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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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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