Beautiful and thought-provoking; questions unanswered will linger in readers' minds.

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ICHIRO

A young American teen, son of a Japanese immigrant and an American soldier killed in combat, goes to Japan with his mother for an extended visit and begins to grapple with sophisticated cultural complexities.

The graphic novel opens with a familiar Japanese legend about a shape-changing tanuki trickster spirit. The story cuts to New York City, where Ichiro and his mother prepare for their trip. Ichiro has been very close to his American grandfather, who has schooled him in the worst kinds of American jingoism. First his mother, then his Japanese grandfather began to share the legends and history of Japan, both positive and negative, with Ichiro. A nighttime pursuit of a persimmon-thieving tanuki turns into a surreal odyssey that takes Ichiro deep into the mythic realm of Japanese folklore. Inzana’s graphic style is, at first glance, far more Western than Japanese-influenced; there is no look of manga in his figures. But his compositions and his brushwork, particularly exquisite transitional spreads between episodes, echo classical Japanese art, and his depiction of the Japanese Otherworld will seem familiar to anyone who has seen a Miyazaki film. Ichiro's realistic and mythic journeys combine to give both him and readers a better understanding of the importance of both understanding and overcoming history.

Beautiful and thought-provoking; questions unanswered will linger in readers' minds. (Graphic novel. 12 & up)

Pub Date: March 20, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-547-25269-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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Magic, tennis action, and family secrets are woven into an original coming-of-age tale.

LEGACY AND THE QUEEN

A 12-year-old girl living in a kingdom ruled by a mysterious queen dreams of attaining her sport’s highest prize.

Legacy Petrin lives and works in the financially strapped orphanage in the provinces run by her father and rises early every day to practice tennis with her old racket. After her best friend, Van, excitedly tells her about a scholarship competition for a spot at an esteemed academy and the opportunity to try out for the national championships, Legacy runs away to the city to compete. After winning, she learns there is still much she doesn’t know: The players are not just proficient in tennis, but also have magical skills that they use to their advantage. Legacy befriends Pippa, a knowledgeable girl from an elite tennis family, and acquires a builder, or coach, Javi. With Pippa and Javi at her side, Legacy makes her way through the competition, despite sabotage attempts, learning secrets about her own family along the way. Legacy is a strong character, and the secondary characters also have interesting backstories. The storyline is reminiscent of other dystopian stories, but centering tennis—with lively descriptions of matches that give a strong sense of the sport—is an unusual touch. Most characters are white, although Javi is brown-skinned, and some other characters of color are mentioned.

Magic, tennis action, and family secrets are woven into an original coming-of-age tale. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-949520-03-3

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Granity Studios

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Second installments in trilogies sometimes slump—here’s hoping the third book is a return to the vibrancy of the...

CHILDREN OF VIRTUE AND VENGEANCE

From the Legacy of Orisha series , Vol. 2

In this follow-up to Children of Blood and Bone (2018), Zélie and company are back, and the future of Orïsha hangs in the balance.

Zélie, now a maji Reaper, has achieved her goal and brought magic back to Orïsha, but at great cost. Grief and loss are strong themes throughout the book, compounded by guilt for Zélie, who feels responsible for her father’s death. Zélie and her older brother, Tzain, try to help Princess Amari ascend the throne, believing her family dead—but Queen Nehanda, Amari’s mother, is very much alive and more formidable than they could imagine. The trio join the Iyika, a band of rebel maji working to protect their persecuted people from threats new and old. Though the characters’ trauma reads as real and understandable, their decisions don’t always feel sensible or logical, often stemming from a lack of communication or forethought, which may leave readers frustrated. Though still commendable for its detailed worldbuilding, with an ending compelling enough to keep fans interested in the next installment, much of the book feels like navigating minefields of characters’ ill-advised decisions. All characters are black except for a secondary character with silky black hair, tan skin, and gray eyes “like teardrops.”

Second installments in trilogies sometimes slump—here’s hoping the third book is a return to the vibrancy of the first. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-17099-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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