Tuesday, November 27, 2007

2k7 Release: CHESS RUMBLE by G. Neri

A BIG welcome to Marcus, the main character in the new MG graphic novel (yes!!) CHESS RUMBLE by fellow 2k7er G. NERI:

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School Library Journal: (And is this a fabulous review or what???) `In my 'hood, battles is fought every day,' quips Marcus, an angry middle schooler on the brink of big trouble. His words, rife with frustration, tumble across page after page in free-flowing verse as he paints a picture of his quickly fading innocence. In the short time since his sister's death, memories of eating ice cream and giggling have been replaced by the bleak reality of a persistent bully, fist fights, and an absent dad. After begrudgingly meeting CM, Chess Master, the school's `bad dude' chess club adviser, an extended `battle' metaphor unfolds, concluding as Marcus takes responsibility for his own actions and moves his fighting off the street and onto the chessboard. . . . Chess Rumble works, and works well. Neri expertly captures Marcus's voice and delicately teases out his alternating vulnerability and rage. The cadence and emotion of the verse are masterfully echoed through Watson's expressive acrylic illustrations. Blacks, whites, and grays echo the concrete world of Marcus's urban home and, even more so, his despairing mood. Scattered chess pieces evoke the crescendo of the boy's temper. The closing scene tenderly catches tough-guy Marcus in a smile as he pounds fists with CM before sitting down to do battle, a stark contrast to his opening image, one dominated entirely by his fist. This book will become a standby pick for reluctant readers, who will be pulled in before they know it by the story's quick pace and the authenticity of Marcus's voice and experience.

Congratulations, G! xox This one is definitely on My List!

Edited to add: I just found out from G's blog that CHESS RUMBLE has been named a School Library Journal Pick of the Day! Woo-hoo! Go, go, go! :)

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