Readers will root for this STEM-focused girl hero.

THE HERO OF NUMBANI

From the Overwatch series , Vol. 1

Young roboticist Efi dreams of creating a better life for her community, where omnics and humans live peacefully, in this novel inspired by the video game “Overwatch.”

Efi spends so many hours in her workshop ironing out bugs in her robots that her mother worries she isn’t connecting enough with best friends Naade and Hassana. But her work pays off when Efi wins the Genius Grant given out by her idol, Gabrielle Adawe, who founded both the organization Overwatch and the African city of Numbani. On the way to Rio de Janeiro to celebrate, Doomfist, who should be in prison, attacks the airport. The destruction left in Doomfist’s wake spurs Efi to put her grant money toward developing Orisa, a compassionate robot that can protect the city she loves. The immense pressure of this project strains the three friends’ relationship, forcing Efi to go it alone. While Efi teaches Orisa to integrate into Numbani, Orisa teaches her about responsibility and friendship—and as Doomfist provokes discord between omnics and humans, Efi, Naade, and Hassana must come together to save Numbani. Drayden (Escaping Exodus, 2019, etc.) gives Efi a clear voice in this engrossing read with smooth pacing and action-packed scenes. The main storyline is tied up enough to keep readers satisfied but interested in the sequel; readers don’t need to be familiar with the video game to understand the book. All characters are black.

Readers will root for this STEM-focused girl hero. (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-57597-2

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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A trilogy opener both rich and strange, if heavy at the front end.

MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN

From the Peculiar Children series , Vol. 1

Riggs spins a gothic tale of strangely gifted children and the monsters that pursue them from a set of eerie, old trick photographs.

The brutal murder of his grandfather and a glimpse of a man with a mouth full of tentacles prompts months of nightmares and psychotherapy for 15-year-old Jacob, followed by a visit to a remote Welsh island where, his grandfather had always claimed, there lived children who could fly, lift boulders and display like weird abilities. The stories turn out to be true—but Jacob discovers that he has unwittingly exposed the sheltered “peculiar spirits” (of which he turns out to be one) and their werefalcon protector to a murderous hollowgast and its shape-changing servant wight. The interspersed photographs—gathered at flea markets and from collectors—nearly all seem to have been created in the late 19th or early 20th centuries and generally feature stone-faced figures, mostly children, in inscrutable costumes and situations. They are seen floating in the air, posing with a disreputable-looking Santa, covered in bees, dressed in rags and kneeling on a bomb, among other surreal images. Though Jacob’s overdeveloped back story gives the tale a slow start, the pictures add an eldritch element from the early going, and along with creepy bad guys, the author tucks in suspenseful chases and splashes of gore as he goes. He also whirls a major storm, flying bullets and a time loop into a wild climax that leaves Jacob poised for the sequel.

A trilogy opener both rich and strange, if heavy at the front end. (Horror/fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: June 7, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-59474-476-1

Page Count: 234

Publisher: Quirk Books

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2014

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A charming adaptation.

ANNE OF GREEN GABLES

From the Manga Classics series

A miscommunication leaves Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert responsible for a plucky, effusive orphan girl instead of the boy they’d expected to help maintain their farm.

Retold in traditional manga format, with right-to-left panel orientation and detailed black-and-white linework, this adaptation is delightfully faithful to the source text. Larger panels establish the idyllic country landscape while subtle text boxes identify the setting—Prince Edward Island, Canada, in the 1870s. The book follows redheaded Anne Shirley from her arrival at Green Gables at 11 to her achievement of a college scholarship. In the intervening years, Anne finds stability, friendship, personal growth, and ambition in Avonlea and in the strict but well-intentioned Cuthbert siblings’ household. The familiar story is enhanced by the exciting new format and lush illustrations. A variety of panel layouts provides visual freshness, maintaining reader interest. Backmatter includes the floor plan of the Green Gables house, as well as interior and exterior views, and notes about research on the actual location. A description of the process of adapting the novel to this visual format indicates the care that was taken to highlight particular elements of the story as well as to remain faithful to the smallest details. Readers who find the original text challenging will welcome this as an aid to comprehension and Anne’s existing fans will savor a fresh perspective on their beloved story. All characters appear to be White.

A charming adaptation. (Graphic fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-947808-18-8

Page Count: 308

Publisher: Manga Classics

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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