Altogether perfect.

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ALL TOGETHER NOW

From the Eagle Rock series

Bina wants a band, not a boyfriend: Is that so wrong?

In this follow-up to All Summer Long (2018), Bina, now in eighth grade, has formed a band with new-girl Darcy and aloof prodigy Enzo. When Enzo and Darcy start dating, Bina finds herself dumped by her band mates, who reorganize the group as a duo. Additionally, her neighbor and BFF, Austin, fresh from a breakup with his long-distance girlfriend, now seems to like like her; could her oldest friend become her boyfriend? Everywhere she turns, it seems that everyone is concerned with only one thing—dating—whereas Bina swoons solely for music. Bina feels she must present herself a certain way to find acceptance. Wanting something different from her peers causes her anxiety, and she struggles to be true to herself and her friends as opportunities swirl around her. Bina’s smart, likable, and familiar, and her coming-of-age fears are palpably engaging as she learns that romance need not be romantic. The story is written and drawn by Larson; colorists Sycamore and Edwards add a sophisticated two-toned, muted rose-gold scheme. Larson has a wonderfully sharp eye for her characters, including a range of skin tones, sexual orientations, and body types. Aftermatter includes Larson’s explanation of her artistic process and is sure to inspire budding artists. Bina presents as mixed-race, though it’s not explicitly stated; her dad presents white, and her mom has brown skin.

Altogether perfect. (Graphic fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-374-31162-9

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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DRAMA

From award winner Telgemeier (Smile, 2010), a pitch-perfect graphic novel portrayal of a middle school musical, adroitly capturing the drama both on and offstage.

Seventh-grader Callie Marin is over-the-moon to be on stage crew again this year for Eucalyptus Middle School’s production of Moon over Mississippi. Callie's just getting over popular baseball jock and eighth-grader Greg, who crushed her when he left Callie to return to his girlfriend, Bonnie, the stuck-up star of the play. Callie's healing heart is quickly captured by Justin and Jesse Mendocino, the two very cute twins who are working on the play with her. Equally determined to make the best sets possible with a shoestring budget and to get one of the Mendocino boys to notice her, the immensely likable Callie will find this to be an extremely drama-filled experience indeed. The palpably engaging and whip-smart characterization ensures that the charisma and camaraderie run high among those working on the production. When Greg snubs Callie in the halls and misses her reference to Guys and Dolls, one of her friends assuredly tells her, "Don't worry, Cal. We’re the cool kids….He's the dork." With the clear, stylish art, the strongly appealing characters and just the right pinch of drama, this book will undoubtedly make readers stand up and cheer.

Brava!  (Graphic fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-32698-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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An engrossing, humorous, and vitally important graphic novel that should be required reading in every middle school in...

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NEW KID

Jordan Banks takes readers down the rabbit hole and into his mostly white prep school in this heartbreakingly accurate middle-grade tale of race, class, microaggressions, and the quest for self-identity.

He may be the new kid, but as an African-American boy from Washington Heights, that stigma entails so much more than getting lost on the way to homeroom. Riverdale Academy Day School, located at the opposite end of Manhattan, is a world away, and Jordan finds himself a stranger in a foreign land, where pink clothing is called salmon, white administrators mistake a veteran African-American teacher for the football coach, and white classmates ape African-American Vernacular English to make themselves sound cool. Jordan’s a gifted artist, and his drawings blend with the narrative to give readers a full sense of his two worlds and his methods of coping with existing in between. Craft skillfully employs the graphic-novel format to its full advantage, giving his readers a delightful and authentic cast of characters who, along with New York itself, pop off the page with vibrancy and nuance. Shrinking Jordan to ant-sized proportions upon his entering the school cafeteria, for instance, transforms the lunchroom into a grotesque Wonderland in which his lack of social standing becomes visually arresting and viscerally uncomfortable.

An engrossing, humorous, and vitally important graphic novel that should be required reading in every middle school in America. (Graphic fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-269120-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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