TOPSIDE by J.N. Monk

TOPSIDE

by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 12 - 17
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KIRKUS REVIEW

When a small mistake quickly snowballs, a young girl of color braves the strange surface of her planet to prove she can set things right.

In a crumbling subterranean society like the Interior, repair technicians are essential, and Jo Wilson is one of the best. Skilled, vigilant, and committed to doing her job well and without help, Jo wants nothing more than to demonstrate her competence and expand her opportunities to fix what is broken. So when a minor mistake turns into a major problem, Jo is determined to rectify the situation on her own (and ideally before any Interior agents take notice) by traveling to the planet’s ungoverned surface. But with forged papers, a clandestine mission, a con artist guide, and bounty hunters in pursuit, trouble is inevitable. Monk (editor: Enough Space for Everyone Else, 2016) has crafted a work that demonstrates the dynamic narrative balance so distinctive of science fiction in which a technology- and action-heavy plot is driven by thoughtful character motivations. Bogosian’s (Kringlewart and the Crookedest Christmas Tree, 2016) art follows through with visual depth for a planetary setting that literally comes alive and a refreshingly gender-expansive and racially diverse cast. Some readers may be a bit disappointed with a conclusion that falls short in narrative complexity, but the likelihood of sequels for further exploration is an effective balm.

Immersive, mysterious, and just the right amount of trippy. (Graphic science fiction. 12-17)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-5124-4589-3
Page count: 200pp
Publisher: Graphic Universe
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2019