art for NightschoolChmakova, Svetlana. (2009). Nightschool: The Weirn Books Vol 1. New York, NY: Yen Press

Chmakova, Svetlana. (2009). Nightschool: The Weirn Books Vol 2. New York, NY: Yen Press

Chmakova, Svetlana. (2010). Nightschool: The Weirn Books Vol 3. New York, NY: Yen Press

Chmakova, Svetlana. (2010). Nightschool: The Weirn Books Vol 4. New York, NY: Yen Press

Plot Summary:

Alex Trevaney is a witch, and cursed besides.  Her only friends are Sarah, her older sister and guardian, and a cookie stealing astral.  So when Sarah doesn’t come home one morning, Alex has no one she can turn to for help.  All Alex knows is that the last time she saw Sarah, she was headed for her shift as the new Night Guardian at the Nightschool for supernatural beings.  Now it’s up to Alex to save her sister by doing the one thing she’s managed to avoid all these years: enroll in school.

Critical Evaluation:

Nightschool does not, unfortunately, always manage to stay on the useful side of the confusing vs. mysterious divide.  It is, however, a fun and fast-paced read with a rich backdrop and cast of characters that will leave teens wanting more.  Chmakova’s artwork is almost uniformly readable and more than occasionally elegant.  As will surprise no one that has read Dramacon!, Chmakova is capable of conveying a remarkable complexity and depth of feeling with just a few words and glances; she is also particularly adept at balancing this out with humor and magical explosions.

Reader’s Annotation:

Alex Trevaney has survived curses, unruly astrals, and living with her sister.  But now she might just have to face the one thing she’s avoided for so long: school.

Author Information:

Chmakova has several sites, but she does not seem to update any of them regularly.



Graphic Novel

Booktalking Ideas:

What would you do to save your only sister?  Would you face demons and witches?  Battle creatures you’ve never even heard of before?  Would you brave the halls of…high school?

Reading Level/Target Age:

4th grade/ages 12 -16

Potential Controversy:

As teen manga goes, this is an incredibly innocuous series.  There is magic and a small amount of gore and, being manga, finding all of it it is as easy as flipping the pages.  However, this shouldn’t bother anyone who isn’t already protesting Harry Potter.  As long as the titles remain properly filed in the teen section, it’s highly unlikely that this will prompt any kind of objections.

Reasons for Choosing This Title:

I am a huge Dramacon! fan and was quite eager to see if Nightschool was just as good.


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