Mel the Chosen

Random/Graphic. Jul. 2021. 208p. Tr $23.99. ISBN 9780593301258; pap. $12.99. ISBN 9780593301234.
Gr 4-7–Mel, a bespectacled white redhead, is frustrated—her parents don’t take her seriously, and their decision to move the family again is going to ruin her life. Mel knows that adults won’t listen to kids, so if she could just grow up without having to wait, it would solve her problems. And she gets her chance when Mel goes for a rooftop walk and finds herself in a strange apartment, with an assortment of anthropomorphic animals and a bearded white man who takes her to the land of Here&Now. Here, any wish can have unexpected consequences—and that in the land of Here&Now, she is the Chosen One, and everyone expects her to get rid of Malcape the Magnificent, a creature who grants wishes that lead to regrets. Like many heroes before her, Mel didn’t ask to be chosen; likewise, not everyone believes in her. Mel is flawed, funny, and often impatient, which will make readers both care for her and worry about her. Aragno creates a fantastic world that contains echoes of Narnia and Wonderland, but is also completely unique. Featuring loose linework, her illustrations pop with life and color, and will draw readers even deeper into this memorable story.
VERDICT An engrossing read for young fans of imaginative stories, fantastic voyages, and reluctant heroes.

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