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Hopeless Maine

Author/Illustrator: Tom and Nimue Brown


Grade levels: 6-8, 9-12

Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Adventure

Special Attractions: Female Lead Characters, Teen Lead Characters, Multicultural Lead Characters

Synopsis: Being Hopeless isn’t just a state of mind. Trapped on an island off the coast of Maine, the people of Hopeless find life a little darker and more dangerous with every day that passes. The number of orphans rises continually, but who can say what happens to their parents? Plenty of the bodies are never found. This is not the stuff of happy, careless childhoods, it is instead fertile ground for personal demons. In Hopeless, the demons are not always abstract concepts. Some of them have very real teeth, and very real horns. The island has been isolated for a very long time. Partly because of being small and forgotten, partly because the rocks and currents do not encourage visitors, Hopeless is surrounded by fog and overrun with nightmarish creatures, from small things with tentacles to demons and vampires. It’s a peculiar place. Here, almost anything can happen, from the weird and unsettling to the darkly funny. With a cast of freaks, nutters and the odd power crazed psychopath, life in Hopeless is seldom dull. Hopeless is also about who you choose to be. The tale is a protest against apathy, and against the small evils that everyone takes for granted. The worst monsters frequently aren’t the ones with the obvious teeth – who are merely dangerous by nature – but the apparently ordinary people who choose to do hideous things.

Note: Available as a webcomic and also in two print titles:

• Hopeless Maine vol 1: Personal Demons

• Hopeless Maine vol 2: Inheritance

Comic Book Resources review

Awards: ALA’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens 2013