The action and wonder never stop in this intriguing sequel.

A LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS, A LOCK IN THE DOOR

From the House Divided series , Vol. 2

A ragtag crew heads back into a magical house in this follow-up to The Accursed Inheritance of Henrietta Achilles (2020).

After being flushed out of a skyscraperlike tower due to a burst pipe, Henrietta leads a group of bandits and soldiers back inside to fix the pipes, save the village from the flood, and continue their hunt for the hidden treasure. It’s not all fun and games though, as Henrietta faces moments of doubt; she’s unsure how to properly wield the keys she inherited as the wizard’s heir. While the group splits up and experiences various attacks and mishaps, Henrietta forges ahead and finds a boy made of candle wax who promises to help her—but danger lurks around every corner. The striking illustrations are both clear and whimsical, bringing to life the wondrous creatures and imaginative magical elements that fill the story. Rife with humorous moments, this graphic novel is overall a delight. However, the presence of a dozen or so major characters makes it hard for them all to shine, and the clunky introduction of some characters’ backstories during the war years ago muddies the otherwise tight, action-packed plot. For those interested in unravelling the additional secrets introduced in this installment, a cliffhanger ending fortunately promises more to come. The cast appears mainly White and mostly male.

The action and wonder never stop in this intriguing sequel. (Graphic fantasy. 12-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-72841-287-0

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Graphic Universe

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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A tender blend of sugary, buttery, and other complex flavors that’s baked with a tremendous dash of heart.

BLOOM

Summer love rises between two boys in a bakery.

High school may have ended, but Ari is stuck with sourdough starter at his family’s bakery instead of summer gigs in the city with his band. As his family’s money grows tighter, Ari feels tethered in place. His friends start to drift toward their own futures. But the future of their band—and their friendship—drifts toward uncertainty. Under the guise of recruiting another baker to take his place, Ari hires Hector. A culinary student in Birmingham, Hector has temporarily returned home to find closure after his Nana’s passing. The two grow close in more than just the kitchen. Ari, who hates baking, even starts to enjoy himself. But will it all last? Panetta and Ganucheau’s graphic novel debut is as much a love story between people as it is with the act of baking. Ganucheau’s art, in black ink with varying shades of blue, mixes traditional paneling with beautiful double-page spreads of detailed baking scenes, where the panels sometimes take on the shape of braided loaves. The romance between Ari and Hector builds slowly, focusing on cute interactions long before progressing to anything physical. Ari and his family are Greek. Family recipes referenced in the text code Hector as Samoan. Delicious.

A tender blend of sugary, buttery, and other complex flavors that’s baked with a tremendous dash of heart. (recipe, production art) (Graphic novel. 13-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62672-641-3

Page Count: 368

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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A warm, sweet, lovely tale of a world readers will want to live in.

ALWAYS HUMAN

In a not-so-distant future where changing one’s physical features is as easy as purchasing nanobot mods, Sunati falls for Austen, a girl who always looks the same.

Since Austen never changes, Sunati admires what she assumes is her bravery and confidence. As Sunati and Austen chat more, Austen bluntly asks Sunati if she only wants to get to know her more because of her medical condition, which prevents her from using mods. As they gradually grow closer, Sunati learns how to interact more respectfully with those who have overactive immune systems as well as to share her feelings more honestly. Austen, in turn, learns to trust Sunati. This beautifully illustrated slice-of-life tale that shows two young women of color getting to know each other and creating a relationship is so warm and charming that readers will hardly notice how much they are learning about how to better interact with folx who are different from themselves and the importance of not making assumptions. The story also successfully weaves in agender, genderfluid, and asexual characters as well as the subjects of parenting and colorism into the natural arc of Sunati and Austen’s developing story. The soft, romantic artwork evokes hazy watercolors. The speech bubbles are predominantly pink and blue, and the varied layout will maintain readers’ interest.

A warm, sweet, lovely tale of a world readers will want to live in. (Graphic romance. 12-18)

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4998-1110-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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