Saturday, June 25, 2016

Compass South

Compass South is an adventure story set in the 1800s, but it also strongly resembles a fairy tale. The plot follows a pair of twins, Alexander and Cleopatra Dodge, who were orphaned and came to be raised by one of their mother's old flames. When he mysteriously disappears and is taken for dead, all they have to their names are two items passed down from their mom as their legacy: a watch and pocket knife. So the siblings join a gang of juvenile criminals and try to live by their wits and ill-gotten gains.
After they run afoul of the law, Alexander and Cleopatra decide they are going to try a new grift, passing themselves off as a pair of long-lost twins.This new plan entails Cleo having to pretend to be a boy and also some stowing away to get to the west coast. There are complications, however, one of which is running into another pair of red-headed twins with the same intentions they have to defraud an unwitting family (what are the chances?!?). What makes this book really work is how far off track all of their plans get, as well as the inventive ways that the story unfolds and reveals some interesting twists. It is chock full of action, humor, heart, nautical intrigue, and mystery, and I think it will be a popular book with many YA readers. I very much enjoyed it, and I am looking forward to its sequel (and maybe more in a series?).
Compass South was made by writer Hope Larson and artist Rebecca Mock. The Eisner Award winning Larson has created a number of graphic novels, including an adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time and the young adult story Chiggers. She is also writing two comic book series, one about a teen detective Goldie Vance and the other a run on DC Comics' Batgirl. This is Mock's first graphic novel, and she was a co-organizer of  the Hana Doki Kira anthology. Larson speaks about this book and her various comics projects in this interview.

All of the reviews I have read about this book give it praise. Kirkus Reviews summed it up as "Complex, engaging, and sure to please a wide audience." Publishers Weekly spoke highly of the book, especially Mock who "adeptly captures the changing relationships between the twins—especially the gender-bending awkwardness that accompanies Cleo’s stint as a boy." Sarah Hunter from Booklist gave it a starred review and called it "A gorgeously executed, lively caper."

Compass South was published by Farrar Straus and Giroux, and they have a preview and more info available here.

I met Rebecca Mock recently at HeroesCon, and I was glad to buy a pre-release copy. She was gracious enough to also draw a picture and sign a book for me. Thank you!

No comments:

Post a Comment