cover image Verona Comics

Verona Comics

Jennifer Dugan. Putnam, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-525-51628-6

It’s indie vs. mainstream when star-crossed comics enthusiasts Jubilee and Ridley, both bisexual, meet at FabCon prom. Accomplished cellist Jubilee is hoping to de-stress before an important upcoming audition, while anxious, depressed Ridley just wants to stop failing his volatile father. After the two teens fall for each other via text message, Ridley realizes that Jubilee’s stepmom is an up-and-coming indie comics creator and public nemesis of his father, who owns the nation’s largest comics chain and is known for running indie shops and comic lines out of business. Dating Jubilee—and spying on the enemy—could finally garner Ridley some attention from his dad, but gaining his father’s love likely means losing Jubilee, the only person who sees beyond his pervasive anxiety and insecurity. Part fresh romance, part honest exploration of the impact of depression and suicidal ideation on individuals and relationships, Dugan’s (Hot Dog Girl) story—told in alternating first-person narratives—encapsulates an inspiring level of compassion from its flawed, endearing protagonists and an inclusive secondary cast. Ages 12–up. Agent: Brooks Sherman, Janklow & Nesbit Assoc. (Apr.)