cover image The Pirate and the Porcelain Girl

The Pirate and the Porcelain Girl

Emily Riesbeck, illus. by NJ Barna. Simon & Schuster, $22.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-5344-8776-5; $14.99 paper ISBN 978-1-5344-8775-8

A pirate captain and a porcelain girl navigate rough waters in this fantastical high-seas adventure, an earnest graphic novel featuring a sapphic love story and “Beauty and the Beast” vibes. When her beloved leaves her behind, Ferra Brickminder prays to the god of beauty, They Who Gaze at Flowers, to make her “beautiful... enriching... unique... inspiring! So that she will love me again!” The god turns pale-skinned Ferra to fragile porcelain, putting her on a crash course with the religious group the Ecclesiarchy, who wish to “assist the gods’ return.” Upon escaping the clergy, Ferra hires banished orc-like pirate captain Brigantine de la Girona to spirit her away. Flashbacks to various locales contextualize the protagonists’ motivations as book-smart Ferra attempts to win back her true love and regain her freedom without breaking, and bristly Brigantine seeks redemption and works to navigate emotions. Incorporating comic beats common to animated cartoons, Riesbeck’s dialogue highlights characters’ feelings in nearly every panel, while emanata-filled, candy-hued art from Barna leans into scraps and blushes. Characters are portrayed with varying skin tones, many fanciful. Ages 12–up. Agent (for author and illustrator): Claire Draper, Bent Agency. (Aug.)