The New: People are already talking about Jen Wang's The Prince and the Dressmaker, a charming story set in 19th Century Paris about a prince with a secret life: When he dons a dress he becomes the fashionable and opinionated Lady Crystallia. Frances, a poor dressmaker, creates his outfits and keeps his secrets, but the prince's family is pressuring him to marry. The story focuses on the creativity of fashion and the way changing your appearance can change your persona; Wang's lighthearted art gives it a fairy-tale feel.
The other outstanding new title is a graphic adaptation of Laurie Halse Anderson's YA novel Speak, illustrated by Eisner Award winner Emily Carroll. High school student Melinda is ostracized because she called the police about a party that got out of control. What her friends don't know, and what Melinda herself has trouble facing, is that she was raped that night. The original novel won a number of awards and was a finalist for the National Book Award; critics describe it as dark yet funny and compelling.
Graham Annable uses a simple, cartoony style and gentle humor in his story for young readers (ages 6-12), Peter & Ernesto: A Tale of Two Sloths. The title pair are friends, but one is comfortable staying at home while the other wants to see the world.
Scarlet Hartt: Monster Hunter is an action tale for middle grade readers (ages 10-14) about an orphan who sets off with the help of her butler to fight a new wave of monsters that are threatening her city.
City on the Other Side is another action story, this one pitched for slightly younger readers and set in San Francisco in the early 1900s. The hero, Isabel, is a wealthy, sheltered young girl who one day stumbles through a portal into another world filled with magic and danger.
Little Sid is a picture book about the boyhood of Siddhartha, the Buddha.
Box Brown follows up two nonfiction books, Andre the Giant and Tetris, with Is This Guy for Real?, a graphic biography of the 1980s comedian Andy Kaufman (see “Exclusive Preview: 'Is This Guy For Real?' TP”).
Penelope Bagieu, whose bio of singer Cass Elliott, California Dreamin', just came out this spring (see “Mama Cass Gets Graphic Biography”), has a collective biography titled Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World.
The other new edition is of Jan Wang and Cory Doctorow's In Real Life. Anda, a teenage girl, becomes involved in the peculiar underground economy of video games by rounding up gold farmers, players who illicitly collect in-game items and sell them to more affluent players. When Anda learns that there are real people on the other side of the screen who are harvesting videogame goals in order to earn the real money they need to live, she tries to right the injustices of the world, with disastrous results.