Mother. Gone. Memory. Gone. Seventeen-year-old high school senior Raven rebuilds her life in New Orleans after a car accident takes away everything she knows.
Raven now lives with her late mother’s sister, a voodoo priestess and “the Mother of Souls,” and her daughter. Raven searches for clues to her past while navigating conventional teenage social problems: a mean girl and a cute boy. She also contends with other people’s emotions invading her mind and the tricky tendency for her own mean thoughts to manifest into reality. While she cannot remember anything from before the accident, she suffers continual nightmares featuring a multieyed spirit. A compelling storyline pulls readers into Raven’s turmoil, guiding them competently through the floating panels of expressive artwork. The muted palette pairs perfectly with the noir tone of Raven’s search for her origins. The respectful but not extremely nuanced inclusion of matriarchal African heritage religions such as voodoo is more empowering than campy. In one notable scene, the spirits of dead “mothers, daughters, sisters, and grandmothers, voodoo queens and warrior women of O’rleans” are called forward to gather and vanquish evil alongside Raven. Picolo’s (Icarus and the Sun, 2018, etc.) ghostly images of girls and women from different eras erupting from their graves to surround and support their earthbound sisters elicit good chills. The diverse cast is indicated through names and variations in skin tone.
Well-paced and thrilling; readers will fly high with Raven’s tale. (Graphic fiction. 14-18)