Scholastic/Graphix. Oct. 2022. 272p. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9781338045819. pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781338045802.
Gr 5 Up–Galligan, already a cartooning sensation thanks to their emotionally nuanced, endlessly entertaining work on Ann M. Martin’s “Baby-Sitters Club” graphic adaptations, brings that same gleeful energy to their first original graphic novel. A commitment to representing the joys and ultra-specific struggles of adolescence shines through in this story about break-dancing, bad grades, and yo-yo masters. The main story is that of Cory, a so-so student who’s part of a high-achieving dance team. When it becomes clear that his grades are tanking, his dance dreams are put on hold, and he’s paired up with Sunna, a quiet, overlooked classmate, for tutoring. Initially resistant, he discovers that she has her own avocation—the yo-yo—and begins to take an interest in her passion too. As the story moves through family expectations, middle-school social negotiations, and questions of doing your best versus doing what you love, Galligan’s manga-influenced visual language for characters’ emotions and a brightly colored urban universe mean each moment resonates without dragging the story down. It doesn’t hurt that in dancing and yo-yo, someone is always on the move. Galligan’s diverse cast includes Cory, coded as Filipino, and Sunna, who wears a hijab, and depicts a mixed-gender friend group free from romantic entanglements, which is a breath of fresh air.
VERDICT A visually kinetic, emotionally complex story of finding a sense of self while navigating relationships and expectations. Fun and full of heart.

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