Needle and Thread

Mad Cave Studios/Maverick. Sept. 2021. 200p. pap. $17.99. ISBN 9781952303234.
Gr 8 Up–A sewist and an aspiring actress team up to compete at a con. Noah, a high school senior, longs to go to art school after graduating so his peers, who ridicule him for his talents, will appreciate his handmade garments. Best friend Hiroki is mostly supportive but more interested in ending the school year on a high note by going to parties. They attend a few, but nothing is more life-changing than when Noah runs into Azarie, the mayor’s picture-perfect daughter, at a mall in Santa Monica nerding out about comics and video games. With her reputation at stake, Azarie asks Noah to keep her double life a secret. But her dreams of cosplaying and Noah’s need for a costume for his design portfolio link the pair even more closely as they dare to realize their ambitions. Soon, everybody takes notice—and not everyone approves. Combining humor and teenage drama, Pinckney’s (Fight Like a Girl) latest is among the first in Mad Cave Studios’ new Maverick imprint. Romanian artist Iurov’s heavy lines and muted pastels add a unique flair to this relatable story of finding one’s path despite parental expectations. The beautiful, wordless sequences depicting Noah and Azarie as they create are mesmerizingly meditative. Though characters’ ethnicity is not explicitly mentioned, the art and contextual clues suggest that Noah is Afro-Latinx, Hiroki is Japanese, and Azarie is white. Supporting characters are diverse in skin tone.
VERDICT A fashionable, well-stitched tale. Recommended for all teen graphic novel collections.

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