Stephen McCranie's Space Boy: Vol. 1

illus. by Stephen McCranie. 220p. Dark Horse. Jul. 2018. pap. $10.99. ISBN 9781506706481.
Gr 6 Up—Amy, 16, has spent her whole life on a mining colony in deep space. When her father loses his job, she and her family must move back to Earth. To make the 30-year trip back, they are cryogenically frozen. Upon awakening on Earth, Amy must adjust to life in a new place and time. Technology has drastically changed, her old friends have grown up and have children of their own, and everyone at her high school seems peculiar to her, especially a mysterious boy named Oliver. The characters in this graphic novel are a joy—so expressive and authentic, it's impossible not to care for them. Amy's synesthesia causes her to associate people with flavors, which adds dimension to the characters. Her mother is like mint, "sharp and bright"; her father is like hot chocolate, "sweet and full of gentle warmth." The linework is superb, the palette appealing, and the backgrounds dynamic—vivid yet subtle, they deftly illustrate Amy's flavors. The panel layouts mimic the original webcomic version of the book, with long flowing panels or sets of panels that advance the action smoothly and create lots of drama.
VERDICT An arresting title with first-rate storytelling and beautiful use of color and design. For fans of graphic novels, sci-fi, or the webcomic.

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