The Good Neighbors, Book Three: Kind
written by Holly Black
illustrated by Ted Naifeh
Holly Black is well-known for writing edgy teen and kids prose books like the Spiderwick Chronicles and Tithe. When she decided to create a graphic novel series called The Good Neighbors, she pulled out all the stops, creating one of the most vivid and compulsively readable YA series around. The third and final book more than lives up to the dark, brooding promise of the first two books, giving Rue Silver’s journey a fitting conclusion.
The series was built on Rue’s discovery that she was half human and half faerie. This startling mystery was coupled with haunting visions, a missing mother, and the revelation that her grandfather was an evil faerie overlord seeking to take over the world. The constant struggle for Rue has always been which side she belonged on: Should she take her rightful place at her grandfather’s side, or should she fight alongside her friends against the forces of evil?
Black’s writing is strong throughout all three books, but even better, it is never dumbed down for its audience. The Good Neighbors has always been dark and suspenseful, and it truly lives up to that in Kind, yet it remains perfectly suited to its teen audience.
Artist Ted Naifeh is just as much a star in these books as Black. His staunch black-and-white illustrations give life to the series vividly. Under his sturdy pencils, the series has been able to really take flight. You can see the anguish thoroughly expressed on Rue’s face as she struggles with the dual sides of her nature, unsure of what it all means but struggling to maintain the humanity she has always known.
Kind wraps up all the loose ends of the storyline. The resolution—which I won’t give away here—is fitting and earned. It’s sad to see such a good series come to a close, but here’s hoping that Black will be back soon with something new and equally enticing.