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Woven with magic.

A pair of twins seeks refuge—and revenge on the cousin to usurp his power.

On the day of the solstice, cisgender boy Hawke and his twin, Grayce, a transgender girl, flee for their lives when their cousin Mirelle stages a coup, murdering both their grandfather, lord of House Sunderlay, and their cousin Reyden, their grandfather’s rightful heir. They disguise themselves as initiates of the Communion of Blue, an order of women who spin the threads that bind the world. Grayce discovers belonging, purpose, and power with the Communion, but Hawke grows restless, eager for the chance to fight for justice. In her middle-grade debut, Smith (Crossplay, 2018) steeps Grayce and Hawke’s world in immersive color. The Communion’s bright blue pops, drawing the eye whenever it appears and illustrating the magical energy that entices the twins to the Communion’s mysterious and mystical activities. Dynamic panel layouts, particularly during high action sequences, give the story momentum and help communicate the tone. Characters’ facial expressions and body language capture the intense emotional shifts, from Grayce’s excitement at learning to the stabbing sorrow of sudden loss. Grayce and Hawke have beige skin and black hair, and the supporting cast includes a diversity of skin tones. Grayce’s coming-out subplot is affirming; she is met with love and support by old family and new. While the story can stand alone, the world is built with a complexity that invites further exploration and adventures.

Woven with magic. (map) (Graphic fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-48598-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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From award winner Telgemeier (Smile, 2010), a pitch-perfect graphic novel portrayal of a middle school musical, adroitly capturing the drama both on and offstage.

Seventh-grader Callie Marin is over-the-moon to be on stage crew again this year for Eucalyptus Middle School’s production of Moon over Mississippi. Callie's just getting over popular baseball jock and eighth-grader Greg, who crushed her when he left Callie to return to his girlfriend, Bonnie, the stuck-up star of the play. Callie's healing heart is quickly captured by Justin and Jesse Mendocino, the two very cute twins who are working on the play with her. Equally determined to make the best sets possible with a shoestring budget and to get one of the Mendocino boys to notice her, the immensely likable Callie will find this to be an extremely drama-filled experience indeed. The palpably engaging and whip-smart characterization ensures that the charisma and camaraderie run high among those working on the production. When Greg snubs Callie in the halls and misses her reference to Guys and Dolls, one of her friends assuredly tells her, "Don't worry, Cal. We’re the cool kids….He's the dork." With the clear, stylish art, the strongly appealing characters and just the right pinch of drama, this book will undoubtedly make readers stand up and cheer.

Brava!  (Graphic fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-32698-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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From the Eagle Rock series , Vol. 1

A coming-of-age story as tender and sweet as a summer evening breeze

Summer adventures begin when Bina accidentally locks herself out of her house in Larson’s newest middle-grade graphic novel.

The summer before eighth grade is a season of self-discovery for many 13-year-olds, including Bina, when her best friend heads off to soccer camp and leaves her alone to navigate a SoCal summer. Without athletic Austin around to steer the ship, Bina must pursue her own passions, such as discovering new bands and rocking out on her electric guitar. Unexpected friendships bloom, and new members are welcomed into her family. Though her sphere grows over the summer, friendship with Austin is strained when he returns, and Bina must learn to embrace the proverb to make new friends but keep the old. As her mother wisely observes, “you’re more you every day,” and by the end of summer Bina is more comfortable in her own skin and ready to rock eighth grade. Larson’s panels are superb at revealing emotional conflict, subtext, and humor within the deceptively simple third-person limited plot, allowing characters to grow and develop emotionally over only a few spreads. She also does a laudable job of depicting a diverse community for Bina to call home. Though Bina’s ethnicity is never overtly identified, her racial ambiguity lends greater universality to her story. (In the two-toned apricot, black, and white panels, Bina and her mother have the same black hair and gold skin, while her dad is white, as is Austin.)

A coming-of-age story as tender and sweet as a summer evening breeze . (Graphic fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-374-30485-0

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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