cover image Last Pick

Last Pick

Jason Walz. First Second, $17.99 paper (220p) ISBN 978-1-62672-890-5

Sam and her twin brother, Wyatt, now 16, lost their parents when aliens arrived on Earth three years ago and abducted everyone from 16 to 65 whom they believed could be useful (“We were left behind because we were either too young, too old, or too ‘disabled’ ”). Since then, Sam and Wyatt have resisted the occupation by infiltrating warehouses to rebuild alien communication technology and redistribute needed goods. After the aliens return and Wyatt acquires one of their transmitters, the kids become more ambitious, hoping to save humankind—along the way, people of all ages and abilities (a radio jockey, a band of fierce seniors) pitch in. Although the text avoids specific labels, Wyatt seems to be on the spectrum, and the art draws readers into his experiences. Clearly lined, uncluttered drawings by Walz (Homesick) focus on the action and characters, and skillful use of color indicates shifts in time: blue-grays for the past and earth tones for the present. Messages about valuing all humans (from an author’s note: “Whatever the world sees as ‘different’ is exactly what the world needs”) add meaningful layers to this fast-paced adventure featuring a cast of likable heroes and creepy, memorable aliens. Ages 12–up. [em]Agent: Mark Gottlieb, Trident Media Group. (Oct.) [/em]