Afternoon at McBurger’s

Fantagraphics. Dec. 2021. 64p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781683964841.
In a world that’s simultaneously futuristic and retro, McBurger’s is the place to be for those turning 11. Those kids can order from the Once Party Menu; the lucky ones are granted the opportunity to view one of three scenes from their future—but not everyone gets what they are wishing for. Three pals, Pepa, Dani, and Nuria, go to McBurger’s hoping to be chosen, but only Nuria and Pepa are selected. This short novel is loaded with layers, and it takes a few readings to unpack meaning, but the look and feel are so hip that teens won’t mind a reread. Galvañ creates a premise that feels familiar—best friends navigating trials of adolescence in the trappings of a ’90s-esque burger joint—then seamlessly weaves in futuristic robots and Matrix simulations, as though it all goes together, and somehow it does. Race and ethnicity are not detailed explicitly, though Nuria is coded as Latinx.
VERDICT A colorful, weird, and enjoyable ride. Good for collections that need some refreshing variety.

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