Thursday, May 29, 2008

Dark Moon Diary Volume 1 Written by Che Gilson, Illustrated by Brett Uher

High school student Priscilla Armitage must move away from sunny California to the European village of Nachtwald when her parents pass away. She quickly learns that Nachtwald is no ordinary place and the relatives she's now living with are not ordinary either: they're vampires! Priscilla must not only adjust to a new high school but also the fact that she is constantly surrounded by vampires, werewolves, and witches. Priscilla's cousin Kitten is at the top of the social pecking order at school, and she and her friends do not appreciate the fact that the newest student in their school is an "entree." Through writing in her diary, Priscilla works through her thoughts and feelings on living in a new place, leaving behind the things she once knew, and being an outsider for the first time.

This is a sweet story that will appeal to teens no matter what genre of manga they typically read. Horror and gothic fantasy fans will appreciate the myriad of preternatural characters while others will be drawn to Priscilla's struggle to fit into her new surroundings. The only downside to this book is rabid readers will want the next volume immediately, but it won't be released until September.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Playing the Field by Phil Bildner

Darcy loves baseball. Three seasons playing softball for her high school has not been satisfying so she asks to tryout for the boys' baseball team. After initially being told no, the principal changes his mind after his son tells him Darcy is a lesbian. Darcy is so excited about being on the team that she decides not to tell the principal that she actually is straight.

So much is happening in this book aside from a closeted heterosexual girl learning firsthand what it's like for gay students at her school. Darcy's mom and the principal are dating, she's got a crush on the principal's son, her ex-best friend is president of the gay straight alliance and threatening to out her at any moment. So many of these details that would be the Issues in some teen Issue novels are merely background that don't get a full exploration. I think if they had, the book might have felt bogged down. Since they weren't, it was simply a quick read that I enjoyed.

For Ya Challenge