Well-paced and thrilling; readers will fly high with Raven’s tale.

TEEN TITANS

RAVEN

From the Teen Titans series , Vol. 1

Mother. Gone. Memory. Gone. Seventeen-year-old high school senior Raven rebuilds her life in New Orleans after a car accident takes away everything she knows.

Raven now lives with her late mother’s sister, a voodoo priestess and “the Mother of Souls,” and her daughter. Raven searches for clues to her past while navigating conventional teenage social problems: a mean girl and a cute boy. She also contends with other people’s emotions invading her mind and the tricky tendency for her own mean thoughts to manifest into reality. While she cannot remember anything from before the accident, she suffers continual nightmares featuring a multieyed spirit. A compelling storyline pulls readers into Raven’s turmoil, guiding them competently through the floating panels of expressive artwork. The muted palette pairs perfectly with the noir tone of Raven’s search for her origins. The respectful but not extremely nuanced inclusion of matriarchal African heritage religions such as voodoo is more empowering than campy. In one notable scene, the spirits of dead “mothers, daughters, sisters, and grandmothers, voodoo queens and warrior women of O’rleans” are called forward to gather and vanquish evil alongside Raven. Picolo’s (Icarus and the Sun, 2018, etc.) ghostly images of girls and women from different eras erupting from their graves to surround and support their earthbound sisters elicit good chills. The diverse cast is indicated through names and variations in skin tone.

Well-paced and thrilling; readers will fly high with Raven’s tale. (Graphic fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4012-8623-1

Page Count: 176

Publisher: DC Ink

Review Posted Online: April 7, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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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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A heartwarming, funny story filled with richness and complexity.

PUMPKINHEADS

Autumn loving, they had a blast; autumn loving, it happened too fast.

Having worked together in the Succotash Hut at the pumpkin patch for years, best friends and co-workers Deja and Josiah, who goes by Josie, ditch work and find love on their last night, heading out in search of Josie’s unrequited love, the girl who works in the Fudge Shoppe. Deja, a witty and outgoing girl who attracts—and is attracted to—boys and girls alike, is set on helping the shy, rule-following Josie move out of his comfort zone before they part ways for college. Deja encourages Josie to take a chance and talk to the girl of his dreams instead of pining for her from afar. Not to be dissuaded by his reticence, Deja leads Josie to multiple stops in the Patch in search of the almost-impossible-to-find Fudge Girl, with every stop taking them in a new direction and providing a new treat. As they journey through the Patch—chasing a snack-stealing rascal, dodging a runaway goat, and snacking their way through treats from fudge to Freeto pie—they explore the boundaries of their friendship. Visually bright and appealing in autumnal reds, oranges, and yellows, the art enhances this endearing picture of teenage love. Deja is a beautiful, plus-sized black girl, and Josie is a handsome, blond white boy.

A heartwarming, funny story filled with richness and complexity. (Graphic fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62672-162-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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