Five years after her big brother’s death, Jaycee tries to understand who he was—and who she’s become—by visiting the urban ruins he loved to explore.
Ever since her brother, Jake, died performing a drunken stunt on the night of his high school graduation, Jaycee’s life has been a wreck. She decides to mark her own high school graduation by following in her brother’s daredevil footsteps and visiting the decrepit sites marked on his old urban-exploring map. Along the way, she reconnects with some old confidants, including her former best friend and one of Jake’s childhood buddies, who are struggling with their own fears and heartbreak during this transitional summer. McCarthy rotates the narration among the ensemble, telling the story through a hybrid format with multiple points of view and techniques. Chapters of conventional first- or third-person narration are interspersed with visual art and passages of graphic storytelling, complete with panels and speech bubbles. It’s unfortunate that the bland black-and-white illustrations of the graphic passages, with their repetitive facial expressions and generic backgrounds, fail to convey the story’s intense emotions or unique settings in the same way that Jaycee’s sarcastic, world-weary first-person narration captures her rage, grief, and confusion.
This ambitious storytelling experiment has decidedly uneven results. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 14-18)