Lucy in the Sky

First Second. Jul. 2021. 304p. Tr $21.99. ISBN 9781626727212; pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781626727205.
Gr 6 Up–Lucy Sutcliffe is going through a rough patch. Her grandmother Cookie is undergoing chemotherapy, her parents are divorced, her mother is constantly traveling for work, her father is in a rut, and her friendships feel strained now that Lucy and her friends have entered seventh grade. A chance act on her father’s part leads Lucy to discover the albums of the Beatles. As she works her way through their collection, the music becomes both a soundtrack and a comfort while she navigates issues with family and friends and forms a band. Lucy and her friends provide an authentic look at the ups and downs of growing older, and sometimes apart, while discovering the complexities life has to offer. Most pages are packed with panels, and speech bubbles can run long, giving the pages a crowded appearance. The yellow, robin’s egg blue, and fuchsia coloring is vibrant and youthful, eliciting comparisons to the Sgt. Pepper aesthetic and offering a pleasant counter to the sometimes heavy themes of the story. Although the Beatles are rather ubiquitous in pop culture, readers will find much to discover themselves in the factoids shared throughout. Lucy’s parents and grandmother, as well as her friend Georgianna, present as white, while Lucy’s friends Rupa and Vanessa present as Asian. A soundtrack listing is included in the back matter.
VERDICT Readers experiencing family stresses or social growing pains will find much to relate to in this musically inspired slice-of-middle-school-life story.

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