Previously homeschooled, Victoria Trost is desperate to fit in at her new boarding school, but that’s unlikely with her younger sister, Katia, there—Katia’s eccentric, carefree nature leaves Victoria ostracized. After an embarrassing few days (and a blizzard), Victoria meets Little Ghost, a polite, friendly specter. Like the girls, Little Ghost doesn’t fit in with his kind, though he has a friend in Modie, a patchwork boy being kept alive by his father, Nikola. But that requires the life essence of a young person, and Nikola has his sights on Katia. Terry’s debut graphic novel is a moody, introspective story spiked with supernatural suspense: Nikola’s longing to keep his son alive provides poignant context for his misguided actions, and Terry’s muted watercolors and friendly cartooning style soften the plot’s sharp edges (namely that children are dying so Modie can live). That the afterlife can be as complicated as regular life will strike a wryly funny note with young outcasts and loners, but Terry never loses sight of the idea that even misfits can find community by being themselves. Ages 8–12. Agent: Bernadette Baker-Baughman, Victoria Sanders Associates. (Sept.)
A Junior Library Guild Selection"Poignant." -- The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books"The striking illustrations are simple and endearing, tempering the mood of the more frightening scenes...A great addition to graphic novel collections; hand to fans of Raina Telgemeier." -- School Library Journal"Affirming girl power and the importance of staying true to yourself, this story will resonate with readers who, like Katia, build relationships on their own terms." -- Kirkus Reviews"That the afterlife can be as complicated as regular life will strike a wryly funny note with young outcasts and loners, but Terry never loses sight of the idea that even misfits can find community by being themselves." -- Publishers Weekly"Terry's soft colors and bold lines bring the emotions of her story to life and will appeal to the eyes of readers who enjoy Raina Telgemeier's or Ben Hatke's work." -- Booklist
Gr 4–7—Sisters Victoria and Katia have escaped farm life with scholarships to a prestigious boarding school, but the change of environment proves difficult for both. Victoria encourages her exuberant younger sibling, who marches to her own beat, to fit in, but she winds up putting them in danger during a terrible blizzard. The girls find themselves stranded in the underworld, surrounded by ghouls and monsters. With the help of Little Ghost and Modie, the undead son of a mad scientist, the girls try to escape. Reminiscent of Kelly Bastow's art, the striking illustrations are simple and endearing, tempering the mood of the more frightening scenes. There are still a few unanswered questions at the end of the story, but overall this is a fun, original ride. VERDICT A great addition to graphic novel collections; hand to fans of Raina Telgemeier.—Kathryn Kania, Pelham Public Library, Pelham NHA handful of new middle grade novels feature protagonists who manage serious illness and physical challenges. Sixth grader Norah Levy, from Barbara Dee's Halfway Normal, spent two years away from school as she fought leukemia. Now in remission and back in school, she finds integrating into the social dynamics of middle school is not so easy. Alba, the star of Michelle Kadarusman's The Theory of Hummingbirds, was born with talipes equinovarus (also known as "club foot"). Her latest surgery promises to improve her ability to walk and run, but she fears it may not be enough for her to compete in an upcoming cross-country race. In Chad Morris and Shelly Brown's Mustaches for Maddie, based on a true story, a 12-year-old girl discovers she has a brain tumor and undergoes several surgeries while navigating the reactions and assumptions of friends and classmates.Read the full reviews: Dee, p. 84; Kadarusman, p. 87; Morris & Brown, p. 90.
A tale about a ghost who fears other ghosts and two sisters who find more welcome in a graveyard than in school.This two-plot graphic novel follows both the post-life adventures of Little Ghost and his nearly dead young friend, Modie, and the challenging transition Victoria and her energetic, musical, nonconformist younger sister, Katia, both white, experience as they move from home-schooling on their farm to an exclusive boarding school. When Little Ghost visits Modie, whose father, Nikola, keeps him alive by stealing the souls of live children every 13 years, the boys talk about life, death, and family. The two strands of the plot collide when Victoria, while searching the graveyard for Katia, falls into a pit that Nikola has set to catch unsuspecting children. Victoria fights back, escapes, and finds Katia, whom Nikola also subsequently captures. But he is no match for these determined sisters. Less original than Raina Telgemeier's Ghosts (2016), this book succeeds visually in capturing the spirit of these siblings and honestly portraying both their conflicts and their unity. The children's conversations about life and death and also the fact that two children die in the story make it a compelling springboard for these discussions with children. Affirming girl power and the importance of staying true to yourself, this story will resonate with readers who, like Katia, build relationships on their own terms. (Graphic fantasy. 8-12)