Swamp Thing : Twin Branches
by Stiefvater, Maggie; Beem, Morgan (ILT)

"Twins Alec and Walker Holland have a reputation around town. One is quiet and the other is the life of any party, but the two are inseparable. For their last summer before college, Alec and Walker leave the city to live with their rural cousins, where they find that the swamp holds far darker depths than they could have imagined. While Walker carves their names into the new social scene, Alec recedes into a summer-school laboratory, slowly losing himself to a deep, dark experiment. This season, both brothers must confront truths, ancient and familial, and as their lives diverge, tensions increase and dormant memories claw to the surface"-

Maggie Stiefvater is the #1 New York times bestselling author of The Raven Cycle, the Shiver trilogy, and other novels for young and adult readers. She is also an artist, an auto enthusiast, and a bagpiper. She lives on a farm in the Shenandoah Valley with her husband, two children, and an assortment of fainting goats.

Morgan Beem is a freelance artist and member of the Jam House collective located in Denver, Colorado. Her work is predominantly in comics and illustration. She has worked on such properties as Adventure Time, Planet of the Apes, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer and is the co-creator of the comic The Family Trade, alongside writers Justin Jordan and Nikki Ryan, from Image Comics.

Walker and Alec Holland are identical twins, but they're different down to their roots: gregarious Walker is the life of the party, and though he tries to include his brother, Alec has never quite understood how to communicate with other people, preferring to experiment with plants. As the brothers spend their last summer before college in Virginia with their cousins, Alec goes deeper into his laboratory, and his plants begin to have strange effects on his body and his diabetes. At the same time, he meets a girl whose own experiments are deeply tied to the history of the town. Both Stiefvater's narrative, which flashes back and forth in time and is overlaid with Alec's philosophical recordings on plant life and death, and Beem's moody artwork, which uses split panels to great effect, play with ideas of duology and symbiosis. A moody green color palette, interrupted only by the otherworldly purple of Alec's plants or occasional dangerous burst of color, adds eerie atmosphere. It's a pensive, ambitious endeavor that will linger long with thoughtful teens.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Fans have flocked to Stiefvater's high-concept YA series (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, The Raven Cycle). Her first graphic novel serves up everything they love. Grades 9-12. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Twin brothers try to understand each other as their lives take separate paths. The Incredible Holland Bros may be identical twins, but their personalities couldn't be more distinct. Walker is the outgoing, thrill-seeking protector while Alec is the reserved plant whisperer. The boys are shipped off to Rappahannock, Virginia, to spend their last summer before college in the country with their cousins after catching their father cheating. Walker's easygoing disposition makes his transition smooth, but Alec's research on capturing and transferring the thoughts and memories of plants is disrupted when his cousin's dogs eat his specimen, which he's named Boris. The brothers grow apart as Walker becomes part of the local scene and Alec spends time in the high school lab working on his project. The summer heats up when a legendary tree is destroyed at a party, leading Alec to become his brother's protector and sinking him further into his experiment. There is a slow, choppy build to the story, with botanical information interspersed so readers understand the s cience behind Alec's research. Colors are used effectively, with green and earth tones indicating Alec's bond with nature while deep purples and blues show the effects of his experiments. The panels vary in shape and layout, maintaining visual interest. The twins appear White, but there is diversity among the cast. An unusual origin story for a lesser-known DC Universe hero. (Graphic fiction. 13-18) Copyright Kirkus 2020 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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