cover image Twelfth Grade Night (Arden High #1)

Twelfth Grade Night (Arden High #1)

Molly Horton Booth and Stephanie Kate Strohm, illus. by Jamie Green. Disney-Hyperion, $24.99 (160p) ISBN 978-1-368-06465-1

Booth (Nothing Happened), Strohm (Restless Hearts), and Green (Brothers in Arms) channel William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night in this joyful graphic novel series opener. Human twins Viola and Sebastian have been inseparable until, as the duo prepare to transition into Arden High, a school populated by humans, fairies, and satyrs alike, Sebastian opts to go to St. Anne’s boarding school, instead. Juggling feelings of abandonment and elation at being able to finally dress how she wants (“I just felt more and more uncomfortable in those skirts. I wanted to dress more like Sebastian,” Vi says of her middle school uniforms), Vi meets and crushes on enigmatic human poet Orsino. But things get messy when Orsino recruits her to help him woo his own crush. Green’s distinct and whimsical character designs, coupled with a rich color palette, skillfully render Arden’s ephemeral fairy-realm setting. The creators pay homage to the source material by modernizing core elements while staying true to the original’s spirit. The twins’ struggles to forge their own personhoods, and Vi’s exploration of her gender and sexual identity, enrich the narrative. Characters are portrayed with varying skin tones. Ages 12–up. Agents: (for Booth) Alex Slater, Trident Media Group; (for Strohm) Molly Ker Hawn, Bent Agency; (for Green) Chad Beckerman, CAT Agency. (Oct.)