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From the Amy's Diary series , Vol. 1

Surely there are more nuanced female characters than this.

While her teen angst is universal, diarist Amy feels like she is from another world.

Fourteen-year-old Amy, who has a generous smattering of freckles and sprightly ginger hair, dutifully records many familiar teen trials and tribulations: crushes, unrelenting embarrassment, and social squabbles. Her best friend, Kat, dithers between ignoring her for a boy and demanding Amy’s full attention when her relationship falters. Amy is in a tenuous relationship with Nick, a cute skater boy with whom she likes to kiss but finds herself tongue-tied when they actually talk. Her father died five years ago; now Amy struggles less with grief and more with her mother’s beginning to date. While Amy’s problems may seem familiar, they are never explored with any real depth. Throughout her narrative, there is little personal growth; the only things that change with any regularity are her sartorial selections. Every time Amy finds herself in a difficult situation, she runs from it, wearing thin any awkward charm. Even her space-alien feelings seem flimsy and perfunctory. Told in a diary format alongside full-color comic panels, this graphic novel was originally published in French in 2015 as an adaptation of a novel published nearly a decade earlier; this version contains scenes that read off these days, such as an unfunny joke about hamster rape and an unnecessarily awkward moment surrounding a dropped tampon. Amy’s world seems to be a white, middle-class one.

Surely there are more nuanced female characters than this. (Graphic fiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5458-0215-1

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Papercutz

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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From the My Boyfriend Is a Monster series , Vol. 1

Two teenagers fall for each other as a zombifying fungus stalks St. Petersburg, Fla., in this tongue-in-cheek romance. Paired up in school as an egg’s assigned “parents,” shy übernerd Jack Chen and irrepressible baseball star Dicey Bell feel a mutual draw—which is why they’re together, cutting class one day, when a sudden outbreak of mutant fungus turns nearly everyone into mindless, half-decayed killers. Though Dicey’s skill with a bat comes in handy for cranking up the body count, escape becomes an urgent priority when Jack is bitten. His scientist parents have a possible cure—but can they and the young fugitives hook up in time? Though so slow to get off the mark that the zombie action doesn’t even start until halfway through, the plot accelerates nicely thereafter, culminating in a wild drive in a tinkling ice-cream truck through crowds of slavering attackers. So vivacious are Jack and Dicey in Görrissen’s black-and-white art that readers will forgive the indistinct depictions of violence and the untidy way dialogue balloons spill over into adjacent panels. Simultaneously published with volume two, a tale with a different cast and setting titled Made for Each Other, written by Paul D. Storrie and illustrated by Eldon Cowgur. A hoot from opening salvo (“JACK CHEN, YOU’RE THE FATHER OF MY BABY!”) to closing clinch. (Graphic novel. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7613-6004-9

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Graphic Universe

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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From the Journal of a Schoolyard Bully series , Vol. 1

Packaged to recall other diary tales of middle school (faux-spiral binding, scratchy, faux-handprinted type—often hard to...

Combine Roald Dahl’s Twits and other villains, mix with the first-person–journaling trope and the comedic result might look something like this.

In his “Bully’s Log,” seventh-grader Niko Kayler provides an episodic text-and-pictures look at what he regards as the craft of bullying. Anything smelly, humiliating or painful (if not exactly lethal) provides the essence of a good trick to play on his victims, and he doesn’t stint on firing any number of wildly exaggerated blows at the random nerds who annoy him. Niko’s rogues’ gallery of bullies he most admires includes both Lucifer and Santa Claus. Katz picks the low-hanging…er, fruit of boogers, poop and farts to fill out his young antihero’s arsenal of tricks and tips for successful bullying. Occasional exclamations of “God!” and the use of adjectives like “mother-puking” send Niko’s malevolence veering off into slightly older teen territory (he says of cyberbullying, “I think it’s cheap and dirty. Like falling in love in Las Vegas”), and how many middle schoolers will recognize a reference to M. Night Shyamalan? The energy also seems to flag a bit with one relentlessly malicious sort of mayhem following another.

Packaged to recall other diary tales of middle school (faux-spiral binding, scratchy, faux-handprinted type—often hard to read—and roughly drawn illustrations), this take on the rotten inner life of a true bully is a mixed bag. (Fiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-312-68158-6

Page Count: 272

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2011

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