An entertaining romance that leans into tired tropes.

VICTOR AND NORA

A GOTHAM LOVE STORY

At a young age, teens Victor and Nora became all too familiar with death.

Several years ago, Victor lost his brother and Nora her mother. Now, Victor interns at a lab where he is working on a technology to freeze and reanimate living things, work that has led his colleagues to call him a genius. Nora, on the other hand, is battling a degenerative neurological disease that will result in her untimely death. Determined to enjoy what is left of her life and to die on her own terms, Nora decides to take her life on her 17th birthday, before the disease makes her unrecognizable to herself and her loved ones. But then she and Victor fall in love, and Victor proposes an experimental strategy that could give them extra time together—or could ruin their relationship forever. While the book’s dialogue and characterization are compelling, the plot leans on predictable romantic tropes—most notably a quirky Manic Pixie Dream Girl pulling an awkward, brooding scientist out of his shell—leaving little room for surprises. The book’s illustrations are stunning, brilliantly moving between sepia- and blue-toned palettes to heighten the story’s mood. Victor appears White. Nora, her father, and brother have brown skin and wavy, black hair; her late mother’s name was Sulani Faria, but there are no clues to the family’s cultural or ethnic identities.

An entertaining romance that leans into tired tropes. (Graphic romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4012-9639-1

Page Count: 208

Publisher: DC

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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THE ODYSSEY

Hinds adds another magnificent adaptation to his oeuvre (King Lear, 2009, etc.) with this stunning graphic retelling of Homer’s epic. Following Odysseus’s journey to return home to his beloved wife, Penelope, readers are transported into a world that easily combines the realistic and the fantastic. Gods mingle with the mortals, and not heeding their warnings could lead to quick danger; being mere men, Odysseus and his crew often make hasty errors in judgment and must face challenging consequences. Lush watercolors move with fluid lines throughout this reimagining. The artist’s use of color is especially striking: His battle scenes are ample, bloodily scarlet affairs, and Polyphemus’s cave is a stifling orange; he depicts the underworld as a colorless, mirthless void, domestic spaces in warm tans, the all-encircling sea in a light Mediterranean blue and some of the far-away islands in almost tangibly growing greens. Don’t confuse this hefty, respectful adaptation with some of the other recent ones; this one holds nothing back and is proudly, grittily realistic rather than cheerfully cartoonish. Big, bold, beautiful. (notes) (Graphic classic. YA)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7636-4266-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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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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