Oni. Sept. 2023. 368p. pap. $16.99. ISBN 9781637152317.
Gr 6 Up–The final entry in Thummler’s “Sheets” trilogy, Lights focuses on the aftermath of grief, providing a loving send-off for its unlikely trio of friends. The first volume centered on Marjorie, a middle school student grieving her mom’s death, who befriends a group of ghosts that haunt her family’s laundromat. Delicates introduced Eliza, an alienated classmate on the precipice of deep depression, who connects with Marjorie and her ghost friend, Wendell. Lights finds the protagonists cautiously moving beyond their struggles and exploring how it might look to feel okay. At the same time, they are intent on uncovering the hazy circumstances of Wendell’s death. As the group explores Wendell’s parents’ abandoned home and dance school that they once owned, the amateur sleuths tiptoe into murder-mystery territory, but ultimately uncover an everyday tragedy worthy of its own ballet. Thummler’s wiry, textural illustrations are subtly cinematic, employing a retro pastel palette that gently mutes the narrative-enhancing intensity of her artwork. Though the work of wrapping up the trilogy entails streamlining a story that excels in its winding, intuitive flow, emotional messiness remains in the air throughout the story, especially in interactions between the living protagonists and their loving, concerned parents. Marjorie’s family is white, Eliza’s family is Black, and Wendell is revealed to have been white.
VERDICT A thoughtful finale to an emotionally incisive story, best appreciated as a part of the series.

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