The Good Neighbors. Volume 1: Kin by Holly Black. Illustrated by Ted Naifeh Rue Silver is sixteen years old. She has a boyfriend and a group of friends who like to break into abandoned buildings and take photographs. Her mother has been quietly missing for three weeks and her father is suddenly involved in a murder case. And she’s starting to see things that she can’t tell anyone about, because they’ll think she’s crazy. They are the faeries of the old tales, the ones called Kindly and Good in hopes of preventing unwanted attentions. Rue learns that her vanished mother was a faery herself. A battle is beginning, and Rue must decide whose side she is on, and how much she can tell her friends. This is the first volume of what’s obviously planned as a much longer series. It’s a very solid start. The story strikes just the right balance between realistic and spooky, and the shaded paintings bring this out perfectly. I got a strong Buffy vibe off of it, not in a copy-cat kind of way, but in the circle of high school friends with a snarky sense of humor and a smart, tough girl going it with some help, but mostly alone. Black is the author of The Spiderwick Chronicles, which I read only the first one or two of. This does feel like it’s coming from the same imagination, but more from real older legend, and definitely more sophisticated and for an older audience. I’m really looking forward to the next one.
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