cover image Meesh the Bad Demon (Meesh the Bad Demon #1)

Meesh the Bad Demon (Meesh the Bad Demon #1)

Michelle Lam. Knopf, $21.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0593372876

In this touching graphic novel debut, Lam subverts well-worn fantasy tropes to craft an inaugural adventure that empathetically addresses themes of acceptance and friendship. Tween demon Meesh lives in the fiery depths of “Mount Magma: Home of the Demons, Land of the Lava,” where she is often bullied by her fire-breathing, acid-puking classmates for her love of all things pink and sparkly. Raised by her lava factory worker grandmother, Meesh aspires to be just like her idol, tween fairy Princess Nouna of Plumeria, a reality TV sensation. After an unexplained incident turns all Mount Magma denizens, save Meesh, to stone, Meesh seeks help from the Plumerian fairies to restore her world, finding that what she encounters in Plumeria is vastly different from what she anticipated. Adorably designed characters sporting animated expressions populate imaginative landscapes rendered in ominous dark purples and reds, and otherworldly pastel pinks and yellows. Indulging in familiar archetypes, Lam thoughtfully addresses the central conflicts—which examine demons vs. fairies and expectations vs. reality—via conversational dialogue and tenderly developing friendships, making for an accessible morality tale and a not-to-be-missed romp. Ages 8–12. Agent: Chelsea Eberly, Greenhouse Literary. (Mar.)