Hey, Kiddo

Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Graphix, $24.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-545-90248-9
Jarrett’s mother, Leslie, is a heroin addict—though he doesn’t know it until later in his childhood—so Jarrett’s grandparents, Joe and Shirl, step in to raise him. Evoking a great sense of people and place, Krosoczka (the Jedi Academy series) conveys the joys and complications of his young life in Worcester, Mass.—his childhood nightmares, his relationship with his mother through letters and sporadic visits, his grandparents’ tense relationships with one another and their children, and their great care in fostering Jarrett’s talent for art. Krosoczka portrays his mother empathically, showing her affection for him even as she struggles to be a reliable presence (in one scene, she takes him and his friends to celebrate a missed birthday). His father is absent, until, at 17, Krosoczka writes him to ask about possible half-siblings, and a relationship develops. Photographed family artifacts appear throughout the grayscale-and-burnt-orange panels, marking moments significant and everyday: his early art (all saved by his grandparents), letters from his mother, a comics class taken at the Worcester Art Museum. This nuanced graphic memoir portrays a whole family and tells a story of finding identity among a life’s complications. Ages 12–up. Agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 07/30/2018
Release date: 10/09/2018
Hardcover - 320 pages - 978-0-545-90247-2
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