Another Kind

HarperAlley. Oct. 2021. 288p. Tr $22.99. ISBN 9780063043541; pap. $12.99. ISBN 9780063043534.
Gr 5 Up–At a remote government facility in the desert, six unusual kids growing up in an unorthodox pseudo-boarding school find their peaceful lives upended. The kids are cryptids, humanoid creatures with phenomenal powers—“irregularities,” as they’re called. Though their lives are somewhat typical, that changes when a creepy individual who has discovered their existence and is interested in “collecting” them tries to kidnap them. Thwarting his attempt, they embark on a harrowing cross-country journey to find a safe haven, all while the Collector’s emissaries hunt them down at every turn. The six main characters include a reptilian alien (who comes out as nonbinary), a Nepali yeti, a Black werebear, and a young Cthulu with mixed heritage. Tertiary characters are diverse, with identified cultural backgrounds and gender expressions. There’s much to adore here, from a richly developed, easily hateable villain to (spoiler alert) the ultimately happy ending. Lush, saturated colors fill the pages, and dynamic use of light and dark add charm to the characters, whose expressive faces convey endless emotion, including snark—invaluable in a book about teenage monsters.
VERDICT Thrilling and packed with heart; an X-Men tale for the younger set.

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