A tremendous finale to a singular trilogy

DISTANT STARS

From the Life on Earth series , Vol. 3

Claudia Jones’ spell at Blithedale High comes to a close—and, just as abruptly, the otherworldly teen’s purpose is apparent.

But what of the others? Unearthing her confidence as a gay teen, Paula prepares to proclaim her newfound identity publicly. Johanna, meanwhile, is not quite ready for their blossoming relationship to be exposed. Left to address her faults, Emily retreats inward and reflects on her former friendship with Paula. Nigel’s parents now seem happier with each other, and Nigel wonders if it’s all thanks to his mysterious crush, Claudia. After his mother passes away, Brett isolates himself further, struggling to reconnect with his best friend, Johanna, as well as his estranged father. All fired up, Celine decides to confront her rapist the only way she knows how. On the margins, but just as integral in this tale, is Paula’s spurned ex-boyfriend Darren, a survivor (and perpetrator) of abuse whose inner demons may decide the fates of everyone involved. Truthfully, Volume 3 contains an overabundance of momentous moments to untangle, but MariNaomi’s (Gravity’s Pull, 2019, etc.) skills as an artist shine on through humor and sensitivity to the subject matter at hand. Each teen in this diverse cast ends up on the cusp of something greater, somewhere better, even as the specter of U.S. school shootings threatens to overwhelm the overall intent. The series’ eclectic artwork—always evolving, never dull—remains a delightful highlight.

A tremendous finale to a singular trilogy . (Graphic novel. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5124-4912-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Graphic Universe

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 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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