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NewsPrints #1


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Blue is an orphan who disguises herself as a newsboy. There's a war going on, and girls are expected to help the struggling economy by selling cookies. But Blue loves living and working at the Bugle, the only paper in town that tells the truth. And what's printed in the newspapers now matters more than ever.

But Blue struggles with her secret, and worries that if her friends and adopted family at the Bugle find out that she's a girl, she'll lose everything and everyone she cares about. And when she meets and befriends Crow, a boy who is also not what he seems, together they seek the freedom to be their true selves... and to save each other.

First published January 31, 2017

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About the author

Ru Xu

13 books67 followers
Ru Xu grew up in Indianapolis and received a degree in Sequential Art from the Savannah College of Art and Design. She is the creator of the popular webcomic Saint for Rent, and NewsPrints is her first graphic novel. Her favorite things include historical fiction, fat birds, and coffee-flavored ice cream.

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5 stars
868 (29%)
4 stars
1,011 (34%)
3 stars
808 (27%)
2 stars
193 (6%)
1 star
34 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 425 reviews
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.5k followers
June 5, 2017
Steampunk meets the twenties and AI civil rights, as a girl disguises herself as a boy so that she can sell newspapers. Then she meets a scientist, becomes his apprentice, and then meets a boy who is also keeping a secret. There’s a war on! Art is very good, and the story is solid, if not all that original. Good, not spectacular, but an impressive debut!

Another book about girl newsies? Brian Vaughn’s Paper Girls.
Profile Image for kate.
1,225 reviews949 followers
March 6, 2018
This was a fun read and I loved the art style but I unfortunately felt as though the story was a little disjointed and the pacing felt somewhat frantic and lacking in explanation/information. I especially found this to be the case when it came to gender identify and a few other key plot points. However, it was a super quick read and I now have a major craving to watch newsies...
Profile Image for Kadi P.
797 reviews109 followers
June 22, 2022
An enjoyable concept with compelling characters and many a twist to keep you wanting more.

Blue was a fantastic protagonist. I really loved that the characters Crow, Hector and Jack weren’t what I expected them to be either. They all had an element of unpredictability to them that made them act in a way you wouldn’t expect. It was impressive to see such dynamic characterisation as graphic novels often skimp on that, preferring simpler and more predictable characterisation to try and work quickly with their limited page numbers.

The art was fantastic and the colours were beautiful. The pacing was spot on so that it felt like a whirlwind of an adventure. I only wished it could have been longer but I’ll make do with reading the sequel instead...

(Recommended by RoRo)
Profile Image for Lata.
3,773 reviews208 followers
January 29, 2019
I love stories about girls or women disguising themselves as boys or men so they can circumvent societal restrictions. Here, Blue works as a newsboy, and a very good one. Most people she interacts with don't know she's a girl.
After a run-in with the opposing newspaper's newsboys, Blue meets an inventor, who decides to take her on as an apprentice. Blue and Jack, the engineer, suss out spare parts, and on a visit to the navy's offices, Blue encounters a strange boy, Crow, whom she befriends immediately. He's afraid of grown-ups, while Blue finds out that Jack's got his own secrets.
Ru Xu's artwork is phenomenal, conveying tremendous energy and character. I loved the look of the buildings, vehicles and clothes, as I got a mixture of early 1900s, Victorian and 1940s from the designs.
Blue is energetic, honest, loyal and compassionate, while also questioning people's assumptions. The characters sometimes behave a bit simplistically, but as this is a middle grade story, I'm willing to overlook this as this was a fun story to read and beautiful to look at.
Profile Image for Bogi Takács.
Author 55 books579 followers
April 23, 2017
The art was fun, but the story was rather muddled, with some unfortunate cissexism.

Source of the book: Lawrence Public Library
Profile Image for RoRo.
296 reviews65 followers
May 29, 2021
4.5 stars

First off, I would like to think my friend for getting me this book for my birthday.

I really enjoyed this book because it shows that a girl could do anything I could do and I was very proud of this book a even though this is a graphic novel I really enjoyed it and I think this is a very underrated book because it is a very good one to say the least.

Overall I really enjoyed this book and think everyone should read it at least once in their life.

Profile Image for laurel [the suspected bibliophile].
1,502 reviews451 followers
March 27, 2019
Disguised as a newsboy, Blue is doing just fine selling newspapers until she stumbles into secretive and funny inventor Jack and becomings his apprentice. Then she meets the even more secretive Crow, and things begin to fall apart.

This middle grade graphic novel was entertaining and interesting, and I liked the steam-punky fantasy aspect of it. I also loved how Crow was drawn, and Blue herself. I wasn't too fond of Jack, and I felt like some of the other characters weren't fully realized, but it was solid for a middle grade graphic novel.

This was actually recommended to me by one of my library patrons, who said that he really enjoyed reading it—and I can see why! It has excitement, daring, birds, inventions and solid illustrations.
Profile Image for Raina.
1,610 reviews128 followers
August 30, 2017
Fun little sci-fi adventure, with full-color, manga-adjacent art.

The world here was interesting - it's a little early-20th century with the newsies and architecture and the mechanistic innovation. It'll appeal to kids who like Kazu Kibuishi's stuff, and Tower of Treasure and Agatha Heterodyne and the Beetleburg Clank. Oh, and I always have a weakness for the girls-dressing-up-as-boys/genderplay genre (Newsgirl, Shakespeare natch).

Didn't blow me away as much as I expected it to, but you know what they say about high expectations.
Planning to take this out to elementary schools in May/June 2018.
Profile Image for Molly.
1,202 reviews52 followers
May 17, 2017
All right, I might be coming around on the robot civil rights movement with this one. GIVE ME TIME, ARTIFICIALLY INTELLIGENT FRIENDS!
Profile Image for Terry.
257 reviews40 followers
January 20, 2020
I might go 2.5 stars on this one. The artwork was okay, and the story was a bit predictable. The story was also confusing at times as the characters all looked and sounded the same. There wasn't a real distinct voice for any of them. This had a lot of potential, and I was really excited to read it. It just never quite reached what it could have been.
5 reviews1 follower
December 21, 2017
I’m wandering around my school's book fair, thinkin’, “What do I wanna get?” Then I looked around a bit and OHMYGOSHTHATLOOKSAWESOME! So I read the blurb and the title, Newsprints, purchased the book, and I start reading. SO worth it.

The actual book is about two people, Blue and Crow, who aren’t as they seem, in a cross between steampunk london and 20th century New york. One is an orphan who disguises herself as a newsboy under the Bungle, while the other has a seemingly unnatural connection to birds. Things quickly get crazier, with inventions, old friends, and a conspiracy against a government. As for what exactly happened, well, you are just gonna have to read the book!

I really love the book, as it moves at a really nice, fast pace, has cool inventions, like robots, GPS, robots, airships, and ROBOTS! It has a great art style, and would fall into the hearts of any steampunk fans. So, seriously. Go get this book.
7 reviews3 followers
January 23, 2019
To put this into words....I can't live right after reading this?? Literally?? There was the biggest plot twist, I can never think about the ending without sobbing a little each time. Crow was my favorite character, he was so mysterious and weird, but that's what I loved about him, the birds were attracted by the sound his head made, that was the first clue of what he really was, (You have to read the whole book) along with the fact he said he could fly.
There is a second graphic novel, the sequel to the first one, you should read that one too.
Profile Image for C.J. Milbrandt.
Author 20 books163 followers
December 1, 2019
Blue is a newsboy in a city where the ongoing war against neighboring countries is in the headlines. Making ends meet is tough, so the chance to work part-time for a quirky inventor is a big deal. And then there's Crow, a new and mysterious friend, and an old friend Hector, who's a war correspondent on the trail of a big story.

Filled with some of my favorite things. Jumping quickly into the sequel!
Profile Image for Robin Stevens.
Author 55 books2,167 followers
January 26, 2018
An odd, beautiful and unique graphic novel about a girl pretending to be a boy in a fantasy steampunk world at war. I love how much Ru loves birds (I agree with her, they are the best), and I loved how sparky and fun this story was. (10+)

*Please note: this review is meant as a recommendation only. Please do not use it in any marketing material, online or in print, without asking permission from me first. Thank you!*
140 reviews1 follower
November 22, 2022
The was a great graphic novel that is unique and provocative. It was an enjoyable read with a strong message of being true to yourself despite what the wider society believes and the value of friendship.
Profile Image for Maggie Gordon.
1,896 reviews138 followers
March 29, 2017
NewsPrints is a cute little story about a girl disguising herself as a boy so that she can sell newspapers. Then she meets a scientist and becomes his apprentice. Then she meets a strange boy. Also, the world is at war and everything is steampunky! The plot of this book isn't particularly unique. The world is not our own and is fleshed out enough to make sense, but not enough to really capture my interest. The art is just fabulous though. Full colour pages with detailed backgrounds. It's a joy to look at!
Profile Image for Phillip Brunetti.
15 reviews1 follower
March 6, 2017
Graphic Novel Entry #1

"NewsPrints" by Ru Xu is directed towards children who read at an intermediate grade level, 3rd-6th grade. I identified this novel as a science Fiction graphic novel because though the setting reflects a time somewhere around the early 1900s the world is geographically dissimilar with different countries and cities, and engaged in a fictional war. Though the world that the characters live in is somewhat realistic, the book implements unrealistic technology such as fictional aircraft and artificial humans, a.k.a robots.

Text-to-Self: One of the big themes of the novel is flight. In the setting that the novel takes place, human flight is thought to be impossible. One of the main characters who befriends the protagonist invents a way to achieve flight. This reminded me of my own pursuits as a child of becoming a pilot. I was very passionate about the idea of flying and I felt that passion shared by the character in the novel who refused to give up even though people thought flight was impossible.

Text-to-Text: This novel reminded me of a Japanese manga series I had read years ago called "Full-Metal Alchemist". Like "NewsPrints" the setting takes place in a world most likely in the 1900s but implements some technology clearly ahead of its time (artificial humans, intricate prosthetic limbs, unfamiliar geography). The way in which "NewsPrints" was drawn (the character design of the artificial human named Crow in particular) also reminds me of Japanese manga. It is very interesting to see American graphic novels implementing common aspects of Japanese manga within their texts.

Text-to-World: During the novel there is a war going on between the home country of the protagonist called Goswing and a country called Grimmaea. At the start of the novel the two countries had already been at war for a decade. A main theme of the novel is the costs of the ravages of war as well as what war leads people to do in the name of victory. Near the end of the novel we discover that Blue's (the main character of the story) home country has created a war machine with disastrous repercussions just to claim victory over Grimmaea. This reminds me of our own reality where nations turn to inhumane measures to attain victory over other people. An example would be World War I where nationalism and imperialism had hit an all time high and nations on both sides of the war were using any means necessary (mustard gas, trench warfare, etc.) to claim victory and to preserve the greater good. In both the novel and in real life, leaders convince others that the ends justify the means, that we must destroy the enemy to preserve the greater good. This book reflects the reality of warfare, and the damage it does to people like Blue.
Profile Image for Dakota Morgan.
2,460 reviews33 followers
June 25, 2019
Newsprints is bright, colorful, and busy, busy, busy. There's a lot of activity and heavy-handed themes and scads of characters who drift on and off the page. The plot is a whirlwind that primarily focuses on Blue, a newsboy(girl), and her relationships with Jack, an inventor, Crow, a newfound friend, and Blue's vast found family at the local paper. It's hard to keep track of any details, though. There's newspaper stuff, a war, inventions, feminism, personhood, ambition, etc., etc.

I ultimately had a good time with Newsprints, though I'd mostly chalk that up to the Ru Xu's excellent artwork. Now that the dust has settled on the (relatively clear) conclusion, I'll pick up the second volume to see where things go.
Profile Image for Jasmine.
Author 1 book131 followers
April 15, 2018
This is beautiful, but it really feels like it's setting up for part two, which apparently is not forthcoming. There's all these questions the narrative starts up— why did the war start in the first place, is jack a good guy or not— which it never answers, and Blue's whole arc of wanting to be open about identity while selling papers, just kinda ends with disillusionment about the concept of papers. So plot wise I have some questions. The art and the world building (bird-themed countries? the war being really important but somehow distant? beginning AI?) is REALLY cool though.
Profile Image for Kierra.
258 reviews2 followers
March 11, 2019
I read this at my eleven year old's insistence, so she could talk to me about it. I've admittedly only read a couple of graphic novels, so I'm no expert in the genre. That said, it had an interesting story, but I felt like there were sometimes narrative pieces that were missing...left a lot for the reader to fill in, and led me to feel lost a few times. The art was a bit monotone for my liking, which I could tell was an intentional choice. I didn't hate it, would have just loved more color.
Profile Image for Jessica.
363 reviews12 followers
November 16, 2017
I did not love this book. The artwork felt muddled to me particularly in action sequences. Issues of gender identity were used as plot points rather than developing character. The best parts of NewsPrints were call backs to other similar stories. In a growing market of action graphic novels, this one is middle of the field. Better stories can be found elsewhere.
Profile Image for Kate Adams.
652 reviews3 followers
April 10, 2018
I found the Mother Goose names/connections half-hearted, confusing, and distracting. Were they meant to be important to the story?

Felt the plot was a bit disjointed as well.

I’d convinced our librarian to buy this book and carry it back to Portugal from a conference in India, and now I’m a bit embarrassed I petitioned so hard for it. Very disappointing.
Profile Image for Minseo Kim.
41 reviews
January 25, 2018
This book had many aspects of feminism and I loved the wonderful illustrations as well!

There was the classical but also significant, modified symbolic elements (such as the birds) which really made the puzzle in this comically made story fun to figure out. I had a great time reading it!
Profile Image for Dorcas.
679 reviews15 followers
March 29, 2017
The scene progression was a little choppy, but I really liked the characters and artwork. I want more Crow!
Profile Image for Joy ;).
80 reviews1 follower
August 4, 2021

Comic perfection
Newsprints was funny and cute and fascinating and heartfelt. Everything I need in a book.
The art style was breathtaking. The story was non stop. And boy, oh boy, I can’t wait to read the sequel.

Our main character, Blue, is a lovable and adorable Newsgirl. She is so cute and wholesome oh my goodness I fell in love with her design and personality immediately. Over the course of the book, Blue befriends a mysterious boy named Crow. The two are instantly friends and my little heart was 100% here for it. This story was so unbelievably wholesome and so truly heartfelt that I’m considering buying it.

The art style was fabulous. Like oh my goodness. 100/100 so nice to look at. It fit the story so well and the vibes were off the charts. The lighting and colors were so gorgeous and the line work *chef’s kiss*
Everything from the cutsie newsboys and the precious soldier girls to Blue’s friends and all the little birds everywhere *squee* !!! Oh it was so lovely.

9/10 Blue’s design is perfection
Profile Image for Alex.
31 reviews
August 25, 2023

A friend recommended this comic book and let me borrow it. (Thank you, Grace!) The story is fascinating, and the art is absolutely amazing! The one I borrowed had a few pages in the beginning in color, but the black and white also worked great for the novel. But a full color would have enhanced the experience. Blue and Crow's connection and similarities were my favorite part of the story. I got emotional when Crow said, "I'm not a real boy, either" (141). There was a good amount of depth of societal issues and sexism during that time, such as what it meant to be a girl and what it meant to be a boy. However, I hope the topic of gender identity is more fleshed out in the next one. I'm really excited for the second book!
Profile Image for Natalie.
2,822 reviews139 followers
April 5, 2019
Super fun and awesome illustrations!

Blue is a newsgirl, posing as a newsboy. She doesn't understand why she should have to hide who she is. She ends up working as an apprentice for Jack, a wacky inventor, and then she meets Crow, a mysterious boy who is also more than he appears.

Meanwhile a war is going on and her country is looking for someone who invented a weapon and left. It all comes to a head in Blue's hometown...

Loved this book! I know the fifth graders will eat it right up! (Though part of me doesn't want to share it with them, because I know it will get trashed! Lol!)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 425 reviews

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