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Graphic Universe is eager to share with you the upcoming release of a fascinating new graphic novel called A Game For Swallows, by Lebanese author and illustrator Zeina Abirached.

The Junior Library Guild selection powerfully depicts Ms. Abirached’s experiences growing up during Lebanon’s civil war between Muslims and Christians. Ms. Abirached, born into a Lebanese Christian family, has crafted a remarkable true story that takes place on a single day in the 1980s. Although the Lebanese Civil War lasted fifteen years, from 1975-1990, Ms. Abirached’s dramatic depiction of a day of fighting and shelling perfectly signifies the whole conflict, as if that day is lasting years. Separated between East Beirut (Christians) and West Beirut (Muslims) Lebanon’s capital is in disarray. When young Zeina’s parents are stranded across town, she and her brother must pull together with others in the neighborhood to remain safe.

Although some have drawn parallels between Ms. Abirached’s book and Iranian Marjane Satrapi’s famous work Persepolis, Ms. Abirached’s book diverges from Ms. Satrapi’s in several fundamental ways. For one, in A Game For Swallows the tone and humor are markedly different. And substantively the two stories vary widely. While Swallows concerns Ms. Abirached’s childhood in war-torn Lebanon, Ms. Satrapi’s Persepolis depicts the Iranian Islamic Revolution. Of course, they are entirely different events, concerning totally different circumstances. Lastly, A Game for Swallows is strictly written in a child’s voice, taking place on a lone day during which time Ms. Abirached witnesses events firsthand. On the other hand, the atory of Persepolis stretches across several years, from the author’s childhood to adulthood, and depicts both firsthand experiences and general events during the Iranian revolution.

Given graphic beauty and powerful story of A Game For Swallows, we have every reason to believe readers will gain a new appreciation and knowledge about this region’s historic conflict and what individuals and their communities had to do to survive.

A stellar review of I Date Dead People, the  5th installment in the My Boyfriend is a Monster series, adds to the ongoing list of positive reviews for these highly likable Graphic Universe books.

The recent write-up appeared last week on the hip and informative graphic novel review site No Flying No Tights. (I Date Dead People Review) BTW, No Flying is a worthwhile site to check out in general. Not only because of its great tastes in books (see below) but because they offer a wide range of thoughtful views about graphic novels for all ages and demographics. (noflyingnotights.com)

As many of you know, the My Boyfriend is a Monster series is an entertaining mix of romance and horror for the teen market. In each title, a young guy appears to be the perfect match for the teen girl until his true identity is revealed, perhaps he’s a vampire, a werewolf, or even a zombie. In I Date Dead People he happens to be a hundred-year old ghost named Tom who’s trapped in Nora Reilly family’s nineteenth century Victorian home. But he’s not the only ghost squatting there and the other covetous spirits are in no mood for Tom and Nora’s budding romance. Meanwhile, Nora’s parents want nothing more than to rid their house of these poltergeist pests. Will Nora and Tom have enough spirit in them to maintain a relationship? Well, you’ll have to read the book to find out but suffice to say that the My Monster is a Boyfriend series does, indeed, have plenty of spirit when it comes to good reviews. Testament to this is aplenty in the recent No Flying, No Tights post. It wrote, “(R)eaders will love this different spin on love, supernatural style!” They continued with, “This fun and romantic ghost story would be a perfect late night spooky read for upper elementary and middle school readers. The story is fast paced and exciting; the mystery is intriguing and captivating.”

Since I’m on the subject of good reviews Kirkus also wrote one earlier this year saying, “The characters all sport oversized manga-esque eyes, the easy-to-follow black-and-white panels are drawn with a loose, expressive realism that effectively captures the plot’s droll and eerie turns.”

Hey, while I’m still at it, I might as well finish with the rest of No Flying No Tights’ glowing observation, “The illustrations by Janina Gorrissen, are simple black and white line drawings, but the characters are extremely expressive, and the ghosts are easily distinguishable from the living. The panels are easy to follow, and this graphic novel would be a great read for those new to the genre. Recommend to readers who like their romance with a side of ghost.”

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