When the early European settlers journeyed overseas to America over 400 years ago, they brought more than just their hopes and dreams for a better life. They brought over something so terrifying and dark that no trace of it remains documented anywhere—neither in their memories nor in the pages of history books: They brought over their monsters. So begins the premise of The Lollipop Kids, a young adult graphic novel series dreamed up by the creative father-son team of Adam and Aidan Glass with artwork by Diego Yapur.

This first volume begins with a dyslexic fourteen-year-old named Nick, who recounts the present and flashbacks of the back story After his older sister Mia fails to come home one night, he scouts around Central Park in New York City the next day to find her. Life has never been the same since he, Mia, and their mom were robbed at gunpoint one evening, leaving him and his sister as sole survivors of the attack. While searching for Mia, an enormous werewolf leaps out of the bushes and prepares to pounce on him only to be subdued by a mysterious group of kids. Nick quickly learns that they belong to a secret society known as the Lollipop Kids—a magically armed team of youth descended from ancient times to guard Greenward Forrest where the monsters were imprisoned long ago, known today as Central Park. It turns out that centuries ago, the immigrants of old assumed the role of Sentinels to trap and lock away these monsters from ancient legend, myth, and folklore. The denizens of the dark and their leader placed a curse on the Sentinels, wiping out their memories when they reached adulthood, relegating the next generation of kids to carry on this sacred tradition, as these monsters have now sprung loose.

A bit heavy handed with filling in background information at times, the plot later turns to Nick’s unique perspective as he grapples with his dyslexia while absorbing an entirely foreign world steeped in dark fantasy and lore. The dark, misty background creates a supernatural ambience wrapped in mystery. Deep shades of blue and night scenes resonate with gothic flair, as do the monsters that occupy half to full-page panels, hearkening back to characters from Grimm’s fairy tales and the classic horror flicks produced by Universal Pictures.

Blending a mix of present-day New York City culture and vibes, mythic folklore, and supernatural intrigue, The Lollipop Kids unleashes a generous dose of enchantment and dark adventure from the compelling voice of a lone teenager. Character elements of disability and mixed race identity add an intersectional layer of diverse representation for teen graphic novel collections. The father-son team behind this series offers a fun spin on a reimagined mythology in a contemporary setting, paving the path for more fascinating adventures.

The Lollipop Kids, Volume One: Things That Go Bump in the Night
By Adam Glass,
Art by Diego Yapur
Seismic Press, 2022
ISBN: 9781949028775

Publisher Age Rating: YA

NFNT Age Recommendation: Teen (13-16)
Character Representation: Black, Dyslexia,

  • Jerry

    | He/Him Information Strategist, San Francisco Public Library

    Reviewer

    By day, Jerry Dear, APALA member and Information Strategist at the San Francisco Public Library tackles research questions in the Periodicals department. He also teaches in the Library Information Technology department at City College of San Francisco. By night, he serves the Asian American community and ventures into the vibrant literary arts and graphic novel scene. In whatever time remains, he indulges in comics, anime, manga, and Asian American literature and film.

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