Graphic Novel Review: Beetle & the Hollowbones by Aliza Layne

Beetle & the Hollowbones by Aliza Layne. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2020. 9781534441538. 256pp.

Beetle loves hanging out at the mall with her friend Blob Ghost, which is good because BG can’t leave the mall. Beetle’s grandma keeps trying to teach her goblin magic, but Beetle doesn’t think potions are real magic. Her friend Kat has just come back to town to apprentice with her aunt, Marla Hollowbone. Kat’s having the kind of success with magic that Beetle believes she can only dream of, but it’s Kat’s life that’s the nightmare — Kat’s aunt is a seriously nasty piece of work, and that nastiness goes wide when she tries to force Beetle’s Gran out of her job and to destroy the mall where BG lives. Beetle has to save BG by finding a way for him to escape the mall before he’s buried in the rubble, and to save her friend Kat from her aunt, too.

This is a beautiful little book about friendship with (what I assume is) superb digital art. The whole thing is just wonderful, and a great read-alike for Molly Ostertag’s Witch Boy graphic novels. Worth noting: Layne is the creator of the all-ages webcomic Demon Street.



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