Fast-paced and entertaining.

GOTHAM HIGH

The high school beginnings of favorite Batman comic characters.

Seventeen-year-old Bruce Wayne just got kicked out of the fancy boarding school his Uncle Alfred sent him to when his parents died. Now he’s back in Gotham City, living in the family home and attending Gotham High. Bruce runs into his childhood neighbor Selina Garcia Kyle, who invites him to a party where he meets cardsharp Jack Napier, who becomes a new friend. One day, high school classmate Harvey Dent is kidnapped while trying on Bruce’s leather coat, and Bruce gets shot with a tranquilizer dart. Bruce, convinced he, not Harvey, was the real target, goes on a hunt to find the truth. As he uncovers more information, he discovers that his new friends aren’t what they seem. Narrated by Selina, the story puts Batman, the Joker, Catwoman, and other Batman favorites into a teenage setting, giving them more of a backstory. De la Cruz’s (The Queen's Assassin, 2020, etc.) graphic-novel debut is dark and alluring. The characters do what they need to survive, creating suspense. Pitilli’s (Archie, 2019, etc.) vivid and captivating illustrations are the highlight of this graphic novel, and the darker palette adds to the ominous feel. Bruce’s mother was Chinese from Hong Kong, and his father’s ethnicity is not specified; Selina is Latinx, and there is diversity in secondary characters.

Fast-paced and entertaining. (Graphic fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4012-8624-8

Page Count: 208

Publisher: DC

Review Posted Online: Jan. 7, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Keenly observed and gorgeously illustrated—a triumph.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2014

  • Caldecott Honor Book

THIS ONE SUMMER

A summer of family drama, secrets and change in a small beach town.

Rose’s family has always vacationed in Awago Beach. It’s “a place where beer grows on trees and everyone can sleep in until eleven,” but this year’s getaway is proving less idyllic than those of the past. Rose’s parents argue constantly, and she is painfully aware of her mother’s unhappiness. Though her friendship with Windy, a younger girl, remains strong, Rose is increasingly curious about the town’s older teens, especially Dunc, a clerk at the general store. Jillian and Mariko Tamaki (Skim, 2008) skillfully portray the emotional ups and downs of a girl on the cusp of adolescence in this eloquent graphic novel. Rose waxes nostalgic for past summers even as she rejects some old pursuits as too childlike and mimics the older teens. The realistic dialogue and sensitive first-person narration convey Rose’s naïveté and confusion, and Windy’s comfort in her own skin contrasts with Rose’s uncertainty. Both the text and art highlight small but meaningful incidents as readers gradually learn the truth behind the tension in Rose’s family. Printed in dark blue ink, Jillian Tamaki’s illustrations feature strong, fluid lines, and the detailed backgrounds and stunning two-page spreads throughout the work establish the mood and a compelling sense of place.

Keenly observed and gorgeously illustrated—a triumph. (Graphic novel. 13 & up)

Pub Date: May 6, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-59643-774-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: April 9, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

If you’re going to read one graphic novel this year, make it this one.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015

  • National Book Award Finalist

NIMONA

A not-so-bad villain fighting against a not-so-good hero teams up with a spunky shape-shifting heroine in a cleverly envisioned world.

Nimona, a plucky, punk-tressed girl, is determined to be the sidekick of the nefarious (in name only) Ballister Blackheart, the sworn enemy of the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics and their sporran-sporting champion, Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin. Blackheart, intrigued by Nimona's moxie and ability to shape-shift, takes her on, and the two decide they're going to take down the Institution. Nimona and Blackheart learn that the supposedly benevolent Institution has been hoarding a great quantity of a poisonous plant, jaderoot. As they delve deeper into its inner workings, they soon find that the lines that separate good and evil aren't simply black and white. Stevenson's world is fascinating: an anachronistic marvel that skillfully juxtaposes modern conventions against a medieval backdrop. Imbued with humor, her characters are wonderfully quirky and play with many of the archetypes found in comics. The relationships among her characters are complex and compelling: for an antihero, Blackheart dislikes killing and mayhem, while Goldenloin is not averse to cheating and trickery. Stevenson's portrayal of the relationship between good and evil is particularly ingenious, as is her attention to detail and adroit worldbuilding.

If you’re going to read one graphic novel this year, make it this one. (Graphic fantasy. 13 & up)

Pub Date: May 19, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-227823-4

Page Count: 272

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more