Bunt!: Striking Out on Financial Aid

First Second. Feb. 2024. 288p. Tr $25.99. ISBN 9781250193520, pap. $17.99. ISBN 9781250193513.
Gr 10 Up–Molly is an incoming freshman who is thrilled to be attending PICA—a prestigious art university in her hometown—when she discovers her scholarship has fallen through. Afraid to tell her two moms, she researches other options and finds a loophole that enables her to earn an athletic scholarship if she can field a softball team and win at least one game. An expected comedy of errors ensues as she assembles a motley group of artists and wrangles her art school dropout best friend to coach them. Molly is depicted as Black, and her group of teammates is a diverse mix of different cultures, sexualities, and sizes. Ukazu, known for the Check, Please! graphic novel duology, has once again created an appealing coming-of-age college narrative. Rupert has a fun and cartoony art style, bringing the college campus and ragtag team to life. However, a lot is stuffed into the story as it touches on gentrification, school loans, and whether paying for school is worth it; but the entire story receives a feel-good, though unrealistic, conclusion.
VERDICT This breezy graphic novel tries a bit too hard to check all the boxes, but nevertheless is a charming story that will have readers rooting for Molly to persevere against the odds.YA Manga

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