The Deep Dark

Scholastic/Graphix. Jun. 2024. 480p. Tr $27.99. ISBN 9781338840001.
Gr 8 Up–High school senior Mags Herrera has a lot on her shoulders: when she isn’t working her part-time job or taking care of her elderly grandmother, she’s making sure the family secret in her basement stays hidden—and fed. When Mags’s childhood friend Nessa returns after a long absence, the two easily rekindle their friendship and explore deeper feelings for each other, but Mags, consumed with grief over a boy’s death connected to the secret in her basement, is reluctant to let go and feel anything other than guilt. An introspective and stirring coming out story, illustrated largely in grayscale with flashbacks rendered in color. Ostertag’s gift for dialogue shines, as does her storytelling with excellent pacing, setting, and characters that are perfect foils: Mags is introverted, tormented, dark; Tessa is open, vulnerable, and light.
VERDICT A great LGBTQIA+ romance that readers will yearn to return to.

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