Eerie and edgy—and effective as Poe.

READ REVIEW

CHOPSTICKS

A provocative tale of forbidden love and madness.

In their first collaboration, the wildly inventive duo of Anthony (The Convalescent, 2009) and Corral, designer of varied and various bestselling book covers (Decoded, by Jay-Z; Classy, by Derek Blasberg, both 2010, etc.), presents a dark picture book for mature teens. The plot appears simple: Gloria “Glory” Fleming, a child prodigy on the piano, falls for Francisco “Frank” Mendoza, the boy next door. Glory’s overprotective father disapproves, causing both teens untold misery as Glory’s torn from Frank to tour Europe, and Frank eventually gets expelled from private school. But rippling beneath the surface of this star-crossed love story lurks an undercurrent of madness, as Glory starts infusing her performances of classic concerti with the basic “Chopsticks” theme and soon finds she can’t stop. That’s where the work’s literally graphic nature—oversized and teeming with photo collages of significant objects and moments—turns this familiar plot on its ear, forcing readers to infer reality from the often caption-less, seldom contextualized images. The result leaves readers wondering what really takes place—even if Frank ever existed—and, through its narrative reticence, speaks volumes to the ineffable nature of both mental illness and intimate relationships. (An interactive, multimedia electronic version is scheduled to release simultaneously.)

Eerie and edgy—and effective as Poe. (Graphic fiction. 15 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-59514-435-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Dec. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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Green seamlessly bridges the gap between the present and the existential, and readers will need more than one box of tissues...

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS

He’s in remission from the osteosarcoma that took one of his legs. She’s fighting the brown fluid in her lungs caused by tumors. Both know that their time is limited.

Sparks fly when Hazel Grace Lancaster spies Augustus “Gus” Waters checking her out across the room in a group-therapy session for teens living with cancer. He’s a gorgeous, confident, intelligent amputee who always loses video games because he tries to save everyone. She’s smart, snarky and 16; she goes to community college and jokingly calls Peter Van Houten, the author of her favorite book, An Imperial Affliction, her only friend besides her parents. He asks her over, and they swap novels. He agrees to read the Van Houten and she agrees to read his—based on his favorite bloodbath-filled video game. The two become connected at the hip, and what follows is a smartly crafted intellectual explosion of a romance. From their trip to Amsterdam to meet the reclusive Van Houten to their hilariously flirty repartee, readers will swoon on nearly every page. Green’s signature style shines: His carefully structured dialogue and razor-sharp characters brim with genuine intellect, humor and desire. He takes on Big Questions that might feel heavy-handed in the words of any other author: What do oblivion and living mean? Then he deftly parries them with humor: “My nostalgia is so extreme that I am capable of missing a swing my butt never actually touched.” Dog-earing of pages will no doubt ensue.

Green seamlessly bridges the gap between the present and the existential, and readers will need more than one box of tissues to make it through Hazel and Gus’ poignant journey. (Fiction. 15 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-525-47881-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

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An unpolished grab bag of incidents that tries to make a point about racial inequality.

I'M NOT DYING WITH YOU TONIGHT

Two teenage girls—Lena and Campbell—come together following a football game night gone wrong.

Campbell, who is white and new to Atlanta, now attends the school where Lena, who is black, is a queen bee. At a game between McPherson High and their rival, a racist slur leads to fights, and shots are fired. The unlikely pair are thrown together as they try to escape the dangers on campus only to find things are even more perilous on the outside; a police blockade forces them to walk through a dangerous neighborhood toward home. En route, a peaceful protest turns into rioting, and the presence of police sets off a clash with protestors with gruesome consequences. The book attempts to tackle racial injustice in America by offering two contrasting viewpoints via narrators of different races. However, it portrays black characters as violent and criminal and the white ones as excusably ignorant and subtly racist, seemingly redeemed by moments when they pause to consider their privileges and biases. Unresolved story arcs, underdeveloped characters, and a jumpy plot that tries to pack too much into too small a space leave the story lacking. This is not a story of friendship but of how trauma can forge a bond—albeit a weak and questionable one—if only for a night.

An unpolished grab bag of incidents that tries to make a point about racial inequality. (Fiction. 15-adult)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-7889-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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