A Wave Blue World. Apr. 2021. 136p. pap. $16.99. ISBN 9781949518122.
Gr 7 Up–Phillips (Harley Quinn, Butcher of Paris) and Johnson (Batman: Black and White) have created a Black Mirror–esque world where the app Ranked uses computer algorithms to score every citizen on popularity and social standing. Those with high ranks enjoy life to the fullest, while those who don’t score as well find it difficult to obtain employment, entertainment, or even friends. High schooler Averee reaps the benefits of her family’s good fortune until their rank suddenly plummets. After Averee experiences how the other half lives, she, her friend Zoe, and her crush Luke resolve to find and talk to PrettyKitty, the green-haired, cat ear–wearing, adorable Ranked spokesperson. As they learn more about the app’s nefarious machinations, however, the teens realize that they must end it for good. The plot moves quickly, carried by engaging, dynamic characters; Averee and Zoe’s relationship becomes complicated as Averee accuses her friend, who’s long been skeptical of Ranked, of secretly bringing Averee’s family’s rank down. The dramatic, realistic art is fantastic, with vivid coloring and details that bring to life a seemingly beautiful world whose dark side is slowly revealed. Averee and Zoe are Asian, while Luke is white.
VERDICT Though fans of speculative tales in the vein of Black Mirror will appreciate this one, so will anyone who loves friendship stories, such as Faith Erin Hicks’s One Year at Ellsmere. A good entry point for those unfamiliar with comics, too.

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