Saturday, April 7, 2012
Novel/grapic novel hybrid
The Year of the Beasts
by Cecil Castellucci and Nate Powell
Roaring Brook Press, May 22, 2012
When Tessa's younger sister Lulu tags along to the fair with her and her best friend Celina, Tessa's annoyed. But when Lulu leaves the curiosity sideshow tent holding the hand of the boy Tessa has a crush on, Tessa feels betrayed. Then Lulu begins to spend more time with Celina, until Tessa feels more like the unwelcome younger sister than Lulu. Not that Tessa hasn't found someone to kiss this summer, but her boyfriend, Jasper, is a strange outcast, and their romance is a secret one. Interspersed between the chapters of this story are chapters rendered in graphic novel format. They seem to take place at a high school for mythical creatures, with Medusa, a mermaid, and a minotaur in the leading roles. As the book continues, it becomes clear who these drawn characters are, and their story begins to show parallels to the written one. The Year of the Beasts is an ultimately heartbreaking novel about first loves, jealousy, and loss. When everything finally comes together, the result is striking. Novel and graphic novel formats unite in this tragically beautiful summer story.