GRAVITY'S PULL

From the Life on Earth-Marinaomi series , Vol. 2

Everything changes once Claudia Jones comes back to Blithedale High.

Nigel becomes smitten with the mysterious girl whose dramatic return stirs everyone’s interest. The new Claudia appears much more untouchable and otherworldly than the previous one, and Nigel can’t seem to approach her without coming off like a doof. Free from her abusive ex-boyfriend, Paula finally confronts her blossoming sexuality by beginning a sort-of romance with Johanna, whose friendship with Brett is on the rocks. Forgoing school, Brett must take care of his remorseful mother, who is in home hospice care. Emily, meanwhile, thinks she’s met a perfectly sweet boy during a party, but her initial feelings prove false as the night rolls into a nightmare. Volume 2 of the Life on Earth series builds upon its off-kilter and subversively charming foundation, widening its emotional core in subtle, effective ways. This slim sequel mirrors its predecessor’s diverse artwork—rough, exaggerated, and expressive—and the multifaceted narrative focuses on its multiracial cast. There is an abstract chapter from Claudia’s perspective, illustrated in colored pencil in contrast to the mostly black-and-white art of the rest of the volume. Everything remains more or less unsettled, exactly as it should be, with a cliffhanger ending thrown in for good measure. MariNaomi’s (Losing the Girl, 2018, etc.) attention to life’s uncanny aspects feels more urgent than ever.

Eerily good. (Graphic novel. 14-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5124-4911-2

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Graphic Universe

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2019

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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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