The Altered History of Willow Sparks

Tara O’Connor. Oni, $19.99 trade paper (152p) ISBN 978-1-62010-450-7
Willow Sparks just wants to get through high school without students in popular cliques harassing her and teachers embarrassing her. After bullies show up at the library where she works and push her down a flight of stairs, she discovers a secret underground wing—and a book with her name on it. By writing in the book, she can reshape her future, and soon she’s ditching her best friends Georgia and Gary to hang out with the cool kids. The pale lavender-gray coloring of O’Connor’s two-tone cartooning fits the eerie, brooding atmosphere of this magic-inflected cautionary tale. But although O’Connor’s talents as an artist aren’t in question—the torments that Willow and her friends face in gym class, school bathrooms, and elsewhere feel painfully real—the overall story is rushed and too-tidily resolved. Even considering the influence of the magical book, the speed with which Willow drops her friends is jarring, and their own subplots get short shrift (Georgia is moving out of town, and Gary is nervously starting to come out to family and friends). It’s an intriguing story that doesn’t have enough space to reach its full potential. Ages 13–up. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/20/2017
Release date: 02/01/2018
Genre: Children's
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