Wish fulfillment with surprising meat.

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UNBELIEVABLY BORING BART

Bart hides behind a boring facade while secretly working on a video game.

Though Bart claims to be boring, frequent illustrations of the inventive ways Bart sees the world mark him as entertaining from the start. Then Bart discloses that he’s been tasked with defending the Earth against an invasion of the tech-eating Lerkians—only to reveal the phone app he uses to do so is really a game he’s invented that takes inspiration from his difficulties with bullies. When the game goes viral, Bart finds himself spending all of his time debugging it, which comes between him and his only friend—a cyberschooled girl who lives in his apartment building but whom he talks to only via a Snapchat-esque app. With the announcement that a popular YouTube channel will be coming to town to cover Bart’s game, Bart decides to use the show and his proceeds to get revenge on his three bullies—but the turnabout doesn’t work out as he hopes. The bullying storylines play out with nuance—though neither the bullies nor Bart face official consequences for their actions, the interactions lead to introspection and growth. Introverted, white Bart is happy that people like his game, but he prefers a smaller friendship circle—especially his neighbor friend, who is eventually revealed to be a girl of color with disabilities.

Wish fulfillment with surprising meat. (Fiction. 7-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-41153-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

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A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode.

HORRIBLE HARRY SAYS GOODBYE

From the Horrible Harry series , Vol. 37

A long-running series reaches its closing chapters.

Having, as Kline notes in her warm valedictory acknowledgements, taken 30 years to get through second and third grade, Harry Spooger is overdue to move on—but not just into fourth grade, it turns out, as his family is moving to another town as soon as the school year ends. The news leaves his best friend, narrator “Dougo,” devastated…particularly as Harry doesn’t seem all that fussed about it. With series fans in mind, the author takes Harry through a sort of last-day-of-school farewell tour. From his desk he pulls a burned hot dog and other items that featured in past episodes, says goodbye to Song Lee and other classmates, and even (for the first time ever) leads Doug and readers into his house and memento-strewn room for further reminiscing. Of course, Harry isn’t as blasé about the move as he pretends, and eyes aren’t exactly dry when he departs. But hardly is he out of sight before Doug is meeting Mohammad, a new neighbor from Syria who (along with further diversifying a cast that began as mostly white but has become increasingly multiethnic over the years) will also be starting fourth grade at summer’s end, and planning a written account of his “horrible” buddy’s exploits. Finished illustrations not seen.

A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-47963-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and...

GHOSTS

Catrina narrates the story of her mixed-race (Latino/white) family’s move from Southern California to Bahía de la Luna on the Northern California coast.

Dad has a new job, but it’s little sister Maya’s lungs that motivate the move: she has had cystic fibrosis since birth—a degenerative breathing condition. Despite her health, Maya loves adventure, even if her lungs suffer for it and even when Cat must follow to keep her safe. When Carlos, a tall, brown, and handsome teen Ghost Tour guide introduces the sisters to the Bahía ghosts—most of whom were Spanish-speaking Mexicans when alive—they fascinate Maya and she them, but the terrified Cat wants only to get herself and Maya back to safety. When the ghost adventure leads to Maya’s hospitalization, Cat blames both herself and Carlos, which makes seeing him at school difficult. As Cat awakens to the meaning of Halloween and Day of the Dead in this strange new home, she comes to understand the importance of the ghosts both to herself and to Maya. Telgemeier neatly balances enough issues that a lesser artist would split them into separate stories and delivers as much delight textually as visually. The backmatter includes snippets from Telgemeier’s sketchbook and a photo of her in Día makeup.

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and unable to put down this compelling tale. (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-54061-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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