Surely there are more nuanced female characters than this.

SPACE ALIEN…ALMOST?

From the Amy's Diary series , Vol. 1

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. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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A first rate kickoff: fresh, fast, and funny.

THE TIME MUSEUM

Both deadly dangers and exciting research opportunities await science-mad Delia Bean once she stumbles into a museum with portals to any time and place on Earth.

Time and space open up for Delia after she discovers that her beloved uncle Lyndon is in fact a time traveler from 51st-century Hoboken and in charge of the Earth Time Museum—a truly massive institution charged with preserving our entire planet’s past and future. Invited to try out for a museum internship, Delia plunges into a whirlwind course of study and training with five other young competitors from various eras, then joins them in three on-site tests: a Cretaceous scavenger hunt; a trip to the ancient library of Alexandria to pick its most wondrous holding (“a Homeric book of practical jokes!” “That’s a contender!”); and finally an expedition 1,000 years into the future to help deal with a worrisome plague of anachronistic “time discrepancies.” Loux uses only minimal variations in hue to signal his mostly light-skinned cast’s diverse origins, but his fluid lines and bright colors make the action (of which there is plenty) easy to follow. By the end his young ensemble, having weathered challenges ranging from their own rivalries to T. Rexes and a time rift that threatens to annihilate London, is a bonded team ready and eager for new adventures.

A first rate kickoff: fresh, fast, and funny. (Graphic science fiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-59643-849-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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Three true tales of adventure as grand and admirable in the telling as they were in the doing.

AROUND THE WORLD

With uncommon perception and a flair for visual drama, Phelan tracks three intrepid souls’ solo journeys around the world.

In 1884, Thomas Stevens rode a bicycle from San Francisco to Boston, and then decided to extend the outing—to Yokohama. Journalist Nellie Bly set out in 1889 to beat the 80-day schedule suggested in Jules Verne’s novel (meeting the encouraging author along the way and bettering the novel’s time by two days). Mariner Joshua Slocum took the most circuitous route, sailing over 46,000 miles between 1895 and 1898 accompanied only by poignant memories of his first wife. Adding brief bridging captions or snatches of dialogue to quoted comments from their subsequent memoirs, Phelan highlights the experiences and reflections of each in cinematic sequences of delicately drawn panels. By focusing on the travelers’ faces, he captures their distinct characters (and shared rock-steady determination) with such force and clarity that readers can’t help but be swept along by Stevens’ aggressive mustache, Bly’s steely glare at male doubters and nay-sayers, the aching heart visible behind Slocum’s tough, grizzled countenance. The author rounds off each account with an epilogue, then closes with a thoughtful note and a source list.

Three true tales of adventure as grand and admirable in the telling as they were in the doing. (Graphic nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7636-3619-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2011

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