Kirkus Reviews QR Code
SUNBURN by Andi Watson


by Andi Watson ; illustrated by Simon Gane

Pub Date: Nov. 29th, 2022
ISBN: 978-1-5343-2233-2
Publisher: Image Comics

A girl in mid-20th-century England grows up quickly during a summer holiday in Greece.

Sixteen-year-old Rachel Collingwood lives in a modest row house and has never been abroad. She expects to spend the summer working at the butcher’s and going with her parents on their usual caravan holiday at the Essex seaside. An unexpected invitation to instead join Peter and Diane Warner, her parents’ glamorous, childless friends, is too good to pass up. Staying at the Warners’ hilltop Greek villa, Rachel is awed by effortlessly chic Diane, who shares her lipstick and sundresses, and debonair Peter, who introduces her to alcohol as they dine alfresco in the Mediterranean sunshine. The couple trot Rachel out at parties and connect her with the only other young person in their circle—Benjamin, an attractive young Englishman working at the tennis club and hoping to curry connections that will help him land a job with upward mobility. Rachel and Benjamin fall into what seems like a typical holiday romance; as time passes, however, it is increasingly clear that this insular community of expats is hiding secrets, leading to innocent Rachel’s experiencing feelings of shock and betrayal. The spare dialogue flows naturally, propelling the story forward. The luminous, evocative artwork steals the show with its palette of blues and sandy browns accentuated with occasional pops of red and yellow. This is a contemplative study of a girl battered and disillusioned by her first glimpses of adult complexities.

Atmospheric and nostalgic.

(Graphic fiction. 16-adult)