THE GHOSTS OF ASHBURY HIGH

Moriarty has done it again. Fourth in the loose Brookfield-Ashbury saga (Feeling Sorry for Celia, 2001; The Year of Secret Assignments, 2004; The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie, 2006), this Australian import uses multiple formats (journals, exam essays, letters, transcripts) to relate the events of senior year at Ashbury, when two scholarship students with dark pasts and astounding talents shake up the lives of characters who will be familiar to fans. Quirky, comic and self-referential—exam questions about Gothic novels highlight the novel’s own gothic elements; weather then plays a crucial role in a climactic, possibly supernatural finale—this romp explores serious issues (especially class and privilege). No one is exactly who you think, and figuring out just what is going on is much of the fun. The author effortlessly employs multiple voices and narrative devices for maximum effect, and each member of the ensemble comes across loud and clear. Despite the heavy underpinnings, the focus is the redemptive power of friendship. Another winner, sure to please old fans and create new ones. (historical note) (Epistolary dramedy. YA)

Pub Date: June 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-06972-4

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2010

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Grimly plainly worked hard, but, as the title indicates, the result serves his own artistic vision more than Mary Shelley’s.

GRIS GRIMLY'S FRANKENSTEIN

A slightly abridged graphic version of the classic that will drive off all but the artist’s most inveterate fans.

Admirers of the original should be warned away by veteran horror artist Bernie Wrightson’s introductory comments about Grimly’s “wonderfully sly stylization” and the “twinkle” in his artistic eye. Most general readers will founder on the ensuing floods of tiny faux handwritten script that fill the opening 10 pages of stage-setting correspondence (other lengthy letters throughout are presented in similarly hard-to-read typefaces). The few who reach Victor Frankenstein’s narrative will find it—lightly pruned and, in places, translated into sequences of largely wordless panels—in blocks of varied length interspersed amid sheaves of cramped illustrations with, overall, a sickly, greenish-yellow cast. The latter feature spidery, often skeletal figures that barrel over rough landscapes in rococo, steampunk-style vehicles when not assuming melodramatic poses. Though the rarely seen monster is a properly hard-to-resolve jumble of massive rage and lank hair, Dr. Frankenstein looks like a decayed Lyle Lovett with high cheekbones and an errant, outsized quiff. His doomed bride, Elizabeth, sports a white lock à la Elsa Lanchester, and decorative grotesqueries range from arrangements of bones and skull-faced flowers to bunnies and clownish caricatures.

Grimly plainly worked hard, but, as the title indicates, the result serves his own artistic vision more than Mary Shelley’s. (Graphic classic. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-186297-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

TWILIGHT

From the Twilight series , Vol. 1

Sun-loving Bella meets her demon lover in a vampire tale strongly reminiscent of Robin McKinley’s Sunshine. When Bella moves to rainy Forks, Wash., to live with her father, she just wants to fit in without drawing any attention. Unfortunately, she’s drawn the eye of aloof, gorgeous and wealthy classmate Edward. His behavior toward Bella wavers wildly between apparent distaste and seductive flirtation. Bella learns Edward’s appalling (and appealing) secret: He and his family are vampires. Though Edward nobly warns Bella away, she ignores the human boys who court her and chooses her vampiric suitor. An all-vampire baseball game in a late-night thunderstorm—an amusing gothic take on American family togetherness that balances some of the tale’s romantic excesses—draws Bella and her loved ones into terrible danger. This is far from perfect: Edward’s portrayal as monstrous tragic hero is overly Byronic, and Bella’s appeal is based on magic rather than character. Nonetheless, the portrayal of dangerous lovers hits the spot; fans of dark romance will find it hard to resist. (Fantasy. YA)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-316-16017-2

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2005

Did you like this book?

more