A patchwork conglomeration that does not quite hit its mark.


From the Scarlet Rose series , Vol. 1

Determined to avenge her father’s death, a young girl adopts a vigilante persona.

In a time of swords, full skirts, tricorn hats, and horse-drawn carriages, 18-year-old Maud lives in the quaint French village of Perigord with her beloved father, a blacksmith. When Maud’s father is viciously murdered one night, she vows to head to Paris for vindication and finds herself staying with her estranged, aristocratic grandfather, a man who thinks it best that she become ladylike and marry quickly. Tired of rigid social mores and inspired by a Robin Hood–esque masked man only known as the Fox, Maud decides to become the Scarlet Rose, a do-gooder working under the cloak of darkness (and clad in plunging bodice, very tight breeches, and thigh-high boots). Originally published over a decade ago in French, this quirky graphic import seems to rely on its heavily stylized, full-color, anime-inspired art to overcome narrative incoherence. Lyfoung’s plotting feels like a clunky pastiche of Robin Hood and The Scarlet Pimpernel set against a lavish, evidently all-white pre-revolutionary backdrop. The panels, while small and orderly, are quite busy and crowded, working in unfortunate opposition to the detailed nuance of the time period. Maud embodies a stark dichotomy, quickly shifting from an independent and smart female character to a ditzier one who falls in insta-love and becomes irritatingly clingy. It ends with an unsurprising cliffhanger, but demand for subsequent volumes may be low.

A patchwork conglomeration that does not quite hit its mark. (Graphic adventure. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62991-827-3

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Papercutz

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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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 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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An engrossing, humorous, and vitally important graphic novel that should be required reading in every middle school in...

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From the New Kid series , Vol. 1

Jordan Banks takes readers down the rabbit hole and into his mostly white prep school in this heartbreakingly accurate middle-grade tale of race, class, microaggressions, and the quest for self-identity.

He may be the new kid, but as an African-American boy from Washington Heights, that stigma entails so much more than getting lost on the way to homeroom. Riverdale Academy Day School, located at the opposite end of Manhattan, is a world away, and Jordan finds himself a stranger in a foreign land, where pink clothing is called salmon, white administrators mistake a veteran African-American teacher for the football coach, and white classmates ape African-American Vernacular English to make themselves sound cool. Jordan’s a gifted artist, and his drawings blend with the narrative to give readers a full sense of his two worlds and his methods of coping with existing in between. Craft skillfully employs the graphic-novel format to its full advantage, giving his readers a delightful and authentic cast of characters who, along with New York itself, pop off the page with vibrancy and nuance. Shrinking Jordan to ant-sized proportions upon his entering the school cafeteria, for instance, transforms the lunchroom into a grotesque Wonderland in which his lack of social standing becomes visually arresting and viscerally uncomfortable.

An engrossing, humorous, and vitally important graphic novel that should be required reading in every middle school in America. (Graphic fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-269120-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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