illus. by Ru Xu. 208p. ebook available. Scholastic/Graphix. Jan. 2017. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9780545803113; pap. $12.99. ISBN 9780545803120.
Gr 4–7—In a world where only boys can be newsies, Blue poses as a boy in order to live in the communal house and hawk papers each day. What seems like a familiar setup quickly takes strange and delightful turns in this graphic novel by new artist and author Xu. Blue's city is at war, and the leaders are looking for a missing weapon. Meanwhile, Blue's newest friend, Crow, and her new mentor Jack have lots of secrets as well. When Jack and Crow's secrets collide, it might be time for Blue to reveal hers. The full-color palette is beautifully rendered. Xu's artwork is imbued with a beauty and depth that create a world slightly out of step with our own, at once familiar and excitingly strange. The illustrations match pace perfectly with the story, frantic at times and celebratory at others. The style veers between steampunk and manga and more traditional American comics, resulting in an exciting and refreshing title. Some of the details of the plot and the world are maddeningly vague, but that should not confound readers for long. Those who enjoyed "Amulet" will eagerly devour this book, the first in what will surely be a popular new series.
VERDICT This excellent and unique offering features strong world-building and an original story line. It will happily find a home in most library collections.

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