CHANGING MOON

From the Nola's Worlds series

Bubble-gum–tinged whimsy abounds in this stylish French graphic-novel import. Cotton-candy–tressed Nola spends her days dreaming in her peaceful town, Alta Donna. Her world is cozy and ordinary until she meets the aloof and mysterious Damiano and Inés. Nola quickly learns that there are strange forces after the siblings and is determined to get to the bottom of this mystery. Nola and her friends radiate a funky fashion sense, constantly changing clothes and hairstyles; it’s hard to imagine a reader who wouldn’t want to raid her closet. This first installment propels forward with the force of a rocket—albeit a very pink, fanciful one. Luckily for the ravenous reader, the whole trilogy releases simultaneously (#2, Ferrets and Ferreting Out, PLB: 978-0-7613-6504-4; #3, Even for a Dreamer Like Me, PLB: 978-0-7613-6505-1). Though it's a fantastic visual experience, the actual plot is thin; even as Nola delves into the mystery in the subsequent volumes, the narrative never really gains any degree of complexity. However, with its upbeat palette (courtesy of Pop), manga-inspired art and hip characters, this charmer is sure to please preteen girls. (Graphic fiction. 9-12)



Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7613-6538-9

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Graphic Universe

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2010

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Emily’s motives turn out to be little more than a pretext, but the author delivers another clever, suspenseful drama in the...

DEADLY PINK

Vande Velde again traps teenagers inside an authentically depicted arcade game—but here she works twists into the premise that are both amusing and crank up the danger.

As in User Unfriendly (1991) and Heir Apparent (2002), the game, called “The Land of Golden Butterflies,” is manufactured by the shadowy Rasmussem Corp. and is fully immersive, fed directly into the brain through electrodes. Into this game 14-year-old Grace Pizzelli’s big sister Emily has gone; moreover, she has refused to come out and altered the code so she can’t be forcibly ejected. As sessions that run longer than a few hours cause brain damage and death, the corporation desperately turns to Grace to follow Emily in and persuade her to leave. Reluctantly agreeing, Grace discovers to her disgust that, rather than offering the usual heroic-fantasy or science-fiction setting, this digital world has been colored in pinks and lavenders. It is stocked with (supposedly) benign magical creatures and hunky male servitors—in general, it seems designed to cater to 10-year-old would-be princesses. The idyll has gone sour, though, because thanks to Emily’s fiddling, not only have the wish-granting sprites turned nasty, but the game’s governing Artificial Intelligence has changed the Rules—disabling the “Quit” function and forcing both Grace and her already-failing sister to embark on a seemingly hopeless quest with their real lives at stake.

Emily’s motives turn out to be little more than a pretext, but the author delivers another clever, suspenseful drama in the digital domain. (Science fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: July 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-547-73850-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2012

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A fully imagined world, a wider cast of engaging characters, and a satisfying resolution all help this sequel add up to an...

IN A DARK LAND

From the Changelings series , Vol. 2

Izzy and her friends must once again band together to overcome an evil plan.

Despite the revelation that she is a fairy—a changeling—Izzy decided to return home to her human family at the end of series opener The Changelings (2016). At summer camp with her human, white younger sister, Henrietta, known as Hen, Izzy still misses the magic of the Faerie world and the friends she made there. Summoned to assist in fighting a new danger, Izzy struggles to recapture her magical abilities while fighting familiar feelings of self-doubt. Hen, initially left behind, finds her way to Faerie to help and winds up playing a vital role. Soontornvat’s story unfolds smoothly, but readers unfamiliar with the first volume may struggle somewhat to follow the action. Intriguing new elements—most notably the underwater Fen Whelps who reveal a crucial detail to the two sisters—add interest. As in the first book, it’s an individual who threatens destruction and cooperation that carries the day. A strong connection to nature, the importance of recognizing and using one’s own talents for the greater good, and the importance of family connections, however they are forged, are elements that will enhance the appeal for thoughtful fantasy readers.

A fully imagined world, a wider cast of engaging characters, and a satisfying resolution all help this sequel add up to an enjoyable, if not stand-alone, read. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-3421-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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