A fun quest with a courageous, troublemaking princess!

AMETHYST

From the Princess of Gemworld series , Vol. 1

Amaya discovers that she is a princess of a magical realm and must help save her world and the family she left behind from an unprecedented threat.

Amaya, 9-year-old princess of the House of Amethyst in Gemworld, uses her magical abilities to amuse herself and her younger brother, Quartz, usually at the expense of the servants and her parents. When Amaya goes too far, her parents send her to Earth for one week to teach her some respect and discipline, but something goes wrong, and she is trapped earthside for three years. Prince Topaz, a royal of her realm, eventually tracks down Amaya—who has forgotten who she is—and brings her and her earthly best friend, Autumn, to Gemworld, which is in disarray. Amaya’s parents and brother have mysteriously vanished, and Flaw—a brawny giant made of amethyst and with spikes growing out of its head and shoulders—is roaming the countryside terrorizing citizens and devouring the gem mines in the twelve kingdoms. It’s up to Amaya to fix things and find her family, but she barely remembers her birthplace and hasn’t used magic for years…what could she possibly do to help? Young readers will quickly become absorbed in this action-packed yet undemanding adventure with its colorful, entertaining, and expressive artwork. The humor, in particular, is well played. Characters—servants and nobility alike—have a variety of skin colors, body types, and physical features. Amaya is White, and Autumn is Black with textured hair and locs.

A fun quest with a courageous, troublemaking princess! (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4012-3677-9

Page Count: 160

Publisher: DC Comics

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2021

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and...

GHOSTS

Catrina narrates the story of her mixed-race (Latino/white) family’s move from Southern California to Bahía de la Luna on the Northern California coast.

Dad has a new job, but it’s little sister Maya’s lungs that motivate the move: she has had cystic fibrosis since birth—a degenerative breathing condition. Despite her health, Maya loves adventure, even if her lungs suffer for it and even when Cat must follow to keep her safe. When Carlos, a tall, brown, and handsome teen Ghost Tour guide introduces the sisters to the Bahía ghosts—most of whom were Spanish-speaking Mexicans when alive—they fascinate Maya and she them, but the terrified Cat wants only to get herself and Maya back to safety. When the ghost adventure leads to Maya’s hospitalization, Cat blames both herself and Carlos, which makes seeing him at school difficult. As Cat awakens to the meaning of Halloween and Day of the Dead in this strange new home, she comes to understand the importance of the ghosts both to herself and to Maya. Telgemeier neatly balances enough issues that a lesser artist would split them into separate stories and delivers as much delight textually as visually. The backmatter includes snippets from Telgemeier’s sketchbook and a photo of her in Día makeup.

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and unable to put down this compelling tale. (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-54061-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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