Fans of the series will be thrilled to dive back into this world.

THE CRUMRIN CHRONICLES

THE CHARMED & THE CURSED

From the Courtney Crumrin series , Vol. 1

Courtney Crumrin is back in a new vampire-battling adventure.

Long ago, human brothers found their way to the Twilight Kingdom. One brother was allowed to leave, but the other, Wilberforce, had to stay. Returning to the human world 100 years later, Will is reincarnated as Courtney Crumrin’s little brother even though he is, in fact, her great-grandfather. Will struggles to fit in at school, so sorcerer’s apprentice Courtney makes him a magical necklace that makes him popular. But all magic has a price, and it’s never a price you want to pay. Can Will and his best friend, Tucker, save Courtney from a vampire, or will she be lost forever? This classic good-versus-evil story with an edgy, black-humor feel is visually compelling; the color palette and linework together effectively convey emotions. Short episodes move the story along quickly, although at times the transitions between narrative perspectives are disorienting. This volume draws heavily on background information from prior Courtney Crumrin books; newbies to this fandom may wish for more details. The magic used by Courtney, the villainous vampire, and creatures from the Twilight Kingdom is never clearly defined. Character development is also rather uneven; most cast members have just a handful of personality traits. Most characters read as White.

Fans of the series will be thrilled to dive back into this world. (Graphic fantasy. 12-16)

Pub Date: June 22, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-62010-930-4

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Oni Press

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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A timely and well-paced story of personal discovery.

DISPLACEMENT

Time travel brings a girl closer to someone she’s never known.

Sixteen-year-old Kiku, who is Japanese and white, only knows bits and pieces of her family history. While on a trip with her mother to San Francisco from their Seattle home, they search for her grandmother’s childhood home. While waiting for her mother, who goes inside to explore the mall now standing there, a mysterious fog envelops Kiku and displaces her to a theater in the past where a girl is playing the violin. The gifted musician is Ernestina Teranishi, who Kiku later confirms is her late grandmother. To Kiku’s dismay, the fog continues to transport her, eventually dropping her down next door to Ernestina’s family in a World War II Japanese American internment camp. The clean illustrations in soothing browns and blues convey the characters’ intense emotions. Hughes takes inspiration from her own family’s story, deftly balancing complicated national history with explorations of cultural dislocation and biracial identity. As Kiku processes her experiences, Hughes draws parallels to President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban and the incarceration of migrant children. The emotional connection between Kiku and her grandmother is underdeveloped; despite their being neighbors, Ernestina appears briefly and feels elusive to both Kiku and readers up to the very end. Despite some loose ends, readers will gain insights to the Japanese American incarceration and feel called to activism.

A timely and well-paced story of personal discovery. (photographs, author’s note, glossary, further reading) (Graphic historical fantasy. 12-16)

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-19353-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020

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Equal parts entertaining and thought-provoking.

I AM NOT STARFIRE

Sixteen-year-old Mandy considers herself the anti-Starfire: Unlike her scantily clad superhero mother, she doesn’t have superpowers, can’t fly, and doesn’t even own a bathing suit.

Mandy dyes her hair and dresses in all black to further call out how different they are. Mandy’s best friend, Lincoln, whose parents were born in Vietnam, insightfully summarizes this rift as being down to an intergenerational divide that occurs whether parents and children come from different countries or different planets. Mandy tries to figure out what kind of future she wants for herself as she struggles with teenage insecurities and bullying, her relationship with her mom, and her budding friendship (or is it something more?) with her new class project partner, Claire. Yoshitani’s vibrant and colorful stylized illustrations beautifully meld the various iterations of Starfire and the Titans with the live-action versions of those characters. Together with Tamaki’s punchy writing, this coming-of-age story of identity, family, friendship, and saving the world is skillfully brought to life in a quick but nuanced read. These layers are most strongly displayed as the story draws parallels between cultural differences between the generations as evidenced in how the characters address bullying, body positivity, fatphobia, fetishization and sexualization, and feminism. This title addresses many important concepts briefly, but well, with great pacing, bold art, and concise and snappy dialogue. The cast is broadly diverse in both primary and secondary characters.

Equal parts entertaining and thought-provoking. (Graphic fantasy. 14-16)

Pub Date: July 27, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77950-126-4

Page Count: 184

Publisher: DC Comics

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2021

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