THE TIES THAT BIND

From the Riverdale series

A suspenseful stand-alone graphic novel tie-in to the popular CW franchise.

Set in the dark, contemporary world of television’s Riverdale, Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead all face separate horrors on one fateful night as a sinister secret society stalks them. As Jughead and Archie both find themselves locked in at their respective schools, Betty and her sister, Polly, are terrorized at a run-down motel, and Veronica (along with pal Cheryl) is pursued through an eerie, seemingly deserted mall. Readers realize that a creepy conglomerate is responsible. Using a symbol of two interlocking infinity signs as their secret mark, a nefarious group calling themselves Ivanovniki targets and toys with the Riverdale citizens, but their motives are tenuous at best (and true-to-brand, answers are uncovered while the foursome is packed into a booth at Pop’s Chock Lit Shoppe). While the trademark thrills and chills from the show are present here, too many questions are left unanswered. The lack of exposition and overreliance on plot-driven action may be alienating for those new to or unfamiliar with the series. Despite this, the full-color, cinematically styled illustrations resonate; those who know the characters will find them instantly recognizable. Riverdale aficionados will certainly relish more time with the beloved cast and will forgive the narrative gaffes. Archie, Betty, and Jughead read as White; Veronica has brown skin.

Best for diehard fans. (Graphic fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64576-958-3

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Archie Blue Ribbon

Review Posted Online: Feb. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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Fans of empowering feminist fairy-tale retellings will love this.

THE GRIMROSE GIRLS

From the Grimrose Girls series , Vol. 1

Four reimagined fairy-tale heroines must confront their inner demons to break a curse.

Ella, Yuki, and Rory attend the prestigious Grimrose Académie for Elite Students in the Swiss Alps. They are currently grieving the death of one of their best friends, and while Ari’s death by drowning has been deemed either an accident or suicide, her closest friends have their doubts. When they find an old book of fairy tales hidden in Ari’s things, full of strange annotations in her handwriting, the girls start working—along with new student Nani—to investigate Ari’s suspicious death. As they put together the pieces and discover other deaths that happened at Grimrose, they start to wonder if there was magic involved in Ari’s death—magic that may also be at the core of their very lives, cursing them to unhappy endings. Grief, identity, and friendship intersect in this enthralling mystery with dark magical undertones that ingeniously plays with fairy-tale tropes to tell a feminist story about empowerment and grappling with how to break away from the confines of societal expectations of girls. Reminiscent of the works of Anna-Marie McLemore and Elana K. Arnold, this book ends with the promise of more to come. The main cast is queer and features diversity in disability and mental health. Rory and Ella default to White; Yuki’s name cues her as Japanese, and Nani is Black and Native Hawaiian.

Fans of empowering feminist fairy-tale retellings will love this. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-72822-887-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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A must-read with a conclusion that will leave readers craving more.

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THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS

A monster spreads madness through the streets of Shanghai.

It is the autumn of 1926, and Shanghai is poised at the brink of transformation. Foreign powers have carved out portions of the city for themselves; what remains is divided between two feuding gangs, the Chinese Scarlet Gang and the Russian White Flowers. Eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai has returned home from New York City, wreathed in a reputation for ruthlessness and ready to step into her role as heir to the Scarlet Gang. Four years ago, a betrayal by the White Flowers heir, Roma Montagov, a young man of 19, led to the deaths of countless Scarlets, and Juliette is determined to avenge her gang. But when a lethal contagion strikes the city, targeting Scarlets and White Flowers alike, Juliette and Roma grudgingly agree to cooperate on an investigation in order to save their city. The slow-burning romance in this book takes a back seat to the gripping mystery grounded in immersive historical detail. Allusions to Romeo and Juliet are evident in names and specific scenes, but familiar themes of family, loyalty, and identity bear new significance in Gong’s inventive adaptation. Language is a tool wielded deftly by the multilingual characters, who switch easily among English, French, Shanghainese, Russian, and more, with Mandarin as the primary dialect for Chinese phrases. A strong supporting cast that includes a trans girl completes this striking debut.

A must-read with a conclusion that will leave readers craving more. (Historical fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-5769-0

Page Count: 464

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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