Book Reviews

Review: Whistle: A New Gotham City Hero by E. Lockhart and illustrated by Manuel Preitano

As someone who’s trying to keep getting into the DC universe, I was so excited for Whistle. I’ve been loving this YA author crossovers and so I’ve been trying to keep up with them. That’s why I was so excited for Whistle, but I had some issues by the end. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.


Sixteen-year-old Willow Zimmerman has something to say. When she’s not on the streets advocating for her community, she’s volunteering at the local pet shelter. She seeks to help all those in need, even the stray dog she’s named Lebowitz that follows her around. But as much as she does for the world around her, she struggles closer to home–taking care of her mother, recently diagnosed with cancer. Her job as an adjunct professor of Jewish studies does not provide adequate health insurance–and Willow can see that time is running out.

When in desperation she reconnects with her estranged “uncle” Edward, he opens the door to an easier life. Through simple jobs, such as hosting his private poker nights with Gotham City’s elites, she is able to keep her family afloat–and afford critical medical treatments for her mother.

Willow’s family life quickly improves through the income provided by these jobs, but it comes at the cost of distancing herself from the people she truly cares about. Her time is now spent on new connections, such as biologist and teacher Pammie Isley. And when Willow and Lebowitz collide with the monstrous Killer Croc outside the local synagogue, they are both injured, only to wake up being able to understand each other. And there are other developments, too…strange ways in which they’ve become stronger together. Willow’s activism kicks into high gear–with these powers, she can really save the world!

But when Willow discovers that Edward and his friends are actually some of Gotham’s most corrupt criminals, she must make a choice: remain loyal to the man who kept her family together, or use her new powers to be a voice for her community.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

I began reading Whistle and was really enjoying it. The cancer story line got me in the feels. Was I tearing up? Maybe. Combined with the fact that Willow is demonstrating in the streets and an activist teen? I loved that and felt like it was so fresh to see – I can’t remember the last YA contemporary fantasy graphic novel where I saw that! It gave me hope. At the same time, the way Willow is torn between what she needs to do for her family versus her knowing what’s right and wrong.

That hit me hard because often we are forced into situations like that. And the ways Lockhart examines the ways its changed who she is, her lifestyle, and her values? That was a great angle to see. My major complaint has to be the ending. I felt like it was wrapped up extremely hastily – especially considering the pacing of the beginning – and it felt like there wasn’t a sense of resolution. It felt very much like an incomplete storyline. I felt like we were moving towards a moment of climax in the story, and then it ended?


So while I had such high hopes, especially from the beginning, I felt confused and uncertain about the ending. Would I read a sequel of this storyline/character? I’m not ruling it out, but I just felt like even if this was the beginning of a series, it didn’t feel complete. Find Whistle: A New Gotham City Hero on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


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