A window into a uniquely magnificent and terrifying life.

BEAUTY MARK

A VERSE NOVEL OF MARILYN MONROE

A poetic tribute to the life of Norma Jeane Mortenson, better known as the film star Marilyn Monroe.

Weatherford shows readers how the young Norma Jeane fashioned the construct of Marilyn Monroe out of a desire to be seen, known, and loved. Her adopted Aunt Grace’s vision gave Norma Jeane an escape from poverty and abandonment through the manipulation of her body, and she eventually found the will to live—and even thrive—in front of the camera. Though readers feel Norma Jeane’s pain and desperation, Weatherford also conveys her sense of power: Despite being dyslexic, she acquired an extensive personal library that revealed her search for knowledge. Ultimately, however, Norma Jeane was not able to escape “Marilyn Monroe,” a version of herself that became a prison. This is a meditation on a woman trying desperately to escape the personas constructed for her by her family, the foster-care system, the movie industry, and her fans. In a series of spare and precise first-person poems narrated by Norma Jeane, Weatherford captures her iconic contradictions and, by doing so, reveals traumas, professional successes, and moments of authentic joy. This searing, aching love poem to a widely known but often misunderstood icon will speak even to young readers who may not be familiar with her films.

A window into a uniquely magnificent and terrifying life. (photo credits) (Verse novel. 13-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0629-6

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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A beautiful meditation on the tender, fraught interior lives of Black boys.

THE BEAUTIFUL STRUGGLE (ADAPTED FOR YOUNG ADULTS)

The acclaimed author of Between the World and Me (2015) reflects on the family and community that shaped him in this adaptation of his 2008 adult memoir of the same name.

Growing up in Baltimore in the ’80s, Coates was a dreamer, all “cupcakes and comic books at the core.” He was also heavily influenced by “the New York noise” of mid-to-late-1980s hip-hop. Not surprisingly then, his prose takes on an infectious hip-hop poetic–meets–medieval folklore aesthetic, as in this description of his neighborhood’s crew: “Walbrook Junction ran everything, until they met North and Pulaski, who, craven and honorless, would punk you right in front of your girl.” But it is Coates’ father—a former Black Panther and Afrocentric publisher—who looms largest in his journey to manhood. In a community where their peers were fatherless, Coates and his six siblings viewed their father as flawed but with the “aura of a prophet.” He understood how Black boys could get caught in the “crosshairs of the world” and was determined to save his. Coates revisits his relationships with his father, his swaggering older brother, and his peers. The result will draw in young adult readers while retaining all of the heart of the original.

A beautiful meditation on the tender, fraught interior lives of Black boys. (maps, family tree) (Memoir. 14-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-984894-03-8

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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A truth-is-stranger-than-fiction story about a lost soul finding her way.

PASSPORT

Navigating high school is hard enough, let alone when your parents are CIA spies.

In this graphic memoir, U.S. citizen Glock shares the remarkable story of a childhood spent moving from country to country; abiding by strange, secretive rules; and the mystery of her parents’ occupations. By the time she reaches high school in an unspecified Central American nation—the sixth country she’s lived in—she’s begun to feel the weight of isolation and secrecy. After stealing a peek at a letter home to her parents from her older sister, who is attending college in the States, the pieces begin to fall into place. Normal teenage exploration and risk-taking, such as sneaking out to parties and flirtations with boys, feel different when you live and go to school behind locked gates and kidnapping is a real risk. This story, which was vetted by the CIA, follows the author from childhood to her eventual return to a home country that in many ways feels foreign. It considers the emotional impact of familial secrets and growing up between cultures. The soft illustrations in a palette of grays and peaches lend a nostalgic air, and Glock’s expressive faces speak volumes. This is a quiet, contemplative story that will leave readers yearning to know more and wondering what intriguing details were, of necessity, edited out. Glock and many classmates at her American school read as White; other characters are Central American locals.

A truth-is-stranger-than-fiction story about a lost soul finding her way. (Graphic memoir. 13-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 30, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-45898-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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