Thursday, June 22, 2017

Nightlights by Lorena Alvarez

Somehow I had thought this was a picture book and the beautiful cover made me eager to read it. So when I popped it open I got a bit of a surprise!

Sandy lives in her own world, where every night she dreams of the strange creatures she draws in a magical, wonderful place. But during the day she goes to school with mean nuns and indifferent classmates. But then she meets Morfie, a new girl at school. Morfie is different, with her white hair and gray eyes. She loves Sandy's drawings and can't get enough of them. But is there something...strange about Morfie? And what is going wrong with with Sandy's worlds? Her beautiful, magical escape is becoming a terrifying prison and Morfie no longer seems like the friend she was at first. Sandy will need to be strong and believe in herself if she's going to escape this new, frightening place and truly own her art.

Alvarez' art glows on the page with rich greens, blues, and pinks swirling in Sandy's dream world. Her every day world is often gray and boring, but also comforting in its ordinary things and colors. Sandy's isolation from the other girls at school is shown as she sits alone in the field at recess, isolated both by her own choice and her artistic leanings. The scenes grow increasingly gruesome and creepy and Morfie takes over both Sandy's real and dream world and then retreats as Sandy triumphs in her own mind. Overall, the book seems like a scene from a Miyazaki movie; rich in imagery and imagination, glorious in color and fantasy, and featuring an emotionally strong girl finding her true self.

Verdict: A beautiful, magical story that will appeal to fantasy-lovers and budding artists.

ISBN: 9780910620137; Published 2017 by Nobrow; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

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