The Never Weres

Overview

Three teens become humanity's only hope for survival.

Late in the next century, the human race is on the verge of extinction. A mysterious virus has resulted in no births in almost a generation. Despite the impending doom, three urban teenagers try to live their lives with hope.

Mia strives to preserve humanity's compassion through her art and her volunteer work with Mrs. C and the other "oldies." Tech-savvy Xian spends her time tinkering with ...

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Overview

Three teens become humanity's only hope for survival.

Late in the next century, the human race is on the verge of extinction. A mysterious virus has resulted in no births in almost a generation. Despite the impending doom, three urban teenagers try to live their lives with hope.

Mia strives to preserve humanity's compassion through her art and her volunteer work with Mrs. C and the other "oldies." Tech-savvy Xian spends her time tinkering with the robots she's sure will inherit the Earth. Jesse, the son of geneticists, is convinced the future lies with cloning, but society is reeling from the grotesque failures of previous attempts. When the friends stumble upon the 60-year-old mystery of a missing girl, it leads them back to Mrs. C, who, it turns out, is the world's only successful clone -- and the key to saving our species.

Artist Fiona Smyth's gripping graphic novel depicts a future as visually detailed as it is emotionally rich. The Never Weres will keep readers breathless to the final page.

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Editorial Reviews

Resource Links
Fiona Smyth has brought her skill in cartooning to her love of science fiction to create a graphic novel both intellectually challenging and visually entertaining.

— Patricia Jermey

ForeWord Reviews
Smyth combines mystery, supernatural elements, and realistic human relationships to produce a magnified slice of what the future may hold. Both teens and adult readers will find her graphic novel riveting.

— Andi Diehn

woweezonk.blogspot.com
Fiona's pages are expertly composed and rich with bold, lively artwork that is challenging but totally accessible and readable. I was blown away by the beautiful, sprawling ink-washed double page spreads.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
A potential end-of-the-world scenario that is geared for a younger audience and actually has a happier-than-usual ending is a good thing in an increasing field of grim, sophisticated looks at here humanity is headed.

— April Spisak

Canadian Children's Book News
The Never Weres is an ambitious story with themes that will grab readers' attention, especially with the recent rise in popularity of dystopian narratives in young adult fiction.

— Scott Robins

Resource Links - Patricia Jermey
Fiona Smyth has brought her skill in cartooning to her love of science fiction to create a graphic novel both intellectually challenging and visually entertaining.
ForeWord Reviews - Andi Diehn
Smyth combines mystery, supernatural elements, and realistic human relationships to produce a magnified slice of what the future may hold. Both teens and adult readers will find her graphic novel riveting.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books - April Spisak
A potential end-of-the-world scenario that is geared for a younger audience and actually has a happier-than-usual ending is a good thing in an increasing field of grim, sophisticated looks at here humanity is headed.
Canadian Children's Book News - Scott Robins
The Never Weres is an ambitious story with themes that will grab readers' attention, especially with the recent rise in popularity of dystopian narratives in young adult fiction.
Quill and Quire - Ian Daffern
There's much pleasure to be derived from the look of Smyth's future metropolis, with its favela-like city blocks, insectoid robots blurting out advertisements, and tattooed senior citizens.
VOYA - Kristin FletcherSpear
In a future society, the human race faces extinction due to a virus producing barren offspring. The story focuses on Xian, Mia, and Jesse, fifteen-year-olds who stumble upon a secret that might save the world. While scavenging, Xian discovers an illegal cloning lab, but is interrupted by government security bots. She brings in her friends, Mia and Jesse, to help her evade the government and discover the mystery behind a missing girl and the old lab. This is a great concept, but a shaky delivery. The world-building, characters, and pacing are all very well done. Each character has their own issues they are focusing on and only when they converge together do they work well with one another. There is never a slow moment in the pacing. In this single volume graphic novel, each panel adds to the pacing and storytelling. The main downfall of this graphic novel is the narrator. Instead of allowing the clever artwork to tell the story and relate emotions, the narrator overkills it, driving it home with a sledgehammer. The artwork would have been more powerful alone. The black-and-white artwork is quirky with some pages being standard panels and others more free flowing. The drawn world is intricate, full of details in the background. This is a decent graphic novel that may require some handselling, but should find an audience with dystopian science fiction novels readers. Reviewer: Kristin FletcherSpear
Kirkus Reviews

Three of Earth's last teenagers discover a long-hidden escape route for humanity in this suspenseful future tale, a solo debut for Smyth.

Fifteen years after a virus stopped all new human births, most of the aging population lives in overcrowded urban warrens while Mia, Xian and Jesse rattle around a steadily-emptying school with the rest of their thinning generation. Jesse's controversial involvement in cloning studies, artistic Mia's work in an old-age home and reckless Xian's dangerous and illegal excursions into the miles of old tunnels and sewers beneath the city has turned their friendship contentious. Their bonds solidify again, though, when they discover clues that point to a successful but suppressed experiment in human cloning many years previous, thus drawing the ominous attention of a mysterious government agent. Smyth, a veteran illustrator, creates a credible futuristic world in which advanced technology and run-down infrastructure blend seamlessly in monochromatic ink-and-wash graphic panels done in an underground comics style. Showing particular chops with chases, escapes and even multiple actions like tantrums in single impressionistic mélanges of images, she creates back stories for each central character, cranks the tension up on the way to a climactic double surprise and closes with a tidy but upbeat resolution.

Despite earnest undertones a richly imagined and capably carried-out thriller.(Graphic science fiction. 11-13)

School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Years into the next century, the human population is dwindling because of a virus that has resulted in no new births for a generation. Cloning may stave off extinction, but rumors of botched experiments, along with bias against clones, make it an uncertain option. The youngest humans left are teenagers, and three of them struggle to solve a mystery of a missing girl who may save the world. A perfect read-alike for Nancy Farmer's The House of the Scorpion (S & S, 2002) and Jodi Picoult's My Sister's Keeper (S & S, 2004), this comic has chaotic landscapes that resemble those in the film Blade Runner, replete with strange futuristic fashions and ads for 50-dollar bags of rice. Many pages are crammed with these interesting details, set in adventurous layouts that often spill outside of the panels. The illustrations, drawn in a bold, primitive, indie-comic style that resembles Lynda Barry's work, contrast interestingly with the tech-heavy story. Though this science fiction mystery's plot and layouts are a little too convoluted, its provocative ending is rewarding.—Lisa Goldstein, Brooklyn Public Library, NY
The Deakin Review of Children's Literature
Wraps a worthwhile science-positive message within an engaging mystery adventure.
— Sarah Polkinghorne
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Years into the next century, the human population is dwindling because of a virus that has resulted in no new births for a generation. Cloning may stave off extinction, but rumors of botched experiments, along with bias against clones, make it an uncertain option. The youngest humans left are teenagers, and three of them struggle to solve a mystery of a missing girl who may save the world. A perfect read-alike for Nancy Farmer's The House of the Scorpion (S & S, 2002) and Jodi Picoult's My Sister's Keeper (S & S, 2004), this comic has chaotic landscapes that resemble those in the film Blade Runner, replete with strange futuristic fashions and ads for 50-dollar bags of rice. Many pages are crammed with these interesting details, set in adventurous layouts that often spill outside of the panels. The illustrations, drawn in a bold, primitive, indie-comic style that resembles Lynda Barry's work, contrast interestingly with the tech-heavy story. Though this science fiction mystery's plot and layouts are a little too convoluted, its provocative ending is rewarding.—Lisa Goldstein, Brooklyn Public Library, NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781554512850
  • Publisher: Annick Press, Limited
  • Publication date: 2/3/2011
  • Pages: 256
  • Age range: 10 - 18 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Fiona Smyth's work has been published across North America. The Never Weres is her first graphic novel for young readers. She is currently an instructor in illustration, comics, graphic novels and drawing at the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto. Visit her website at www.fionasmyth.com.

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