- Age Range: 12 and up
- Grade Level: 8 - 9
- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: Minx; 1st edition (July 22, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1401211542
- ISBN-13: 978-1401211547
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,047,865 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The New York Four Paperback – July 22, 2008
"The Other Woman" by Sandie Jones
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From School Library Journal
Grade 10 Up–Riley enters into a standardized test beta with three NYU classmates in order to make some money to get an apartment together. A good student with limited social skills due to her controlling, academic parents, the teen relies heavily on online interactions. As she begins to get to know her classmates and to reconnect with her outcast older sister, a secret virtual relationship threatens to destabilize everything. Wood is known for incorporating a strong sense of place into his comic work, and, while this is a story about growing up and learning to communicate, the classic bohemian fixtures of clubs and brownstones, and the inclusion of New York City landmarks, help make the book feel grounded. Kelly's energetic artwork conveys a sense of activity and movement. His portrayal of one character, Merissa, tends toward caricature more than the others, and panels are occasionally too busy to find the focus of the scene easily, but the detailed settings are nicely evocative. Wood tries to do too much, resulting in a scattered set-up of Riley's classmates' individual stories–glimpses of what are surely the main focuses of future volumes–leaving readers with what is disappointingly not quite an entire story, but one that is superbly told.–Benjamin Russell, Belmont High School, NH
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
As in Local and DMZ, indie superstar Wood shows great skill in writing extremely appealing and occasionally infuriating female leads. All four of the college freshmen at the center of this tale are well realized, but it’s shy, sheltered Riley who is the focus of this girlcentric offering. Riley’s life is packed with drama as she meets up with her estranged older sister and struggles to balance school, family, and a mysterious new boyfriend—whom she has never met but texts to the point of obsession. Kelly’s art, filled with expressive, idiosyncratic faces and figures, matches Wood’s indie street cred with gritty depictions of the Lower East Side. He captures actual New York locations with nearly photographic accuracy, matching Wood’s affection for the city, itself made obvious by the passages of hipster, travel-guide stuff packed into the story. Despite a disturbingly ambiguous ending, this graphic novel will delight readers on the cusp of discovering their own independence. Grades 10-12. --Jesse Karp
Top customer reviews
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It's a fun concept for a graphic novel, and with an illustrator as talented as Kelly, one whose work so effortlessly captures real life and true human features, it's a natural. Wood unfortunately dips into pedantry at times with his descriptions (he assumes his audience is not only completely unaware of New York, but also doesn't know who Bob Dylan and Jim Morrison are). No matter. The New York Four has more than enough charm to make up for this, starting with the fact that it's delightfully free of melodrama. It's not purposely dark and insular.
While The New York Four is ostensibly about four friends, the title could just as easily be about the 4 subway train. That's how deeply into the heart of the city the book delves, and how much it succeeds in capturing the look and feel of the city. The story centers primarily on just one of the gang of four (the other three are fascinating too, but they're seen primarily in sequel-preparing glimpses). Riley is a native New Yorker, but her freshman year at NYU is her first trip into Manhattan. She's been raised by obsessively overprotective parents in Brooklyn, pushed to excel academically but not allowed to develop her own interests. Even her personality is sheltered and underformed.
Riley's older sister was sheltered the same way, but she managed to escape years ago and hasn't spoken to her parents ever since. Now living with her boyfriend in downtown Manhattan, she's the wild child Riley longs to be, and her influence helps Riley to finally exert some of her own personality.
The New York Four centers mostly on Riley's quest for independence and her burgeoning social life, as well as her flirty text-message-only relationship with a mysterious stranger known only as Sneakerfreak. Riley and Sneakerfreak finally meet face-to-face in the final act of the novel, and it leads to the most surprising twist of the story and positions Riley and the rest of her cohorts for more interesting journeys in the city that never sleeps. That's good news. It will be fun to spend some more time--and to get plenty more New York City tips and tricks--in subsequent stories.
-- John Hogan
To be honest, I originally wanted to hold off on getting this book because of its target demographic, but as soon as I saw the preview art on it I was sold. The art was every bit as good as Local's and Brian's writing was just as good.
I loved the format as well, I've always wanted to read a manga sized American comic. It has the same feel as a manga volume and it has the structure of one too. It's broken down into bite sized chapters, much like in manga, and you can easily finish reading it in about an hour or so (if you're a slow reader like me).
Like in Local, we have a female protaganist, Riley, who has just enrolled into NYU. She's a quiet character though and that dynamic soon comes into play; she has to fend for herself right from the get-go and she soon finds that university is just the beginning of her struggles. But, thankfully, she has help in the form of her girlfriends. Before long, this book unfolds pretty much the way you expect it to, 'girl' problems abound.
In other words, its just like Local but with a lighter tone. And that's great if you want more of that kind of storytelling. If you aren't looking for another Local, then I'm afraid you may find yourself getting bored very quickly. My suggestion would be to read the preview first and see if you like it; that's what I did and that paid off big time; this book will be a permanant fixture on my bookshelf.
This was a good book. Was it the Citizen Kane of comics? No, but it was a fun read, that rang true with what it is like during your first semester in college, as well as the landscape of New York City. The city felt alive in every since of the word, it felt as much as a character as Riley and her friends and family do.
I was unaware until the end that this is the first of what will be a line of books. Which I am very happy about, I cannot wait to see what happens next in the girls' lives. There are story elements that felt unfinished at the end, like Lona's story with her teacher. This will, I assume, be resolved in a up coming book, but felt like some kind of closer should have been put in, even if it ended up being a cliffhanger.
Ryan Kelly's artwork is wonderful, the panel flow is great, but still has stuff in the background that is interesting to look at. My only problem is that the girls look older then the college freshmen they are suppose to be. But Kelly's use of zip-a-tone has, and still amazes me.
I did find it a little tacky how ever that the book had 24 pages of previews for other Minx books in the back.