Who Is AC?

Who Is AC? illus. by Tintin Pantoja. 176p. S & S/Atheneum. 2013. Tr $21.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-6540-4; pap. $14.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-2650-4. LC 2011052616.
Gr 7 Up—This contemporary superhero story is a departure for Larson, who has previously done a graphic adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time (Farrar, 2012) as well as stories of magical realism. Three central characters reside in Barnhurst: new girl Lin is devoted to the creation of her zine, which she prints at a local photocopy establishment. To date she has sold one copy. Mel works at a local costume shop, providing period attire for tourist photographs. From home she blogs about her personal life, especially the pain following the accidental death of her horse. Trace is the nerdy photocopy shop manager, harboring a not-too-secret crush on Mel. Life changes for these teens when Lin uses her cell phone to report an attempted robbery. She inadvertently presses a button that dramatically transforms her into a superhero and subdues the would-be thief. She is baffled, exclaiming afterward, "What a rush! That happened, right? There's no way that happened." Meanwhile Mel connects with a shadowy online individual who promises to erase her heartbreaking blog posts. He exerts his influence to digitally transform Mel into a troll. With assistance from Trace, Lin frees Mel from her troll state and life resumes its familiar routine. Not surprisingly, a final panel image of Lin's cell phone suggests her superhero adventures will continue. Main characters are well developed with clear motives. Segues between scenes have a cinematic feel and effectively move the story forward. Pantoja's heavy black-line drawings, large eyes, and angled action panels give the art a mangalike appearance.—Barbara M. Moon, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY

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