Fifteen-year-old Kivali is a young girl who has never fit in, having been treated as an outcast most of her life for being a bender (someone who doesnFifteen-year-old Kivali is a young girl who has never fit in, having been treated as an outcast most of her life for being a bender (someone who doesn't neatly fit into either the male or female gender binary). She's survived her loneliness and fear of being sent to Blight by escaping into her mind and listening to "lizard radio," an internal broadcast that soothes her and makes her feel less alone. When she's sent to CropCamp in order to learn how to take her place in community, she discovers friendships and love beyond what she's known inside her own head.
Schmatz has created an interesting world in Lizard Radio, a world that can seem utopian if your considering it from the point of view of those who fit within the boundaries of its parameters, with it's emphasis on community. However, for those who don't fit in, benders, samers, and other outcasts, who are sent to live in Blight, the world would feel more dystopian. (Interestingly, being transgender is acceptable within this world, provided they fit neatly within either the female or male binary.) People can also vape in this world, a form of vanishing entirely, which could also be seen as good or bad depending on one's perspective.
I wouldn't really call this world realistic, but I don't expect that it's intended to be, at least not in the sense of being a world that could really exist. Rather, I think it's more designed as a way to examine the theme of ambiguity.
Nevertheless, the characters throughout the book are believable in how they think about and act in the world, and their relationships to each other provide a means of connecting to a story. I really enjoyed reading this. ...more
A story of a Korean family immigrating to the U.S., told in vignettes from the point of view of a young girl. The story avoids oversimplification, deaA story of a Korean family immigrating to the U.S., told in vignettes from the point of view of a young girl. The story avoids oversimplification, dealing with issues like assimilation, alcoholism, and abuse, while also sharing moments of love and beauty. The vignettes are a good choice here, providing plenty of in between spaces that allow the story to breathe. ...more
Cat and her sister Maya move to a foggy seaside town for the sake of Maya's health (she has cystic fibrosis). Much to their surprise they find the towCat and her sister Maya move to a foggy seaside town for the sake of Maya's health (she has cystic fibrosis). Much to their surprise they find the town inhabited by ghosts with Dia de los Muertos being the most important celebration of the year. It's a cute story and I liked the diversity of the characters, but I wish it could have gone a little deeper into these girl's characters and feelings. Cat spends most of her time being petrified of the ghosts, and it doesn't leave much to explore the complicated feelings of responsibility and love for her sister. The art in this graphic novel is good, but not really my cup of tea, a bit cartoony for me. ...more
What a beautiful story of family, art, betrayal, and loss. Centering around a twin brother and sister, the story is split across two timelines — withWhat a beautiful story of family, art, betrayal, and loss. Centering around a twin brother and sister, the story is split across two timelines — with Noah telling the story from when they were 14 years old and Jude telling it from the perspective of being 16 years old. Nelson does an amazing job of interweaving events, showing how seemingly disconnected events from the past have a profound impact on the present. I especially liked how she managed to give Noah and Jude each their own voice — similar, but unique to themselves and how they view the world. Everything comes together in the end in a fantastic culmination of events that left me entirely satisfied. Great book. ...more