cover image Graveyard Shakes

Graveyard Shakes

Laura Terry. Graphix, $12.99 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-0-545-88954-4

Previously homeschooled, Victoria Trost is desperate to fit in at her new boarding school, but that’s unlikely with her younger sister, Katia, there—Katia’s eccentric, carefree nature leaves Victoria ostracized. After an embarrassing few days (and a blizzard), Victoria meets Little Ghost, a polite, friendly specter. Like the girls, Little Ghost doesn’t fit in with his kind, though he has a friend in Modie, a patchwork boy being kept alive by his father, Nikola. But that requires the life essence of a young person, and Nikola has his sights on Katia. Terry’s debut graphic novel is a moody, introspective story spiked with supernatural suspense: Nikola’s longing to keep his son alive provides poignant context for his misguided actions, and Terry’s muted watercolors and friendly cartooning style soften the plot’s sharp edges (namely that children are dying so Modie can live). That the afterlife can be as complicated as regular life will strike a wryly funny note with young outcasts and loners, but Terry never loses sight of the idea that even misfits can find community by being themselves. Ages 8–12. Agent: Bernadette Baker-Baughman, Victoria Sanders Associates. (Sept.)