Kick the Moon

Macmillan. Jan. 2019. 320p. pap. $13.99. ISBN 9781509874071.
Gr 7 Up–After being ridiculed as a child for dressing as Superman, Ilyas Mian, who has brown skin, decides to create a British Pakistani Muslim superhero to reflect his own identity. His old-school father thinks drawing comics is foolish and wants 15-year-old Ilyas to be tougher. He and his friend Daevon join a small gang called DedManz, led by the venerated and notorious bully Imran. Because Ilyas’s superpower is drawing, Imran recruits him to paint tags for their gang. When Imran assigns the DedManz the task of recording girls in compromising positions to humiliate them, Ilyas wants out, but leaving the gang is easier said than done. Although the plot tackles issues including bullying, racism, and misogyny, Ilyas’s compelling journey takes center stage as the pace intensifies. He becomes besties with a classmate, Kelly, who helps him develop his comic. When she is lured into a disturbing relationship with Imran, Ilyas tries to warn her about the gang leader’s cruel side. The funny, banter-filled prose offsets the menacing tone of Imran’s scenes, and a hopeful conclusion will leave readers satisfied. Set in London, the text includes local dialect and slang, which may require some readers to use context to figure out unfamiliar terms. The book contains a couple of comic panels by illustrator Amrit Birdie. A content warning is advised for homophobic slurs.
VERDICT This #OwnVoices title brings laughs, relatability, and awareness of important issues. Recommended broadly.

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