FICTION

Urban Legendz

Humanoids/BiG. (Urban Legendz). Jun. 2019. 112p. Tr $14.95. ISBN 9781594657146.
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Gr 5-8–After his mother dies, Dwayne reluctantly moves from Indiana to Brooklyn with his father and brother. Dwayne’s father may be a police officer, but it is Dwayne and his new group of friends who uncover the truth about Brooklyn: urban legends, like mutant alligators and giant, blood-sucking bedbugs, are real, and they are attacking people. At first, the only one who will believe Dwayne and his friends is a homeless man who takes the children to an area known as the Refuge, where displaced and forgotten people gather. But soon more people become aware of the problem. While action-packed monster fights add a supernatural element, the tale is grounded in realistic socioeconomic issues as a land developer tries to gentrify the neighborhood. Though the author never fully explains why the monsters start appearing in public all of a sudden, there are hints that it was to force the people in the community to unite. The building of a community center at the end of the book supports this theory. The narrative and artwork have a nostalgic feel, but smartphone usage sets the story in the present. Dwayne is African American, and his friends include Mya, Worm, and Cashew, so-called because he is both Catholic and Jewish. Readers will eagerly await the next installment, which takes place on Coney Island. 
VERDICT  For libraries looking to expand their tween graphic novel collections. Give to those who like monsters in their mysteries.

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