A melancholic but multicolored apocalyptic tale told with originality.

EVER AFTER

Seeking a friend and forgiveness at the end of the world.

It’s been two years since the zombielike outbreak started, but life in the walled city of Weimar, Germany, is relatively safe. The hospital warden dotes on once-blond Vivi, even obtaining pink hair dye for her, but nevertheless sends her to the barricade to help fend off the hungry hordes. After a bite puts a sudden end to a fleeting new friendship, Vivi ends up on the run with irritated (and now infected) fellow fighter Eva. Caught in the wilderness beyond the walls, auburn-haired Eva repeatedly and reluctantly saves the hapless Vivi. Opposites in lethality, both are haunted by the dead—Vivi by those she couldn’t save and Eva by those she’s killed. The palette is vivid and warm, an unusually cheerful choice for a typically bleak subject, with hints of a manga influence. Although the undead—here, blank-eyed biters, some sprouting vines and tendrils—follow the usual zombie behaviors, the tale deviates from some standard tropes, beginning in media res, with characters aware of the infection but not all-knowing, and throwing a curveball of a conclusion. Offering minimal history and concrete context, Vieweg offers an art-house take on a normally gory and typically action-packed subject and focuses on the now, rather than the how, of the apocalypse. Main human characters are white.

A melancholic but multicolored apocalyptic tale told with originality. (Graphic horror. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5415-8392-4

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Graphic Universe

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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A triumphant queer coming-of-age story that will make your heart ache and soar.

LAURA DEAN KEEPS BREAKING UP WITH ME

A 17-year-old struggles to navigate friendship and finding herself while navigating a toxic relationship.

Biracial (East Asian and white) high schooler Freddy is in love with white Laura Dean. She can’t help it—Laura oozes cool. But while Freddy’s friends are always supportive of her, they can’t understand why she stays with Laura. Laura cheats on Freddy, gaslights and emotionally manipulates her, and fetishizes her. After Laura breaks up with her for a third time, Freddy writes to an advice columnist and, at the recommendation of her best friend Doodle, (reluctantly) sees a psychic who advises her that in order to break out of the cycle of her “non-monogamous swing-your-partner wormhole,” Freddy needs to do the breaking up herself. As she struggles to fall out of love and figure out how to “break up with someone who’s broken up with me,” Freddy slowly begins to be drawn back into Laura’s orbit, challenging her relationships with her friends as she searches for happiness. Tamaki (Supergirl, 2018, etc.) explores the nuances of both romantic and platonic relationships with raw tenderness and honesty. Valero-O’Connell’s (Lumberjanes: Bonus Tracks, 2018, etc.) art is realistic and expressive, bringing the characters to life through dynamic grayscale illustrations featuring highlights of millennial pink. Freddy and her friends live in Berkeley, California, and have a diversity of body shapes, gender expressions, sexualities, and skin tones.

A triumphant queer coming-of-age story that will make your heart ache and soar. (Graphic novel. 14-adult)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62672-259-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: March 7, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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A romantic romp through the supernatural.

BLACKWATER

Blackwater, Maine, isn’t an ordinary town, but Eli Hirsch and Tony Price are mostly ordinary boys.

Eli, a trans Jewish boy, is isolated by an autoimmune disease, an overbearing mother, and a standoffish attitude. Popular track star Tony, who is cued as Puerto Rican, fights with his distant father and is watching his childhood best friend turn into a bully. But mysterious things are afoot: Tony is bitten by a werewolf, and Eli is being followed by a ghost. Trying to unravel the werewolf curse, Tony, Eli, and Marcia, Tony’s levelheaded goth friend who reads as Black, investigate, coming across intriguing complications and haunting dangers. The horror elements are playful, spooky, but not too frightening, providing a backdrop that adds to the developing relationship between the boys. Despite some animosity, they accept one another exactly as they are, with no pretenses, as their friendship turns into a mutual crush. There’s a kind earnestness to their connection, particularly Tony’s easygoing support toward Eli’s chronic illness. An exciting element lies in the artwork: The creators illustrate alternate chapters, with Arroyo’s vivid and dynamic lines and more cartoonish style serving action scenes well and Graham’s precise approach highlighting more heartfelt, character-driven moments. The styles blend together seamlessly to make a stronger whole. However, the story, while breezy and enjoyable, feels incomplete, missing details that would make characters and their emotional arcs more complex.

A romantic romp through the supernatural. (Graphic horror. 14-18)

Pub Date: July 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-30402-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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