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A Map to the Sun by Sloane Leong
First Second / Macmillan
Publication Date: August 4, 2020
While shooting hoops beachside, Ren meets another teenage girl, Luna, and a friendship quickly blossoms. That friendship dissolves, however, once Luna moves back to Oahu. When Luna returns years later, Ren must decide whether their friendship is worth rebuilding. Along the way, she and Luna join a newly formed basketball team, and readers get a glimpse into the individual lives and struggles (including drug use, self-harm, and familial death) of each member. As their team solidifies, the girls ultimately find friendship and a sense of belonging with each other.
A Map to the Sun is a powerful graphic novel that dives into complex female relationships. The art style is luminous, opening with a neon sunset and shifting through an electric spectrum of colors that swirl and bleed together in chaotic beauty. Using her dynamic art style and naturalistic storytelling, Leong effectively captures the heightened emotions of teenage girlhood in all its messiness and wonder.
Fans of A Map to the Sun’s radiant art style will enjoy Leong’s Prism Stalker, a “bio-punk” sci-fi adventure that follows a young refugee conscripted into colonizing other planets. Readers searching for books centered on basketball, friendship, and belonging will also enjoy Gene Luen Yang’s Dragon Hoops, Carly Usdin’s The Avant-Guards, and LJ Alonge’s fast-paced hi-lo fictional Blacktop series (in reading order: Justin, Janae, Frank, Toni) set in Oakland, CA.
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