Final Draft hits every mark: A must-read

FINAL DRAFT

Eighteen-year-old high school senior Laila Piedra is determined to write the best sci-fi story ever.

Her kind, gentle, albeit anemic, white creative writing teacher, Mr. Madison, offers her constant positive feedback after class. Her friends African-American Leo Major, Korean-American Hannah Park, and Puerto Rican Felix Martinez meet regularly to watch The Rest, a long-running sci-fi show. At home, her Ecuadorian dad, French-Canadian mom, and annoying 13-year-old sister, Camille, rarely get in the way. Laila sees her senior year going smoothly until a tragic accident places Mr. Madison in the hospital and the enigmatic Pulitzer Prize–winning Ukrainian author Nadiya Nazarenko becomes the substitute. Suddenly, Laila’s writing is not good enough to earn a passing grade. When Nazarenko suggests that Laila live a little, she realizes how much time she spends inhabiting worlds other than her own. As Laila awkwardly attempts to gain new experiences, she learns that the world is not a draft that can be revised again and again. She stumbles, makes mistakes, and crashes a few times along the way to finding out who she is and who will accept her. This is a gorgeous novel with diverse characters of different ethnicities and sexualities that are true to life in their messiness and earnest missteps. Redgate (Noteworthy, 2016, etc.) treats each character with care, gently guiding them through uncomfortable situations and tender, heartfelt moments.

Final Draft hits every mark: A must-read . (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2872-3

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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Grimly plainly worked hard, but, as the title indicates, the result serves his own artistic vision more than Mary Shelley’s.

GRIS GRIMLY'S FRANKENSTEIN

A slightly abridged graphic version of the classic that will drive off all but the artist’s most inveterate fans.

Admirers of the original should be warned away by veteran horror artist Bernie Wrightson’s introductory comments about Grimly’s “wonderfully sly stylization” and the “twinkle” in his artistic eye. Most general readers will founder on the ensuing floods of tiny faux handwritten script that fill the opening 10 pages of stage-setting correspondence (other lengthy letters throughout are presented in similarly hard-to-read typefaces). The few who reach Victor Frankenstein’s narrative will find it—lightly pruned and, in places, translated into sequences of largely wordless panels—in blocks of varied length interspersed amid sheaves of cramped illustrations with, overall, a sickly, greenish-yellow cast. The latter feature spidery, often skeletal figures that barrel over rough landscapes in rococo, steampunk-style vehicles when not assuming melodramatic poses. Though the rarely seen monster is a properly hard-to-resolve jumble of massive rage and lank hair, Dr. Frankenstein looks like a decayed Lyle Lovett with high cheekbones and an errant, outsized quiff. His doomed bride, Elizabeth, sports a white lock à la Elsa Lanchester, and decorative grotesqueries range from arrangements of bones and skull-faced flowers to bunnies and clownish caricatures.

Grimly plainly worked hard, but, as the title indicates, the result serves his own artistic vision more than Mary Shelley’s. (Graphic classic. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-186297-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in.

THE CRUEL PRINCE

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 1

Black is back with another dark tale of Faerie, this one set in Faerie and launching a new trilogy.

Jude—broken, rebuilt, fueled by anger and a sense of powerlessness—has never recovered from watching her adoptive Faerie father murder her parents. Human Jude (whose brown hair curls and whose skin color is never described) both hates and loves Madoc, whose murderous nature is true to his Faerie self and who in his way loves her. Brought up among the Gentry, Jude has never felt at ease, but after a decade, Faerie has become her home despite the constant peril. Black’s latest looks at nature and nurture and spins a tale of court intrigue, bloodshed, and a truly messed-up relationship that might be the saving of Jude and the titular prince, who, like Jude, has been shaped by the cruelties of others. Fierce and observant Jude is utterly unaware of the currents that swirl around her. She fights, plots, even murders enemies, but she must also navigate her relationship with her complex family (human, Faerie, and mixed). This is a heady blend of Faerie lore, high fantasy, and high school drama, dripping with description that brings the dangerous but tempting world of Faerie to life.

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-31027-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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