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An entertaining, heart-pounding adventure with a strong female lead.

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Determined to clear her father’s name, a high schooler interns at the local news station to find the truth in author Hamilton and artist Cooper’s YA graphic novel.

As this high-octane story opens,Cuban American high school student Sophie Cooper is barely hanging on by her fingernails—literally. She’s dangling from a helicopter, hundreds of feet off the ground, lamenting the bizarre series of events that brought her there. Five days before, Sophie began an internship at WMIA 7, Miami’s least popular local news channel. She planned to use the studio’s dwindling resources to clear her father, a local banker currently under house arrest for fraud, embezzlement, and obstruction of justice. But before she can begin her investigation, the news team is alerted to the murder of Gianfranco Vescucci, a famous fashion designer. He was shot, but there’s no physical evidence of who committed the crime—not even bullets. Meanwhile, in the Everglades, local law enforcement is flummoxed by a series of single-car accidents with no sign of the drivers or what caused the crashes. Even with the help of her new mentor, WMIA 7’s washed-up anchor Hal Ritz, and her tech-savvy 9-year-old brother, Kit, Sophie will have an uphill battle trying to work out how everything’s connected. The plot is overly complicated, and although a tenuous thread holds all the disparate subplots together, it’s not enough to reach a truly satisfying ending. Still, the action is unrelenting in this fun series starter. Sophie is a smart, strong hero whose determination to save her family sometimes gets her into hot water, and it’s great fun watching her get out of wild situations. Although murder is referenced and punches are thrown, the action stays in the realm of PG-13 territory, with a minimum of bloodshed. The large, diverse supporting cast—which includes Sophie’s powerhouse attorney mother, and Sheriff Firewalker, who’s investigating the car accidents—is impressively fleshed out. Hamilton’s dialogue is sharp and perfectly balanced by Cooper’s vibrantly colorful illustrations, which are full of movement and frantic energy, reminiscent of an animated film.

An entertaining, heart-pounding adventure with a strong female lead.

Pub Date: April 30, 2024

ISBN: 978-1960578617

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Maverick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2024

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THE FAINT OF HEART

A fast-paced dip into the possibility of a world without human emotions.

A teenage girl refuses a medical procedure to remove her heart and her emotions.

June lives in a future in which a reclusive Scientist has pioneered a procedure to remove hearts, thus eliminating all “sadness, anxiety, and anger.” The downside is that it numbs pleasurable feelings, too. Most people around June have had the procedure done; for young people, in part because doing so helps them become more focused and successful. Before long, June is the only one among her peers who still has her heart. When her parents decide it’s time for her to have the procedure so she can become more focused in school, June hatches a plan to pretend to go through with it. She also investigates a way to restore her beloved sister’s heart, joining forces with Max, a classmate who’s also researching the Scientist because he has started to feel again despite having had his heart removed. The pair’s journey is somewhat rushed and improbable, as is the resolution they achieve. However, the story’s message feels relevant and relatable to teens, and the artwork effectively sets the scene, with bursts of color popping throughout an otherwise black-and-white landscape, reflecting the monochromatic, heartless reality of June’s world. There are no ethnic or cultural markers in the text; June has paper-white skin and dark hair, and Max has dark skin and curly black hair.

A fast-paced dip into the possibility of a world without human emotions. (Graphic speculative fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: June 13, 2023

ISBN: 9780063116214

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2023

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THE ODYSSEY

Hinds adds another magnificent adaptation to his oeuvre (King Lear, 2009, etc.) with this stunning graphic retelling of Homer’s epic. Following Odysseus’s journey to return home to his beloved wife, Penelope, readers are transported into a world that easily combines the realistic and the fantastic. Gods mingle with the mortals, and not heeding their warnings could lead to quick danger; being mere men, Odysseus and his crew often make hasty errors in judgment and must face challenging consequences. Lush watercolors move with fluid lines throughout this reimagining. The artist’s use of color is especially striking: His battle scenes are ample, bloodily scarlet affairs, and Polyphemus’s cave is a stifling orange; he depicts the underworld as a colorless, mirthless void, domestic spaces in warm tans, the all-encircling sea in a light Mediterranean blue and some of the far-away islands in almost tangibly growing greens. Don’t confuse this hefty, respectful adaptation with some of the other recent ones; this one holds nothing back and is proudly, grittily realistic rather than cheerfully cartoonish. Big, bold, beautiful. (notes) (Graphic classic. YA)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7636-4266-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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