UNPLUGGED AND UNPOPULAR by Mat Heagerty

UNPLUGGED AND UNPOPULAR

by ; illustrated by &
Age Range: 8 - 12
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KIRKUS REVIEW

In the near future, a young girl and her friends fend off fuzzy purple extraterrestrials intent on domination.

Erin Song lives in a world dependent on smartphones and the internet, devoid of handwriting, bookstores, and DVDs. Erin’s quest for popularity leads her to help the most popular girl in school cheat on a test. Inevitably, the scheme quickly falls apart. Erin’s outraged boredom at her revoked technology privileges turns to panic when she realizes Culver City has been invaded by ETs using computers, smartphones, and TVs to transmit false information and erase any memory of the humans they abduct—including Erin’s older brother. Can Erin and a gang of elderly Luddites defeat the aliens? Divided into five long chapters, this humorous, intergenerational story relies heavily on the digitally inked, full-color illustrations. Expressive characters, enticing layouts, and a pastel color scheme add comedic flair. Although there are a few plot points that get lost amid the sequential panels, overall the visual storytelling is clear. Unfortunately, top-notch illustrations cannot overcome a predictable plotline, underdeveloped characters, and a heavy-handed message. The final battle is awash with fun gadgets, but victory is disappointingly swift, too easily won. The illustrations depict Erin as mixed-race (white mother, Asian father) and show a realistically diverse community, yet the text fails to develop the supporting characters. Finally, lacking nuance, the beware-of-too-much-technology moral drags down the story.

Fast-paced, full-color fluff appealing to voracious sci-fi comic fans but few others. (Graphic science fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-62010-680-8
Page count: 144pp
Publisher: Oni Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2019