McKay's 2008 novel about Ugandan children abducted to fight in the Lord's Resistance Army returns in a graphic novel adaptation, which makes an already harrowing story all the more visceral. (Readers may have become familiar with the LRA through the short film Kony 2012, which generated significant attention in 2012.) McKay's fictional story, based on real events and people, focuses on 14-year-old Jacob, who is abducted from a seminary in Uganda along with 37 other boys in 2002. This is Lafrance's first graphic novel, and it's a striking debut. In much the same way that the story forces readers to see these child soldiers as both victims and killers (albeit unwilling ones, often), Lafrance contrasts Uganda's beauty with the brutality endured by Jacob and the other children. Images of lush jungle alternate with horrifying scenes, such as one in which three boys are forced to beat one of their own to death. As upsetting as this story is—all the more for its basis in the ongoing reality for children still conscripted into the LRA—McKay doesn't leave readers without a sense of hope. Ages 14 – up. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 04/29/2013 Release date: 02/01/2013 Genre: Children's
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