cover image Kira and the (Maybe) Space Princess (Magic Girls #1)

Kira and the (Maybe) Space Princess (Magic Girls #1)

Megan Brennan. Random House Graphic, $21.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-593-17754-9

With plenty of sparkle and cheeky wit, Brennan’s fanciful series-opening graphic novel, a debut, earnestly captures middle schoolers’ simultaneous desires to fit in and stand out through the power of friendship and actual magic. On Neo-Earth, where anthropomorphized animals, mythical creatures, and humans portrayed with various skin tones cohabitate, incoming seventh grader Kira longs to be a magical girl like her rival, Tulip. As a beloved public figure, Tulip sports glittering costumes, has an animal familiar, and participates in battle competitions as the glamorous Fairytale Fighter. When Catacorn—a self-professed space princess with feline features, hooves, and a unicorn horn—crash-lands in Kira’s backyard, she equips Kira with a Cutie Mobile Phone and Magic Wand, explaining that she must activate sparkle energy to close enemy warp zones. Assuming that Catacorn is her familiar, Kira believes that they will be magical heroes together, but the illusion fades as Catacorn’s self-serving bossiness hints at ulterior motives and future galactic adventures. Brennan’s plentiful and varied emanata hilariously indicates characters’ many frustrations and enthusiasms while self-reflexively paying homage to the magical girl genre. Abundant back matter concludes. Ages 8–12. Agent: Linda Camacho, Gallt & Zacker Literary. (Mar.)