The Good Neighbors, Book 1: Kin by Holly Black and Ted Naifeh

Holly Black leaves the land of Spiderwick for a while to gift us with her first graphic novel, a dark faery tale more along the lines of her gritty Tithe series. Sixteen-year-old Rue (a broody alterna-chick who strongly resembles a “My So-Called Life”-era Claire Danes, except raven-haired instead of red) has been down in the dumps since her beautiful mother disappeared several weeks ago. What makes matters worse is that her devastated professor dad has just been accused of murdering one of his favorite students. Rue has maintained her cool so far by sticking to her usual routine of urban exploring with her best buds and playing groupie at her rocker boyfriend’s shows. But what she can’t ignore are the things she’s starting to see out of the corner of her eye: bubble-blowing nymphs by her locker, goat-headed guys at the local coffee bar, sharp-eared dudes in the alley. When she tries to explain to her friends what’s happening to her, her skeptical boyfriend begins to pull away, and Rue starts to wonder if she’s going a little lulu. So she decides to prove she’s not crazy by conducting her own investigation around her mom’s disappearance and her dad’s alleged crime. And what she discovers is that no one in her family are who they seem to be—and that her own origins are just as mysterious as the faery visions that have begun haunting her day and night. Who are these ephemeral beings? And what do they want from Rue? Book One is only the beginning of Rue’s quest to find her mother and discover her true identity. Ted Naifeh’s edgy, outsider art partners well with Black’s forbidding fairytale, his sharp angles and deep shadows lending anxiety and menace to Rue’s search. Black also includes in Rue’s research about the “good neighbors” one of my favorite lil’ nuggets of supernatural lore: in 1895 Ireland, a woman named Bridget Cleary was murdered by her husband and his brothers because they came to believe that she was a fairy “changling” and not the true Bridget. Of course, they were arrested and imprisoned, as we all know there’s no such thing as fairies. But suddenly Rue’s not so sure…be sure to follow Rue’s adventures in The Good Neighbors, Book 2: Kith.

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