The Promised Neverland: Vol. 1 by Kaiu Shirai | SLJ Review

Gr 10 Up –Grace Field House is home to 38 children and a cheerful matron whom all the kids call “Mom.” The children must follow rules and take a test every morning in place of formal schooling, but overall, they’re a big happy family.

redstarSHIRAI, Kaiu. The Promised Neverland: Vol. 1. tr. from Japanese by Satsuki Yamashita. illus. by Posuka Demizu. 192p. Viz Media. Dec. 2017. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781421597126.

Gr 10 Up –Grace Field House is home to 38 children and a cheerful matron whom all the kids call “Mom.” The children must follow rules and take a test every morning in place of formal schooling, but overall, they’re a big happy family. Emma, Norman, and Ray are the best, brightest, and oldest at the orphanage, and they will be leaving soon—at age 12, every child is shipped out. But one day they break a rule and discover that their entire reality and existence are a horrifying lie. Now the children must use all their resources to fight back, try to save everyone, and escape their prison amid ever-increasing difficulties. This well-paced first volume sets up the series expertly, ramping up the action and balancing eerie suspense with necessary story details. The characters are sympathetic and believable, especially the children. They are easily distinguishable, and facial expressions are exquisitely drawn. The layouts are very effective, making this dialogue-rich series easy to follow through intelligently placed captions and speech balloons. The backgrounds are by turns intricate and extremely spare, highlighting important moments and enhancing the tense atmosphere. Readers will be enthralled—and anxious—as they follow along. VERDICT A brilliant battle of the minds reminiscent of Death Note, this is one of Viz’s best new shonen titles.–Kelley Gile, Cheshire Public Library, CT

This review was published in the School Library Journal June 2018 issue.

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