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Who Is AC? Hardcover – April 16, 2013


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The latest in The Imaginary Veterinary series includes bonus writing, art, and science activities that will help readers discover more about its featured mythological creatures. Activities are designed for the home and the classroom. Learn more about the author, Suzanne Selfors
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (April 16, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442465409
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442465404
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,842,339 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up-This contemporary superhero story is a departure for Larson, who has previously done a graphic adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time (Farrar, 2012) as well as stories of magical realism. Three central characters reside in Barnhurst: new girl Lin is devoted to the creation of her zine, which she prints at a local photocopy establishment. To date she has sold one copy. Mel works at a local costume shop, providing period attire for tourist photographs. From home she blogs about her personal life, especially the pain following the accidental death of her horse. Trace is the nerdy photocopy shop manager, harboring a not-too-secret crush on Mel. Life changes for these teens when Lin uses her cell phone to report an attempted robbery. She inadvertently presses a button that dramatically transforms her into a superhero and subdues the would-be thief. She is baffled, exclaiming afterward, "What a rush! That happened, right? There's no way that happened." Meanwhile Mel connects with a shadowy online individual who promises to erase her heartbreaking blog posts. He exerts his influence to digitally transform Mel into a troll. With assistance from Trace, Lin frees Mel from her troll state and life resumes its familiar routine. Not surprisingly, a final panel image of Lin's cell phone suggests her superhero adventures will continue. Main characters are well developed with clear motives. Segues between scenes have a cinematic feel and effectively move the story forward. Pantoja's heavy black-line drawings, large eyes, and angled action panels give the art a mangalike appearance.-Barbara M. Moon, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NYα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Known for graphic novels steeped in magic realism, author Larson (Chiggers, 2008; Mercury, 2009) now adds the superhero genre to her repertoire of coming-of-age stories. Two story lines run alongside each other here. One is about Mel, who pours her feelings at the loss of a beloved friend into her online diary only to have her grief manipulated by a powerful cyberstalker. The other is about Lin, who answers a mysterious cell-phone call and transforms into a superhero charged with saving Mel. Both girls are controlled via technology, but only Lin is conscious of the changes taking place, forcing her to incorporate her new powers into her life, ready or not. Clever plotting and Pantoja’s expressive, manga-influenced artwork help to pull the reader through the intertwining stories, setting up a strong introduction to what will surely become a series. Fans of Naoko Takeuchi’s Sailor Moon will find a lot to like here, and the added technological twist adds a freshness to the subgenre. Grades 9-12. --Eva Volin --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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That's the author projecting there, not the reader.
Rachel Nabors
At first, she's really excited, but then later, when it's distracting her from writing, she says "I want to write the hero, not be the hero... don't I?"
Ellen W.
Tintin Pantoja did a fairly good job on the art, but there are some parts of the graphic novel where the characters don't look right.
Michael Link

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ellen W. VINE VOICE on September 18, 2013
Format: Paperback
My reaction upon finding "Who Is AC?" at the library: A magical girl story set in the States? Cool!
My reaction upon finishing "Who Is AC?": Well, that was weird.

The problem here isn't the premise, which is actually pretty original. I like the idea of a magical girl fighting to help people extricate themselves from their online identities. But the execution is terrible. The characters are poorly developed, for one. We're told she's lonely after moving to a new town, but see very little evidence of this. She does sigh over a picture of her old friends, but the next scene takes place two months later, and she's completely fine. We see little of the writing that's so important to her and the struggles she has with it. Another character, Mel, writes on her blog about how she wishes she could erase everything she's posted online, and this is supposed to be the major theme of the graphic novel. However, this is the only time I can remember her bringing it up. Most of her angst is about problems in the real world: how boys treat her like a trophy, how her friends tease her about being rich, and the loss of someone called "Hunter." And we're told more than shown at that. At one point, she adamantly tells someone that she doesn't want to talk about what's upsetting her, then gives a full exposition the moment he says "please."The final character, Trace, is confusing, sometimes caring about Mel, then dismissing her when she's upset. He's got a grudge against Lin in her super-hero form because, during her transformation, she unwittingly knocks him off his bike and he drops his glasses (which he doesn't spend much time looking for). He's out to ruin her reputation online.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Lin is the fifteen year old bi-racial daughter of a pair of academicians new to the New England college town of Barnhurst (population 2,647). Precocious in her literary ambitions, she sells copies of her self-published swashbuckling serial, The Travels of Rhea Ironheart, on consignment at the local bookstore. She has also just become a superheroine. When the binary string 00101111 01101101 01100101 (translating to "/me", an Internet Relay Chat command and the name of a shadowy villain) appears on her cellphone, she is -- through some vague mechanism of the mysterious internet reminiscent of Freakazoid! -- equipped with a Sailor Moon inspired costume and a digital clock spear with powers that are yet ill-defined. When her first outing results in the inadvertent loss of a bystander's spectacles, he angrily blogs about the event and dubs her AC, short for Anonymous Coward (the default name for unregistered users on slashdot.com). Larson's story has all the hallmarks of a modern superhero origin story: mysterious powers, mysterious supporting characters, plot threads planted with the promise of future payoff and heaps of genre-awareness. Pantoja's art is manga-influenced and shows confidence in altering panel arrangements to influence a scene's tone. In the tradition of The Wizard of Oz, day-to-day events are depicted in shaded black & white, while AC's costume and other superheroic elements are given a purple dichromatic treatment. While Lin begins her sophomore year of high school at the end of the book, Larson's characterization does not read like that of a high school student, instead skewing toward middle grades, which may be the best audience for this interesting first installment.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There really isn't one word to describe "Who Is AC?" It's a super hero magical girl teen drama with philosophical views on how someone builds up nonlinear personas. It's very unique.

The execution, however, needs some work. Don't get me wrong, because I really enjoyed the book. Writer Hope Larson said that she was watching a lot of Sailor Moon when she wrote this a few years ago and it shows (there was even a badly placed name drop). I'm a huge fan of Sailor Moon and I know where she is pulling her inspiration from. Since this was written as a stand-alone pilot episode, there was only so much to work with. I would have liked to see more of the "Trolls" and the reasoning behind them. It's like the author wanted to say "everything you portray online could mislead others or harm you one day", which is a great thing to say to the intended teenaged target audience. Hopefully if this becomes a series, it would take the intended message and expand on it.

Being an artist I always feel the need to pick apart the art. Tintin Pantoja did a fairly good job on the art, but there are some parts of the graphic novel where the characters don't look right. Sometimes her poses are stiff and unconvincing. Sometimes the backgrounds disappear into whitespace (usually intended, but there isn't any balance to the frame). The grayscale mixed with purple was very effective and it was my favorite part of the rendering, but the way that the publisher has it printed showed the color fills over the black. (I think whoever sent this to the printers didn't merge the layers in the original files....)

The overall quality of the book was average and I'm giving it three stars. I like Hope Larson and Tintin is a very talented artist. Hopefully there is a book two in the series that will make the series' message shine through while still being entertaining.
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