A Radical Shift of Gravity

Top Shelf. Apr. 2020. 224p. pap. $29.99. ISBN 9781603094580.
Gr 9 Up–Everyone remembers where they were when Earth’s gravity shifted—now humans can float through the air, though trees, animals, and objects remain grounded. Scientists are stumped, but theories abound. Corporate giant Isolde Spedmore is convinced that the gravity shift is a sign that the planet will become uninhabitable and that the population must move to space before it’s too late. But Noah Hall, a struggling journalist documenting this new world, wants to stay and find a solution; he investigates a utopian society trying to live life as it was before, with magboots that keep people rooted to the ground. This intriguing tale jumps back and forth in time—an especially poignant plot line focuses on the growing tension between Noah and his daughter, Elycia, who agrees with Spedmore. Selections from Noah’s articles offer insight into his philosophy and the state of the world. Glasheen’s resplendent watercolor and ink drawings suggest tranquility but occasionally veer into the unsettling. Each time line has its own palette, which helps readers keep the story straight. This dreamy work may be too ponderous for many, but its contemplation of a world in catastrophe, the devastation that ripples outward, and how human beings respond in the aftermath of a great crisis will reward teens seeking out something beautiful and challenging.
VERDICT Hand this thoughtful graphic novel to those who appreciated Scott Westerfeld’s The Spill Zone and other cryptic dystopian tales.

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