Nobody knows why 14-year-old Claudia Jones vanished, but for one group of teens, her disappearance is just one more mystery in a summer full of uncertainty.
Something strange is in the air at Blithedale High School. Troubled by his parents’ separation, Nigel, a black teen, craves the attention of girls. His luck turns when he begins a brief romance with Japanese-American Emily, but his aggressively jokey persona ends up repelling her. Emily, meanwhile, wants Brett, a white boy, to notice her. He harbors his own unrequited crush, but a relationship of sorts flares up between them anyway. When Emily becomes pregnant, the unexpected ordeal isolates her from Brett and her friends, including Paula, who is Latina. Having broken up with her abusive boyfriend, Paula grapples with her complicated feelings for Emily. These entanglements form the emotionally charged core of this gripping, affecting graphic novel. Each chapter highlights a different character’s perspective, and the style of the artwork changes to match each character’s personality, with simple and expressive black-and-white pictures brimming with exaggerated gestures and reactions. An eerie streak runs through the narrative: Was Claudia abducted by aliens, as some schoolmates suggest? The next volume promises more developments and more mysteries.
A moody, compassionate reflection of adolescence in turmoil. (Graphic novel. 14-18)