GRAPHIC NOVELS

Suncatcher

Random/Graphic. May 2020. 224p. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9780593125250; pap. $16.99. ISBN 9780593124819.
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Gr 7 Up–A teen musician fights for her grandfather’s soul in this tale of magical realism set in Mexicali. Beatriz and her grandfather have always bonded over their love of music. When he becomes ill, he reveals the secret behind his talent: Years ago, he made a bargain with a mystical man, gaining extraordinary abilities in exchange for an original song. He never completed the song, so when he dies, debt unpaid, his soul is trapped in a guitar. Beatriz decides to finish the song and free her grandfather’s soul. Her band is starting to see success in Mexicali’s emerging punk music scene, but her obsession with the song threatens to derail them. Her actions jeopardize her friendships, her band—and her life, as she realizes that nothing comes without a price. While the plot is somewhat predictable, Pimienta deftly intertwines the realistic and the fantastical. Beatriz’s journey will resonate with teens, though supporting characters aren’t especially well developed. Spanish slang and depictions of Mexicali locations, especially concert scenes, add life. The art illuminates Beatriz’s state of mind: swirling and haunted as she’s drawn deeper into her fixation, then more clear and composed as she finds redemption.
VERDICT Pimienta gives this “devil at the crossroads” tale a fresh twist with the Mexicali punk setting; music lovers and fans of graphic novels will be intrigued.

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