Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Kin: The Good Neighbors, Book One by Holly Black and Ted Naifeh

A Graphic Novel by Holly Black; illustrations by Ted Naifeh

Rue Silver’s mother has disappeared and, though she’s still hanging out with her goth-punk friends, she’s also beginning to see strange things – sticks turn into human shapes, people pop up with pointy ears and very strange ways.

When her father is arrested for the murder of his student and the presumed murder of his wife, a sinister parallel world of faeries (aka “The Good Neighbors”) begins to crawl out of the shadows. Is Rue crazy, or is the thin veil of normalcy in her everyday world being pulled aside so that she can see things as they really are?

Sharp and dark, the entire book is drawn in a hypnotic black and white. The creepy alternative dreamworld is repulsive and seductive at the same time.

In the post-Twilight era, teens were flocking to Black's Tithe series -- a gritty book about faeries. The cover image of this graphic novel is pretty alluring. And goth-punk faeries? Pretty fun stuff.

Bibliotherapeutic value: Rue begins the book with a tough (“no worries”) attitude, but she soon realizes that she has plenty to worry about. The intensity of this graphic novel is nicely paired with Rue’s tough-as-nails approach; this story captures the feeling that many teens have that they are living in a strange world in which they are not understood by anybody, and in which their parents might not be the people that they’ve always imagined.

Black, Holly and Naifeh, Ted. The Good Neighbors: Kin. New York: Graphix, 2008.

ISBN: 978-0-439-85562-4. $16.99

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