Into the Dangerous World

Julie Chibbaro, illus. by J.M. Superville Sovak. Viking, $17.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3910-9
Seventeen-year-old Ror grew up on a Staten Island commune, but she, her mother, and her older sister must move into an SRO in Manhattan after her father commits suicide by burning down the house they built. Set in 1984, amid the thriving street culture of New York City, Chibbaro's gritty novel follows Ror as she figures out what type of artist she wants to become while using her drawing to channel her grief. Illustrator Sovak, Chibbaro's husband and collaborator on 2011's Deadly, skillfully conveys Ror's artistic talent in vibrant and emotionally resonant b&w sketches. The adults in Ror's life want her to pursue traditional art, but she sees graffiti everywhere, and it fascinates her, as does Trey, a neighbor and fellow art student. Ror's attempts to fit in with Trey and his graffiti crew reflect her unbiased love of art and her struggle to discover where she belongs. Period references (Blondie, Keith Haring, the Reagan administration) provide context, yet the book feels modern and relevant as this striking combination of story and illustration creates a powerful portrait of a budding artist. Ages 14–up. Agent: Jill Grinberg, Jill Grinberg Literary Management. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 05/25/2015
Release date: 08/18/2015
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