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WIRES CROSSED by Beth Fantaskey Kirkus Star


by Beth Fantaskey ; illustrated by ONeillJones

Pub Date: April 30th, 2024
ISBN: 9780358395447
Publisher: Clarion/HarperCollins

A 13-year-old navigates middle school’s constantly shifting social dynamics.

Everything is changing for STEM-loving Mia. Her best friend, Addy, has been pulling away, seemingly more concerned with elevating her social standing. When Mia hears that Tariq, her bestie from science camp, is moving to her town, she’s initially excited—until she sees that Tariq has shed his bespectacled boyish look and is now confoundingly cute and sporty. Mia is suddenly keenly aware that her family (fanboy father, coupon-clipping mother, and insect-loving little brother), who once seemed lovably quirky, now embarrass her. When a teacher announces the school’s Science Olympics, Mia and Tariq decide to team up with artsy Kinsey and disorganized Evan. But the group’s dynamics begin to erode: Could Tariq and Kinsey like each other? As the school’s first dance and the Science Olympics near, Mia must reconcile first crushes, friendship squabbles, and the daily ups and downs of the constantly changing landscape of middle school. Fantaskey’s endearing stand-alone graphic novel captures the gentle angst of this age with pitch-perfection, combining empathetic characters with gentle humor that’s reminiscent of the work of Kayla Miller and Raina Telgemeier. Vivid full-color illustrations in tidily arranged panels highlight facial expressions, emphasizing the characters’ emotions throughout. Mia’s dad has brown skin and straight black hair; her light-skinned mom is blond and blue-eyed, and there’s racial diversity in the supporting cast.

An achingly authentic and relatable examination of adolescent friendship.

(Graphic fiction. 8-12)