Kin

By Holly Black and Ted Naifeh (Illustrator)

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Graphix, c2008, 2009

Genres: Fantasy, contemporary fantasy, dark fantasy, urban fantasy, faerie tale

Format: Graphic novel

Series: The Good Neighbors; 1

ISBN: 9780439855655

Intended audience: Young adult

Number of pages: 117

Setting: West City (USA)

Time period: Contemporary

Plot summary: When Rue Silver’s mom disappears after an argument with Rue’s father, Rue tries not to worry.  She’ll come back.  Where else does she have to go?  But after three weeks of no sight of her mom, Rue’s resolve is starting to slip.  Plus, Rue’s father hasn’t been to work since then and Rue has begun to see strange things and strange people.  When Rue’s father is taken by the police for questioning in a murder, Rue starts to question what she knows about her mother and where she came from.

Illustrations: The story is drawn all in black and white with many shades of grey.  There is a lovely, “terrible beauty” revealed in the drawings of the fey and great facial expressions for all of the characters.

Appeal factors:

Pacing: This is a very fast paced story; it is easy to read very quickly, but it may take several readings to fully appreciate the details.

Characterization: The story is told in first person through Rue’s perspective.  There are many secondary characters; the most important are Rue’s friends – Lisa, Justin, and Dale (boyfriend) – and family members – both the ones she knows, as well as the ones she doesn’t.

Frame: This is a dark faerie tale which begins with a broken promise.

Story line: Rue’s interest in her identity is mythically familiar as she steels herself for a heroine’s journey.  Rue must come to terms with who she is, especially if she wants to know the truth about her mother.

Subject headings:

From WorldCat:

Graphic novels.

Fairies — Fiction.

Missing persons — Fiction.

Supernatural — Fiction.

Magic — Fiction.

Fairies — Comic books, strips, etc. — Juvenile fiction.

Missing persons — Comic books, strips, etc. — Juvenile fiction.

Supernatural — Comic books, strips, etc. — Juvenile fiction.

Magic — Comic books, strips, etc. — Juvenile fiction.

Similar authors:

Emma Bull – War for the Oaks

Kristen Cashore – Graceling

Charles de Lint – Little (Grrl) Lost

Lisa McMann – Wake

Janni Lee Simner – Bones of Faerie

also check out the suggested reading section on Holly Black’s website

Personal notes:

I loved this book, except it was way too short. I’m glad the second book in the series (Kith) is out already.

It’s interesting that there is a record for Kith in NoveList, but not one for this book.

To try an find this book in a library, make sure to try both the titles Kin and The Good Neighbors, since it has been cataloged both ways. Confusing.  Or just try an author search.

Other (themes, diversity): Diversity – half human/ half faerie

Holly Black’s website

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