In this dreamlike collection of previously published material, cartoonist Walden presents a series of thoughtful tales about home, belonging, and powerful emotion.
Jumping easily from genre to genre, this volume features the self-contained stories of a chronically ill boy and his family in their mansion during a yearslong winter, two closeted girls negotiating first love, and a young woman’s experience of giving up her supernatural life in the sky for a relationship on Earth. The collection also includes a number of shorter pieces created during Walden’s young adult years. Exhibiting a style that references Studio Ghibli and Winsor McCay, Walden displays an encyclopedic knowledge of the genre that gives depth to the not-quite-our-reality in which her characters find themselves. Each story plays skillfully with ideas of space and atmosphere, and the most fully realized relationships throughout the collection are those between the protagonists and their often surreal and fantastic environments. The visual vocabulary provides wonder while reflecting widely relatable feelings about changing, growing up, and being in the world. Serving as a wonderful entry point for teens new to graphic novels, this collection is a gemlike encapsulation of coming-of-age narratives in gorgeous settings touched with magic. What it sometimes lacks in nuance it makes up for in beauty and immediacy. Readers will be drawn into Walden’s surreal, empathetic universe. Most characters read as White.
A seamless integration of art and feeling.(gallery) (Graphic fiction. 14-adult)