authors Sharafeddine (The Amazing Discoveries of Ibn Sina, 2015, etc.) and Barraj (Red Line, 2019, etc.). The dual authorship results in a seamless text, and readers will travel smoothly between the novel’s two loci, Beirut and Brussels.

A heartfelt and beautifully written page-turner. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4773-1852-2

Page Count: 150

Publisher: Center for Middle Eastern Studies

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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A charming adaptation.

ANNE OF GREEN GABLES

From the Manga Classics series

A miscommunication leaves Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert responsible for a plucky, effusive orphan girl instead of the boy they’d expected to help maintain their farm.

Retold in traditional manga format, with right-to-left panel orientation and detailed black-and-white linework, this adaptation is delightfully faithful to the source text. Larger panels establish the idyllic country landscape while subtle text boxes identify the setting—Prince Edward Island, Canada, in the 1870s. The book follows redheaded Anne Shirley from her arrival at Green Gables at 11 to her achievement of a college scholarship. In the intervening years, Anne finds stability, friendship, personal growth, and ambition in Avonlea and in the strict but well-intentioned Cuthbert siblings’ household. The familiar story is enhanced by the exciting new format and lush illustrations. A variety of panel layouts provides visual freshness, maintaining reader interest. Backmatter includes the floor plan of the Green Gables house, as well as interior and exterior views, and notes about research on the actual location. A description of the process of adapting the novel to this visual format indicates the care that was taken to highlight particular elements of the story as well as to remain faithful to the smallest details. Readers who find the original text challenging will welcome this as an aid to comprehension and Anne’s existing fans will savor a fresh perspective on their beloved story. All characters appear to be White.

A charming adaptation. (Graphic fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-947808-18-8

Page Count: 308

Publisher: Manga Classics

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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Despite the stale fat-to-curvy pattern, compelling world building with a Southern European, pseudo-Christian feel,...

THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS

From the Girl of Fire and Thorns series , Vol. 1

Adventure drags our heroine all over the map of fantasyland while giving her the opportunity to use her smarts.

Elisa—Princess Lucero-Elisa de Riqueza of Orovalle—has been chosen for Service since the day she was born, when a beam of holy light put a Godstone in her navel. She's a devout reader of holy books and is well-versed in the military strategy text Belleza Guerra, but she has been kept in ignorance of world affairs. With no warning, this fat, self-loathing princess is married off to a distant king and is embroiled in political and spiritual intrigue. War is coming, and perhaps only Elisa's Godstone—and knowledge from the Belleza Guerra—can save them. Elisa uses her untried strategic knowledge to always-good effect. With a character so smart that she doesn't have much to learn, body size is stereotypically substituted for character development. Elisa’s "mountainous" body shrivels away when she spends a month on forced march eating rat, and thus she is a better person. Still, it's wonderfully refreshing to see a heroine using her brain to win a war rather than strapping on a sword and charging into battle.

Despite the stale fat-to-curvy pattern, compelling world building with a Southern European, pseudo-Christian feel, reminiscent of Naomi Kritzer's Fires of the Faithful (2002), keeps this entry fresh. (Fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-202648-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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