A provocatively modern test of understanding difference. (Verse fiction. 14 & up)

AUDACIOUS

Prendergast, who hails from Vancouver, B.C., pulls out all the stops in this action-packed coming-of-age tale fraught with familial and societal dysfunction.

When her family moves east from a tiny bungalow near the beach to a large house on the plains, 16-year-old misfit Raphaelle decides this new beginning calls for a little self-reinvention. Changing her name to Ella, Raphaelle narrates the various stages of her transformation, saying, “I have screwed around long enough. / I come to you a reformed girl,” and vowing not to make waves in her new environment. But when kids at her new high school start to isolate her— “What’s Ella short for? Elephant?”—and domestic pressures close in, Ella finds herself returning to her more radical, artistic side for release. She also finds herself seeking the comfort and affection of fellow art-class student Sam (short for Samir), who happens to be a Palestinian Muslim. When invited to contribute to the school art show, Ella and Sam create striking works that land both, in different ways, at the center of heated controversy. Though the narrative’s graphic plotting at times proves heavy-handed, Prendergast offers great insight into teen psychology—especially that of the outcast—and boldly probes sensitive topics like religious prejudice, sex, censorship and eating disorders.

A provocatively modern test of understanding difference. (Verse fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4598-0530-9

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013

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Grimly plainly worked hard, but, as the title indicates, the result serves his own artistic vision more than Mary Shelley’s.

GRIS GRIMLY'S FRANKENSTEIN

A slightly abridged graphic version of the classic that will drive off all but the artist’s most inveterate fans.

Admirers of the original should be warned away by veteran horror artist Bernie Wrightson’s introductory comments about Grimly’s “wonderfully sly stylization” and the “twinkle” in his artistic eye. Most general readers will founder on the ensuing floods of tiny faux handwritten script that fill the opening 10 pages of stage-setting correspondence (other lengthy letters throughout are presented in similarly hard-to-read typefaces). The few who reach Victor Frankenstein’s narrative will find it—lightly pruned and, in places, translated into sequences of largely wordless panels—in blocks of varied length interspersed amid sheaves of cramped illustrations with, overall, a sickly, greenish-yellow cast. The latter feature spidery, often skeletal figures that barrel over rough landscapes in rococo, steampunk-style vehicles when not assuming melodramatic poses. Though the rarely seen monster is a properly hard-to-resolve jumble of massive rage and lank hair, Dr. Frankenstein looks like a decayed Lyle Lovett with high cheekbones and an errant, outsized quiff. His doomed bride, Elizabeth, sports a white lock à la Elsa Lanchester, and decorative grotesqueries range from arrangements of bones and skull-faced flowers to bunnies and clownish caricatures.

Grimly plainly worked hard, but, as the title indicates, the result serves his own artistic vision more than Mary Shelley’s. (Graphic classic. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-186297-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in.

THE CRUEL PRINCE

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 1

Black is back with another dark tale of Faerie, this one set in Faerie and launching a new trilogy.

Jude—broken, rebuilt, fueled by anger and a sense of powerlessness—has never recovered from watching her adoptive Faerie father murder her parents. Human Jude (whose brown hair curls and whose skin color is never described) both hates and loves Madoc, whose murderous nature is true to his Faerie self and who in his way loves her. Brought up among the Gentry, Jude has never felt at ease, but after a decade, Faerie has become her home despite the constant peril. Black’s latest looks at nature and nurture and spins a tale of court intrigue, bloodshed, and a truly messed-up relationship that might be the saving of Jude and the titular prince, who, like Jude, has been shaped by the cruelties of others. Fierce and observant Jude is utterly unaware of the currents that swirl around her. She fights, plots, even murders enemies, but she must also navigate her relationship with her complex family (human, Faerie, and mixed). This is a heady blend of Faerie lore, high fantasy, and high school drama, dripping with description that brings the dangerous but tempting world of Faerie to life.

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-31027-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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