Renegade Rule by Ben Kahn, Rachel Silverstein, and Sam Beck
Dark Horse Books
Publication Date: June 2, 2021
Renegade Rule follows up-and-coming team The Manhattan Mist as they compete for a spot in the national Renegade Rule Tournament. Renegade Rule is a virtual reality video game similar to capture the flag where two teams play against each other, trying to eliminate players from the other team or find the prize objective on different maps. The Manhattan Mist team is composed of four friends who enjoy spending time with each other and playing the game, all while handling other complications such as family illness, impostor syndrome, and more.
The strength of Renegade Rule is the diversity of the characters and their relationships with each other. Each member of The Manhattan Mist is a great player in their own right, but a lot of the focus is on their interactions both in and out of the game, creating depth in their friendship and found family. The artwork is bright and engaging throughout with different video game scenes and real-life party scenes adding dimension. The video game plot adds action and excitement with shooting, grenades, and more. This is a graphic novel for older teens as there is significant strong language and frequent after-game drinks.
Fans of Marie Lu’s Warcross or Brittney Morris’s SLAY will find a lot of similarities with video game competitions as a main plot device. While the plot is quite different, the camaraderie and found family appeals of Runaways by Rainbow Rowell will engage teens.
Other Nominated Titles
- Nineteen by Ancco and Janet Hong (translator) (September 22, 2020)
- Welcome to the New World by Jake Halpern and Michael Sloan (September 22, 2020)
- After the Rain by Nnedi Okorafor and John Jennings (adapter) (January 5, 2021)
The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.
Each week, the teams will feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation will be listed as well. At year’s end, the team will use that list of nominated titles to select a final list and Top Ten. The previous years’ lists are also made available on The Hub.