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. Seventeen-year-old Willow Zimmerman has something to say. When she’s not on the streets advocating for her community, she’s volunteering at the local pet shelter. She seeks to help all those in need, even the stray dog she’s named Lebowitz that follows her around. But as much as she does for the world around her, she struggles closer to home-taking care of her mother, recently diagnosed with cancer. In desperation, she reconnects with her estranged “uncle” Edward, and he opens the door to an easier life. Through simple jobs, such as hosting his private poker nights with Gotham City’s elites, she is able to keep her family afloat-and afford critical medical treatments for her mother. Then one night, Willow and Lebowitz collide with the monstrous Killer Croc and get injured, waking up able to understand each other. But when Willow discovers that Edward and his friends are actually some of Gotham’s most corrupt criminals, she must make a choice: remain loyal to the man who kept her family together, or use her new powers to be a voice for her community.
Whistle: A New Gotham City HeroFeaturedNew
When her mother's old friend returns to Willow's life, Edward wants to help in any way he can, even though her mom won't return his messages. After claiming to be free of drugs, he offers Willow the job of a lifetime that'll bring in lots of money. All she has to do is arrange locations for his gambling friends and coordinate everything. This is a dream come true for Willow because she can finally get her mom the help she needs. But along the way, Willow may just lose herself in the process. Not to mention Kill Croc is out to get anyone working for Edward. After an accident, something amazing changes inside Willow and it opens her eyes to everything she's capable of.
The illustrations are beautiful and the color scheme fits the overall theme of the book. I love the bright orange, green, and blues the illustrator incorporates. The characters are written in a way that makes you fall in love with them and hope for the best, like Garfield, Whistle, her mom, and even Lebowitz. WHISTLE will captivate your attention and tug at your heartstrings with each page you turn. I can't wait for more about this new hero who fights for her city most of all because she loves it and wants it to become the best it can.
Final Verdict: WHISTLE is a graphic novel with all the feels and is perfect for fans of superheroes, comics, diversity, and overall themes of friendship and coming of age.
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!