More “teen drama” than “super,” this is an interesting choice for those looking for more than the usual hero fare.

Kara Danvers’ bad day begins when she pops a zit.

As origin stories go, Tamaki (The Moon Is Up, 2018, etc.) focuses on Kara the teenager over all else. Having arrived on Earth as a young child, she endures bad dreams and has no idea that she’s an alien. Blonde, blue-eyed Kara has just turned 16, and her odd abilities are glitching. At a track meet, an earthquake takes the lives of several people, including one of Kara’s best friends, who slips out of her grasp. Later, when responding to a mysterious cry for help, she discovers not only the reason for her malfunctioning strength and the quake, but a dark-haired, olive-skinned man strapped to a table who speaks a language that she has only heard in her head and who has the answers to her questions about where she is from. His escape from the facility, however, causes problems that Kara could have anticipated if she was not so busy giggling at his face and admiring his abs. Superpowers are sidelined by the drama of fitting in, keeping secrets, and dealing with grief. Of her small circle of friends, the brown-skinned lesbian Dolly has enough sass to power Kara through everyday interactions as well as the weightier theme of the death of a loved one.

More “teen drama” than “super,” this is an interesting choice for those looking for more than the usual hero fare. (Graphic novel. 12-16)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4012-6894-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: DC

Review Posted Online: April 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018



A must-read graphic novel that is both heart-rending and beautifully hopeful.

A grandmother shares her story of survival as a Jew in France during World War II.

As part of a homework assignment, Julian (Auggie’s chief tormentor in Wonder, 2012) video chats with Grandmère, who finally relates her wartime story. Born Sara Blum to a comfortable French Jewish family, she is indulged by her parents, who remain in Vichy France after 1940. Then, in 1943, after the German occupation, soldiers come to Sara’s school to arrest her and the other Jewish students. Sara hides and is soon spirited away by “Tourteau,” a student that she and the others had teased because of his crablike, crutch-assisted walk after being stricken by polio. Nonetheless, Tourteau, whose real name is Julien, and his parents shelter Sara in their barn loft for the duration of the war, often at great peril but always with care and love. Palacio begins each part of her story with quotations: from Muriel Rukeyser’s poetry, Anne Frank, and George Santayana. Her digital drawings, inked by Czap, highlight facial close-ups that brilliantly depict emotions. The narrative thread, inspired by Palacio’s mother-in-law, is spellbinding. In the final pages, the titular bird, seen in previous illustrations, soars skyward and connects readers to today’s immigration tragedies. Extensive backmatter, including an afterword by Ruth Franklin, provides superb resources. Although the book is being marketed as middle-grade, the complexities of the Holocaust in Vichy France, the growing relationship between Sara and Julien, Julien’s fate, and the mutual mistrust among neighbors will be most readily appreciated by Wonder’s older graduates.

A must-read graphic novel that is both heart-rending and beautifully hopeful. (author’s note, glossary, suggested reading list, organizations and resources, bibliography, photographs) (Graphic historical fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-64553-5

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019


“Is it possible to know something but not see what it is yet?” So writes Dean, the young narrator of this episodic graphic novel, as he records such slice-of-life episodes as playing “soldier” with a trio of new neighbors in a wooded patch near his home, losing a playground fight, meeting a mercurial homeless man and overhearing his parents worriedly discussing his bad attitude at school. Pyle designs his pages with a variety of large sequential and inset panels, using colors to signal both narrative divisions and general mood; the ordinary world is cast in a drab olive green, for instance, bursting into full, comics-style color for fantasized battles. In contrast to the simply drawn figures, which are sometimes hard to tell apart, the author tracks Dean’s groping progress—out of childhood and into something that’s not quite maturity but definitely headed that way—indirectly, with a subtlety that will engage more reflective readers. A coming-of-age tale of the more introspective sort. (Graphic fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: May 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-8050-7998-2

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2007

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