Every night, tiny lights appear out of the darkness in Sandy's bedroom. She catches them and creates wonderful creatures to play with until she falls asleep, and in the morning she brings them back to life in her whimsical drawings. When a mysterious new girl appears at school, Sandy's drawings are noticed for the first time...but Morfie's fascination with Sandy's talent soon turns into something far more sinister.Nightlights is a beautiful story about fear, insecurity, and creativity, from the enchanting imagination of Lorena Alvarez.A Junior Library Guild Selection - (Perseus Publishing)
When Sandy goes to bed at night, tiny lights float around her head, and if she captures them, she can transform them into whimsical, vivid creatures, which she spends the next day drawing. Sure, they distract her from her schoolwork, but a scolding from the nuns at her Catholic school isn't so bad. When her special abilities gain the attention of a strange new girl, Morfie, Sandy thinks she's just made a new friend. But in her dreams later that night, a twisted creature appears making cruel demands, and Sandy's drawings become less joyful. Though the conflict seems a bit underdeveloped and the ending comes too soon, Alvarez's stunning, Miyazaki-like illustrations are jaw-dropping. Sandy's dream creatures bubble up together in a jumbled cloud of interlinked, jewel-toned images, and when her dreams are invaded by the greedy creature, the images subtly shift into something menacing. Qualms about pacing aside, the sumptuous artwork, from the velvety palette to the invitingly rounded figures, is a pleasure to gaze at. Let's hope there's more where this came from. Copyright 2016 Booklist Reviews.
PW Annex Reviews
In a captivatingly eerie graphic novel from Colombian artist Alvarez, a young artist named Sandy finds the refuge of her imagination threatened by a mysterious interloper. For Sandy, it's easy to tap into a magical, Technicolor world of friendly, fantastical beasts—owls, giant octopi, tadpolelike creatures, and more—and those imaginings fuel her drawings. This changes when she befriends Morfie, a lavender-haired child who turns up at Sandy's Catholic school, which is run by strict nuns. Sandy's classmates don't notice Morfie, and when she later appears in Sandy's bedroom, she transforms into a sinister, spritelike creature. She begins to dictate how and what Sandy draws, raising uneasy questions about the way that critical opinions can influence an artist. "Once you realize that you need me to tell you... how brilliant you are... nothing will keep us apart!" the increasingly gruesome Morfie tells Sandy. Alvarez's haunting artwork features coiling plumes of lush colors and Miyazaki-esque beasts that create a sense of brooding melancholy. It's a deliciously hair-raising story that thoughtfully explores themes of isolation, creativity, and how social pressures can encroach on individuality. Ages 9–up Agency: Bright Group. (Mar.)
Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly Annex.