Claudia Jones’ spell at Blithedale High comes to a close—and, just as abruptly, the otherworldly teen’s purpose is apparent.
But what of the others? Unearthing her confidence as a gay teen, Paula prepares to proclaim her newfound identity publicly. Johanna, meanwhile, is not quite ready for their blossoming relationship to be exposed. Left to address her faults, Emily retreats inward and reflects on her former friendship with Paula. Nigel’s parents now seem happier with each other, and Nigel wonders if it’s all thanks to his mysterious crush, Claudia. After his mother passes away, Brett isolates himself further, struggling to reconnect with his best friend, Johanna, as well as his estranged father. All fired up, Celine decides to confront her rapist the only way she knows how. On the margins, but just as integral in this tale, is Paula’s spurned ex-boyfriend Darren, a survivor (and perpetrator) of abuse whose inner demons may decide the fates of everyone involved. Truthfully, Volume 3 contains an overabundance of momentous moments to untangle, but MariNaomi’s (Gravity’s Pull, 2019, etc.) skills as an artist shine on through humor and sensitivity to the subject matter at hand. Each teen in this diverse cast ends up on the cusp of something greater, somewhere better, even as the specter of U.S. school shootings threatens to overwhelm the overall intent. The series’ eclectic artwork—always evolving, never dull—remains a delightful highlight.
A tremendous finale to a singular trilogy. (Graphic novel. 14-18)