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GRAPHIC NOVELS

Séance Tea Party

Random/Graphic. Sept. 2020. 272p. Tr $23.99. ISBN 9781984894168; pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781984894151.
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Gr 3-6–Even though her middle school friends have all traded make-believe play for video games, memes, and parties, 12-year-old Lora Zi is reluctant to let go of childhood. An impromptu solo séance sparks a friendship with Alexa, a ghost girl who will never grow up. But despite Lora’s efforts to avoid adulthood, she finds herself changing—reconnecting with the friends she feared had left her behind and making new ones. Meanwhile, Alexa reunites with Diana, her best friend from when she was alive. A children’s book author, Diana has grown old in the years since Alexa’s death, but she prides herself “on being a child at heart.” Dialogue and illustrations have a lively, liquid flow. Yee’s art is whimsical and engaging, reinforcing the graphic novel’s themes of memory, magic, and change. The palette relies on shades of transition: the hues of dusk and dawn, of autumn and spring. Yee dedicates her book to “every child—and young adult—who is afraid of growing up,” and her characters embody this theme, drifting apart and reuniting, pulling together and learning to let go.
VERDICT A beautifully illustrated, bittersweet coming-of-age story for anyone grappling with the joy and sorrow of growing up, growing old, and moving on.

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