A seamless integration of art and feeling.

ALONE IN SPACE

A COLLECTION

In this dreamlike collection of previously published material, cartoonist Walden presents a series of thoughtful tales about home, belonging, and powerful emotion.

Jumping easily from genre to genre, this volume features the self-contained stories of a chronically ill boy and his family in their mansion during a yearslong winter, two closeted girls negotiating first love, and a young woman’s experience of giving up her supernatural life in the sky for a relationship on Earth. The collection also includes a number of shorter pieces created during Walden’s young adult years. Exhibiting a style that references Studio Ghibli and Winsor McCay, Walden displays an encyclopedic knowledge of the genre that gives depth to the not-quite-our-reality in which her characters find themselves. Each story plays skillfully with ideas of space and atmosphere, and the most fully realized relationships throughout the collection are those between the protagonists and their often surreal and fantastic environments. The visual vocabulary provides wonder while reflecting widely relatable feelings about changing, growing up, and being in the world. Serving as a wonderful entry point for teens new to graphic novels, this collection is a gemlike encapsulation of coming-of-age narratives in gorgeous settings touched with magic. What it sometimes lacks in nuance it makes up for in beauty and immediacy. Readers will be drawn into Walden’s surreal, empathetic universe. Most characters read as White.

A seamless integration of art and feeling. (gallery) (Graphic fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: July 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-910395-58-5

Page Count: 324

Publisher: Avery Hill Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

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THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END

What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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WE WERE LIARS

A devastating tale of greed and secrets springs from the summer that tore Cady’s life apart.

Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives (an idea reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady’s reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story). But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady’s fairy-tale retellings are dark, as is the personal tragedy that has led to her examination of the skeletons in the Sinclair castle’s closets; its rent turns out to be extracted in personal sacrifices. Brilliantly, Lockhart resists simply crucifying the Sinclairs, which might make the family’s foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved. Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act. Their sincere hopes and foolish naïveté make the teens’ desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic.

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74126-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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