cover image Upstaged


Robin Easter. Little, Brown Ink, $24.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-316-42942-9; $12.99 paper ISBN 978-0-316-42952-8

Ash Price has one last summer at theater camp before high school, and they plan to make it perfect by bunking with their best friend, Ivy Santos—the peanut butter to Ash’s jelly—and building the perfect set for the upcoming musical. They might even confess their feelings for Ivy. But when the besties are assigned to different cabins and Ivy starts spending more time with her costar and romantic lead Luke, Ash lets their jealousy fester until they can no longer keep their feelings bottled up, culminating in an emotional outburst that impacts everyone around them. Cartoonist Easter (the My Little Pony series) reveals Ash’s true feelings via visual internal monologues and b&w journal entries interspersed with full-color panels depicting Ash’s life at camp. Detailed backgrounds showcase group dynamics in ensemble scenes and isometric dots highlight close-up character expressions and emotions. Both a love story and a compassionate exploration of a youth learning how to cope with loneliness, this sharply written and evocative graphic novel is deeply grounded in reality even when its characters would rather fantasize about the what-ifs. Ash has teal hair and brown eyes, Ivy has brown skin, and the rest of the cast is portrayed with varying skin tones. Ages 7–12. Agent: Britt Siess, Britt Siess Creative. (May)