The Leak

First Second. Mar. 2021. 240p. Tr $22.99. ISBN 9781250217950; pap. $14.99. ISBN 9781250217967.
Gr 4-7–Aspiring journalist Ruth Keller, 12, finds the next big scoop for her newsletter when she and her crush discover black sludge in the lake. She unearths a possible cover-up and suspects the involvement of the Twin Oaks Country Club. With help from her science teacher Ms. Freeman and her brother’s girlfriend, Sara, a New York Times intern, Ruth relies on her wits to unmask the culprits behind the water pollution. Ruth’s narration keys the audience in to important aspects of journalism and lends the book an intimate tone. Set in fall 2015, the graphic novel spotlights coverage of the water crisis in Flint, MI, reminding readers of the real-life power of the press. Subplots involving middle school mean girls and minor family drama keep the tale accessible for a middle grade audience. Within panels with rounded edges, cartoonish illustrations rely on a neutral palette. Ruth, her family, and Sara are dark-skinned, but their ethnicity is not explicitly defined.
VERDICT An absorbing work that emphasizes that even the youngest voices can have a resounding impact.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing