This combination of page-ripping plot and insight into the creative process is as rare and luminous as the color Strauss...

COLOR SONG

A DARING TALE OF INTRIGUE AND ARTISTIC PASSION IN GLORIOUS 15TH-CENTURY VENICE

From the Passion Blue series , Vol. 2

A young novice escapes the confines of the convent to risk it all for her art.

Set on the cusp of the 16th century, Strauss’ sequel to Passion Blue (2012) finds her artistically gifted heroine, Giulia, still trapped behind Santa Marta’s convent walls and fearing for her future there. As her mentor succumbs to disease, she entrusts Giulia alone with her secret recipe for “Passion blue,” the dazzling ultramarine color that has brought the Santa Marta workshop fame beyond Padua—and for which Giulia had been held captive by her mentor’s father, a famous artist willing to stop at nothing to acquire it. Giulia flees Padua disguised as a boy, hoping to apprentice in the workshop of a Venetian artist, but no sooner is she out of Padua then she is robbed by vagrants and terribly beaten. A kindly noblewoman returning to Venice with her son takes the disguised Giulia under her protection, leading to thrilling adventures as Giulia attempts to develop her artistry without revealing her true identity. Here, Strauss delves deeper into the Renaissance studio, exploring the intricacies of paint-making and production while cleverly stressing themes of artistic integrity and the importance of pursuing one’s passion even in the face of seemingly insurmountable hurdles like conventional sex roles of the period.

This combination of page-ripping plot and insight into the creative process is as rare and luminous as the color Strauss imagines. (Historical fantasy. 11 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4778-7

Page Count: 338

Publisher: Skyscape

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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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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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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