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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Many teen novels touch on similar themes, but few do it so memorably.

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ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES

Two struggling teens develop an unlikely relationship in a moving exploration of grief, suicide and young love.

Violet, a writer and member of the popular crowd, has withdrawn from her friends and from school activities since her sister died in a car accident nine months earlier. Finch, known to his classmates as "Theodore Freak," is famously impulsive and eccentric. Following their meeting in the school bell tower, Finch makes it his mission to re-engage Violet with the world, partially through a school project that sends them to offbeat Indiana landmarks and partially through simple persistence. (Violet and Finch live, fortunately for all involved, in the sort of romantic universe where his throwing rocks at her window in the middle of the night comes off more charming than stalker-esque.) The teens alternate narration chapter by chapter, each in a unique and well-realized voice. Finch's self-destructive streak and suicidal impulses are never far from the surface, and the chapters he narrates are interspersed with facts about suicide methods and quotations from Virginia Woolf and poet Cesare Pavese. When the story inevitably turns tragic, a cast of carefully drawn side characters brings to life both the pain of loss and the possibility of moving forward, though some notes of hope are more believable than others.

Many teen novels touch on similar themes, but few do it so memorably. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-75588-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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Even so, this remains Macbeth, arguably the Bard of Avon’s most durable and multilayered tragedy, and overall, this enhanced...

MACBETH

From the Wordplay Shakespeare series

A pairing of the text of the Scottish Play with a filmed performance, designed with the Shakespeare novice in mind.

The left side of the screen of this enhanced e-book contains a full version of Macbeth, while the right side includes a performance of the dialogue shown (approximately 20 lines’ worth per page). This granular focus allows newcomers to experience the nuances of the play, which is rich in irony, hidden intentions and sudden shifts in emotional temperature. The set and costuming are deliberately simple: The background is white, and Macbeth’s “armor” is a leather jacket. But nobody’s dumbing down their performances. Francesca Faridany is particularly good as a tightly coiled Lady Macbeth; Raphael Nash-Thompson gives his roles as the drunken porter and a witch a garrulousness that carries an entertainingly sinister edge. The presentation is not without its hiccups. Matching the video on the right with the text on the left means routinely cutting off dramatic moments; at one point, users have to swipe to see and read the second half of a scene’s closing couplet—presumably an easy fix. A “tap to translate” button on each page puts the text into plain English, but the pop-up text covers up Shakespeare’s original, denying any attempts at comparison; moreover, the translation mainly redefines more obscure words, suggesting that smaller pop-ups for individual terms might be more meaningful.

Even so, this remains Macbeth, arguably the Bard of Avon’s most durable and multilayered tragedy, and overall, this enhanced e-book makes the play appealing and graspable to students . (Enhanced e-book. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: The New Book Press LLC

Review Posted Online: Nov. 7, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

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