A story about gender that is sure to elicit controversy among its target audience.

KISSES FOR JET

A COMING-OF-GENDER STORY

It’s 1999, and Jet is exploring their identity.

As tweens, Nirvana fans Jet and Sasha meet and strike up a friendship. At 16, Dutch Jet is experiencing the confusion of puberty and coming to terms with their sexuality and evolving gender. With their parents in Brussels working on fixing the millennium bug, Jet is sent to a boardinghouse with other students from their international school. Bullied by fellow boarder Stef, Jet navigates friendship, a first kiss, and experimenting with their gender presentation in the lead-up to the new millennium, but they’re not without support, as both Sasha and new kid Ken have their back. Charming moments, such as Jet’s pasting together images of themself and Kurt Cobain to explore their gender, contrast with incidents such as Jet’s binding unsafely using a bandage. Given the emphasis on genitals by transphobic elements in society, the lack of context in two scenes in particular is troubling: one in which Jet attempts to urinate standing up, with panels showing close-up frontal images of their genitals, and two ambiguous lines of dialogue that may be intended to signal that Jet is intersex. The muted color palette of mostly blue with the odd splash of pink serves to represent Jet’s feelings about their gender. This work is a mixed bag that will provoke strongly different reactions in readers.

A story about gender that is sure to elicit controversy among its target audience. (Graphic fiction. 16-adult)

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-913123-03-1

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Nobrow Ltd.

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2022

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Sweet, honest, and filled with personality.

SHE GETS THE GIRL

Many begin college with hopes of personal reinvention, and Alex Blackwood and Molly Parker are no exception.

Apparently opposite in every way, both girls nevertheless arrive for their freshman year at the University of Pittsburgh with the same goal in mind: to fundamentally change the way others perceive them and get their dream girls. Easy-peasy. Molly, whose mom is a transracial adoptee from Korea and whose father is assumed White, was socially anxious in high school. She worries that her close friendship with her mother holds her back. Willowy, blond Alex, who is implied White, has never once found herself at a loss in a social situation, and yet her fairy-tale story of adolescent beauty and wit is tempered by having a single mom whose struggles with alcohol abuse meant shouldering responsibilities far beyond her years. Utilizing tried and true tropes, married couple Lippincott and Derrick cut right to the heart of the matter when it comes to the mysteries of romance. Queerness itself is never the motivator of the drama, and gratifyingly, both girls find in one another the means to explore and unpack complexities of life unrelated to their sexualities. Nothing is made simplistic—not Alex’s relationship to self-expression and conventional beauty standards, nor Molly’s experiences of culture and community in a world that has expectations of her based on her racial identity.

Sweet, honest, and filled with personality. (Romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: April 5, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-9379-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2022

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Using modern language, McDonald spins the well-known tale of the two young, unrequited lovers. Set against Nagar’s at-times...

ROMEO AND JULIET

From the Campfire Classics series

A bland, uninspired graphic adaptation of the Bard’s renowned love story.

Using modern language, McDonald spins the well-known tale of the two young, unrequited lovers. Set against Nagar’s at-times oddly psychedelic-tinged backgrounds of cool blues and purples, the mood is strange, and the overall ambiance of the story markedly absent. Appealing to what could only be a high-interest/low–reading level audience, McDonald falls short of the mark. He explains a scene in an open-air tavern with a footnote—“a place where people gather to drink”—but he declines to offer definitions for more difficult words, such as “dirges.” While the adaptation does follow the foundation of the play, the contemporary language offers nothing; cringeworthy lines include Benvolio saying to Romeo at the party where he first meets Juliet, “Let’s go. It’s best to leave now, while the party’s in full swing.” Nagar’s faces swirl between dishwater and grotesque, adding another layer of lost passion in a story that should boil with romantic intensity. Each page number is enclosed in a little red heart; while the object of this little nuance is obvious, it’s also unpleasantly saccharine. Notes after the story include such edifying tidbits about Taylor Swift and “ ‘Wow’ dialogs from the play” (which culls out the famous quotes).

Pub Date: May 10, 2011

ISBN: 978-93-80028-58-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Campfire

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2011

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