From the Books of Clash series , Vol. 2

More legendarious feats and fun.

Learning to be a Sneaker (not that kind but “one who sneaks”) helps a young archer save her town from a dazzling trickster and to let a broken friendship go in this video game–based spinoff following the 2023 series opener.

Red-haired, green-eyed archer Jane is crushed when her once-tight friend, Angie, takes up with new BFF Janice. But she’s even more upset when the two girls join new arrivals Kellen the Magically Handsome Archer and his flashy Ultra-Cucumbers to push her and her loyal Cucumbers teammates right out of Jazzypickleton. As it turns out, Kellen is actually in the pay of a rival kingdom, and it’s all part of an evil scheme to steal all of Jazzypickleton’s elixir and Royale trophies. Fortunately, Jane enters a secret cave, where she meets the mystic Order of Sneakers—and though she can’t get them to change their name to something less dorky (like Sneakists or even Sneaketeers), they do teach her the art of becoming invisible by mystically letting unnecessary attachments go. Jane returns just in time to save the town and send Kellen the Magically et cetera packing. Even non-gamers will find the typecast characters—ranging from green goblins and brown-skinned Hog Riders to blond armored warriors with “big metal balls”—amusing and easily identifiable, and if the melees tend to be massively violent, no one is ever actually hurt.

More legendarious feats and fun. (Graphic fantasy. 10-15)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9781250816283

Page Count: 144

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2023


Brilliantly enchanting.

Two reluctant friends—and a talking bear—journey deep into the night in search of answers.

The night of the annual Autumn Equinox Festival unfolds as the villagers cast hundreds of lanterns down the river in honor of a local folk legend. For Ben, this year will be different from the rest. He and his friends make a pact to follow the lanterns until the unknown end of their voyage. One by one Ben’s friends give up and return home, all except for Nathaniel, whose love for the cosmos and nerdy ways ostracize him from the group. In spite of his misgivings, Ben decides to uphold the pact with Nathaniel. A third, unexpected member joins the adventure when the boys come across a talking fisherbear who’s on a quest to fish as his ancestors did. The trio eventually loses track of the path, and an unplanned encounter with the feisty Madam Majestic leads to even greater escapades. To shed more light on the story risks spoiling Andrews’ marvelously melancholic, earnest graphic novel, at its core an exercise in whimsical self-reflection. This story’s a quiet one in which danger flickers and hope flares at odd but fruitful moments. The core relationship between Ben (a dark-haired, light-skinned, bespectacled boy) and Nathaniel (a dark-skinned boy with puffs of hair) never veers into pure mawkishness. Likewise, the primarily blue and red mixed-media pictures underscore how nighttime sometimes promises transformation.

Brilliantly enchanting. (Graphic fabulism. 10-14)

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-19695-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019


Captivating and lyrical.

Shaheen’s dad is missing. Music, which bonded them over the years, now seems to be the cause of their separation.

Twelve-year-old Shahi and her journalist father, an avid record collector, have connected through music for as long as she can remember, although lately he seems to pay attention to it more than he does to her. Until the day Shahi’s dad gets lost in music—literally. Shahi and her cousin, Tannaz, set out to find him by sleuthing after hours inside the local record store, where he and Earl, the store’s owner, were last seen. They discover a massive jukebox, which they come to realize is magical, as it transports them back in time whenever it plays a record. Hopping in and out of time to attend legendary concerts seems to have led to both men’s disappearance. Now Shahi and Naz need to figure out if there is a way to bring them back. The story highlights the eras and contributions of notable Black musicians including Bessie Smith, Nina Simone, James Brown, and Marvin Gaye. Chanani’s illustrations of the family’s San Francisco neighborhood as well as the historical settings are delightfully colorful and vibrant, and her attention to detail is impeccable. She weaves musicality into her exploration of personal relationships, creating a world where music connects us all. Shahi has Italian and Bangladeshi heritage; Naz is Bangladeshi American and bisexual, and Earl is Black.

Captivating and lyrical. (playlist, author's note) (Graphic fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: June 22, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-15636-5

Page Count: 224

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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