From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Let's be clear right up front. This book expects to be taken seriously. Imbued with the same deadly sober earnestness and hard-bitten sentimentality as Vachss' Burke novels, the story has some serious shit to lay on you. A nameless child, an outcast by age nine, finds his mother and her hated boyfriend apparently shot to death, and we follow along as he ends up with Pops, a gruff but impossibly wise grandfather figure, who teaches him to damned well show some backbone. Presented in a unique 10-by-13-inch, wide-screen format, Heart Transplant is not a graphic novel per se but rather has images free-floating among passages of dialogue and prose. This chiaroscuro impressionism, as if the world were being viewed through a haze of charcoal and shadow, creates powerful and evocative visuals for a ham-handed reworking of an admittedly important message: stand up for yourself. Worth adding to a collection on the strength of its design and images, or for readers who really need the message hammered home.--Karp, Jesse Copyright 2010 Booklist