TEEN TITANS

BEAST BOY

From the Teen Titans series , Vol. 2

A high school senior works to reinvent himself and inadvertently discovers his mutant superpowers.

Garfield Logan is a self-deprecating 17-year-old with green-streaked hair and an obsession with working out and eating so he can bulk his way up to becoming popular with girls. It’s almost the end of the school year, and nothing on his bucket list has been accomplished: He doesn’t have the girl, he doesn’t have the income from the pizza job he wants, and he is very much on the outside of the in crowd. Fed up with being alternately ignored and bullied by the cool kids, Gar completes an outrageous dare that instantly gains him a following and new nickname, Beast Boy. Precariously balancing his new popularity and some unexpected physical transformations with maintaining his true, close friendships, Gar successfully goes with the flow until things get dangerously out of hand. This follow-up to Teen Titans: Raven (2019) serves its purpose in providing an origin story for Beast Boy and connecting the series storylines with recurring characters but without the high-stakes action, intrigue, and depth of the former. Although the visuals are dotted with bursts of brightness and creative framing, the story is weakened by outdated language, insufficient character development, and a scattered plot. A neurodivergent character is identified within the text while racial diversity is represented in illustrations.

A quick read for fans. (author and illustrator forewords) (Graphic fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4012-8719-1

Page Count: 192

Publisher: DC

Review Posted Online: July 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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Haunting, beautiful, and complex.

SUNCATCHER

Pimienta’s debut is a graphic novel set in Mexicali, Mexico, where music is life and—for a brief moment—life threatening.

High schooler Beatriz Ana Garza has played guitar in a few bands. Her love of music comes from her grandfather Tata Mario, a former musician whose declining health leads, after long decline, to his death in the hospital. While emptying her Tata’s belongings from his home, Beatriz discovers her grandfather’s soul is trapped inside his Gibson guitar. Tata’s spirit explains that years ago he made a trade with an Indigenous Yaqui man he met while traveling in Sonora, gaining musical talent but forfeiting the ability to finish writing the song that has haunted and eluded him; only her playing it in its entirety will set him free. Determined to liberate Tata’s soul, Beatriz joins a band and becomes obsessed with completing the song. Together with her new band mates, she begins to riff and write music. Chronicled in a nonlinear fashion with intermittent flashbacks, the dynamic illustrations pan Beatriz’s bedroom, concert venues, garage rehearsal space, and Mexicali streets. Awash in shades of purple and yellow, with splashes of pink and orange, they convey the 1990s setting and help readers feel the music. Refreshingly, colloquial Spanish greetings and nods to Baja California landmarks pepper the pages of the story, immersing readers in the northern Mexican city.

Haunting, beautiful, and complex. (author’s note, glossary, Mexicali info) (Graphic fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12482-6

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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A triumphant queer coming-of-age story that will make your heart ache and soar.

LAURA DEAN KEEPS BREAKING UP WITH ME

A 17-year-old struggles to navigate friendship and finding herself while navigating a toxic relationship.

Biracial (East Asian and white) high schooler Freddy is in love with white Laura Dean. She can’t help it—Laura oozes cool. But while Freddy’s friends are always supportive of her, they can’t understand why she stays with Laura. Laura cheats on Freddy, gaslights and emotionally manipulates her, and fetishizes her. After Laura breaks up with her for a third time, Freddy writes to an advice columnist and, at the recommendation of her best friend Doodle, (reluctantly) sees a psychic who advises her that in order to break out of the cycle of her “non-monogamous swing-your-partner wormhole,” Freddy needs to do the breaking up herself. As she struggles to fall out of love and figure out how to “break up with someone who’s broken up with me,” Freddy slowly begins to be drawn back into Laura’s orbit, challenging her relationships with her friends as she searches for happiness. Tamaki (Supergirl, 2018, etc.) explores the nuances of both romantic and platonic relationships with raw tenderness and honesty. Valero-O’Connell’s (Lumberjanes: Bonus Tracks, 2018, etc.) art is realistic and expressive, bringing the characters to life through dynamic grayscale illustrations featuring highlights of millennial pink. Freddy and her friends live in Berkeley, California, and have a diversity of body shapes, gender expressions, sexualities, and skin tones.

A triumphant queer coming-of-age story that will make your heart ache and soar. (Graphic novel. 14-adult)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62672-259-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: March 7, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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