LAST PICK

From the Last Pick series , Vol. 1

Aliens invade, abducting almost everyone.

In this high-octane graphic novel series opener, creepy extraterrestrials have overrun Earth, deploying gargantuan robot "scoopers," collecting people ages 16 to 65. However, in addition to leaving children and the elderly, the aliens have also left behind anyone they deem useless, like the “disabled.” Sixteen-year-old Sam and her twin brother, Wyatt, are in hiding, trying to rebuild the aliens' abandoned technological devices in order to ascertain where their parents might be located. With the help of a rough-and-tumble band of senior citizens, the twins make their way through an eerily analogous—albeit alien-run—landscape. Though never explicitly stated, Wyatt is seemingly on the spectrum. While sister Sam has always served as his protector, in a dramatic turn of events at one point in the story, it is up to Wyatt to become the hero. Cartoonist and teacher Walz (A Story for Desmond, 2015, etc.) tells his reader, "you might be surprised to find that whatever the world sees as 'different' is exactly what the world needs more of." Here he has created a masterful sci-fi tale with relatable characters, skillful worldbuilding, and cinematically designed illustrations that convey his message. Colorist Proctor has employed a muted earth-toned palette, using color to help easily distinguish flashbacks from present action. Sam and Wyatt are both white and fair-haired. Secondary characters are widely diverse in physical ability, age, and skin color.

Awesome. (author’s note) (Graphic science fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62672-891-2

Page Count: 226

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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A tender blend of sugary, buttery, and other complex flavors that’s baked with a tremendous dash of heart.

BLOOM

Summer love rises between two boys in a bakery.

High school may have ended, but Ari is stuck with sourdough starter at his family’s bakery instead of summer gigs in the city with his band. As his family’s money grows tighter, Ari feels tethered in place. His friends start to drift toward their own futures. But the future of their band—and their friendship—drifts toward uncertainty. Under the guise of recruiting another baker to take his place, Ari hires Hector. A culinary student in Birmingham, Hector has temporarily returned home to find closure after his Nana’s passing. The two grow close in more than just the kitchen. Ari, who hates baking, even starts to enjoy himself. But will it all last? Panetta and Ganucheau’s graphic novel debut is as much a love story between people as it is with the act of baking. Ganucheau’s art, in black ink with varying shades of blue, mixes traditional paneling with beautiful double-page spreads of detailed baking scenes, where the panels sometimes take on the shape of braided loaves. The romance between Ari and Hector builds slowly, focusing on cute interactions long before progressing to anything physical. Ari and his family are Greek. Family recipes referenced in the text code Hector as Samoan. Delicious.

A tender blend of sugary, buttery, and other complex flavors that’s baked with a tremendous dash of heart. (recipe, production art) (Graphic novel. 13-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62672-641-3

Page Count: 368

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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Even so, this remains Macbeth, arguably the Bard of Avon’s most durable and multilayered tragedy, and overall, this enhanced...

MACBETH

From the Wordplay Shakespeare series

A pairing of the text of the Scottish Play with a filmed performance, designed with the Shakespeare novice in mind.

The left side of the screen of this enhanced e-book contains a full version of Macbeth, while the right side includes a performance of the dialogue shown (approximately 20 lines’ worth per page). This granular focus allows newcomers to experience the nuances of the play, which is rich in irony, hidden intentions and sudden shifts in emotional temperature. The set and costuming are deliberately simple: The background is white, and Macbeth’s “armor” is a leather jacket. But nobody’s dumbing down their performances. Francesca Faridany is particularly good as a tightly coiled Lady Macbeth; Raphael Nash-Thompson gives his roles as the drunken porter and a witch a garrulousness that carries an entertainingly sinister edge. The presentation is not without its hiccups. Matching the video on the right with the text on the left means routinely cutting off dramatic moments; at one point, users have to swipe to see and read the second half of a scene’s closing couplet—presumably an easy fix. A “tap to translate” button on each page puts the text into plain English, but the pop-up text covers up Shakespeare’s original, denying any attempts at comparison; moreover, the translation mainly redefines more obscure words, suggesting that smaller pop-ups for individual terms might be more meaningful.

Even so, this remains Macbeth, arguably the Bard of Avon’s most durable and multilayered tragedy, and overall, this enhanced e-book makes the play appealing and graspable to students . (Enhanced e-book. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: The New Book Press LLC

Review Posted Online: Nov. 7, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

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