Book review: NewsPrints, by Ru Xu

Xu, Ru. NewsPrints. Graphix/Scholastic, 2017. $12.99. 202p. ISBN 9780545803113. Ages 12-15. P8Q8 

In an alternative, steam-punk United States of post-World War I, Orphan Blue masquerades as a boy to sell newspapers and finds herself apprenticed to inventor Jack Jingle after she hides from competing newsboys in his loft. The full-color graphic novel adventure leads her to a friendship with Crow who also hides his true self. Both Jingle and Crow are revealed as fugitives, one because of his inventions and the other because he is one of them. The escalation of war at the end leads to a promised sequel.

Verdict: The debut graphic novel, influenced by manga with largely expressionless features, is easy to follow although the twists of plot and adventure keep the reader moving through the story. Despite Blue’s need to hide her female self, she is loved by her adoptive family and comforted by friendship with her new associates. Readers will look forward to the next volume.

April 2017 review by Nel Ward.

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