March 24, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Decelerate Blue by Adam Rapp | SLJ Review

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redstarRAPP, Adam. Decelerate Blue. illus. by Mike Cavallaro. 208p. First Second. Feb. 2017. pap. $17.99. ISBN 9781596431096.

decelerate-blueGr 10 Up –Welcome to a brave new world that is marketing-forward and tech-heavy. Culture has been reduced to snippets of perfectly packaged and abbreviated elements. It’s a world run by the Guarantee Committee (GC), and the inhabitants are “protected” and monitored to ensure that they are keeping everything short. Students at Hyper High no longer study the classics; instead, they take Brief Lit, which abridges the classics and simplifies the language. It’s a world that 15-year-old Angela hates. She wants to revel in language and luxuriate in art, so it isn’t difficult for her to commit to an Underground community that she discovers by accident in Blackhawk Caves. In the Underground, Angela falls in love with Gladys and becomes an active part of the resistance. As with all great tragedies, it is a love destined for heartbreak. Rapp and Cavallaro successfully rely on the problem play format and use it to weave a cautionary tale about our fast-paced world. Cavallaro’s choices of predominantly black-and-white artwork complement this gripping, thought-provoking narrative. Frames are employed to create unique panels that propel readers to the conclusion, and the spare use of full color heightens the emotion of the piece. VERDICT Fans of George Orwell’s 1984 and Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 will find much to ponder in this notable graphic novel.–Jodeana Kruse, R. A. Long High School, Longview, WA

This review was published in the School Library Journal January 2017 issue.