Featured Review: Whistle: A New Gotham City Hero (E. Lockhart)
About This Book:
From New York Times bestselling author E. Lockhart (Genuine Fraud, We Were Liars) and artist Manuel Preitano (The Oracle Code) comes a new Gotham City superhero in this exciting YA graphic novel.
Sixteen-year-old Willow Zimmerman has something to say. When she's not on the streets protesting City Hall's neglect of her run-down Gotham neighborhood, she's working nights at the local dog shelter. But despite how much she does for the world around her, she's struggling to take care of her sick mother at home. She's got no time for boys (though there's one she really likes), and no means to adopt the amazingly loyal stray Great Dane, Lebowitz, that follows her around.
Without health insurance and with money running out, a desperate Willow reconnects with an estranged family friend E. Nigma--party promoter, and real estate tycoon. Nigma opens the door to an easier life, offering Willow a new job hosting his glamorous private poker nights with Gotham City's elites. Now Willow is able to afford critical medical treatments for her mother and get a taste of the high life she's never had.
Then everything changes: Willow and Lebowitz are attacked by one of Gotham's most horrific villains, the monstrous Killer Croc. When they wake after the fight, they can understand each other. And Willow has powers she never dreamed of.
When Willow discovers that Nigma and his poker buddies are actually some of Gotham's most corrupt criminals, she must make a choice: remain loyal to the man who saved her mother's life, or use her new powers to save her community.
*Review Contributed by Olivia Farr, Staff Reviewer*
WHISTLE: A NEW GOTHAM CITY HERO is an engaging graphic novel with a superhero origin story. Willow is 16 years old and barely holding her life together. She lives with her mother in Down River Gotham, a place with little money that seems to be falling apart around them. She is working on petitions to get money for education/schools and trying to make her community better - something that feels fruitless at times. Her mother teaches, but she has a brain tumor for which treatment is too expensive. Willow works at a dog rescue to help pay some of the bills, but it's not enough.
Then, a man from her childhood comes back into her life. Her mother had cutoff contact due to his addiction and potential danger to Willow. Now, he is sober - and he has money that he is willing to give to Willow to help her and her mother. He also has a job offer to work for his illegal gambling ring, which can earn Willow a lot of money - but is dangerous and goes against what she believes in. As she participates, Willow must reevaluate her priorities and decide who she wants to be and how.
What I loved: This is a heartfelt story about kindness, caring, and trying to make the world a better place. The novel does a great job of capturing Willow's emotions and her struggles that lead her to a place where she would accept a job that goes against her principles - and then lead to the fallout that makes her reevaluate her decisions. Told in different parts as her life changes, the book also captures the problem of unequal wealth distribution, greed, and the need for kindness towards fellow humans. Willow is someone who cares a lot, and I loved seeing her gain strength and come into her own.
The villains in the story were also really interesting, and one in particular was really well-developed, and I appreciated hearing her story - and where it seemed to go off the rails. She was fully realized, and the story was stronger for it. The villains are not cartoonish and exist outside of their misdeeds.
The illustration style was really stunning, and I loved the way Willow, her friends, and mother come to life in the story. The color scheme evolves over time in a way that evokes the appropriate emotions and keeps the reader hooked in the story. The art was really beautiful, and I particularly appreciated the detailed backgrounds that elevated the panels throughout.
Final verdict: With fantastic illustrations and a heartfelt storyline, WHISTLE: A NEW GOTHAM CITY HERO is a graphic novel to lose yourself in. This is one that I will eagerly be following for more!
*Find More Info & Buy This Book HERE!*