cover image Unfadeable


Maurice Broaddus. HarperCollins/Tegen, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-06-279634-9

Broaddus’s (The Usual Suspects) endearing novel is a testament to personal empowerment, community, and art. Thirteen-year-old mixed-race (Black and white) Isabella Fades is a graffiti artist known as Unfadeable. Previous familial incidents have made Bella independent and cautious, and left her unhoused, squatting in an abandoned home in The Land, her Indianapolis neighborhood. After Ms. Campbell, a member of the Northwest Planners neighborhood association, invites Bella to one of the group’s meetings at the local library, she meets Mattea Larrimore, the association’s board chair. Citing a lack of funds, Mattea opposes Bella’s initiative for a community art project. A meeting with the enigmatic M leads Bella to investigate the association and its nefarious dealings, plunging her into a world of local corruption and gentrification that could put her entire livelihood at risk. Broaddus delivers an optimistic story that champions community engagement and encourages standing up against oppressive systems. Bella’s growth and confidence is nurtured throughout by mentors who support her in her decisions without hesitation, and her journey symbolizes a passing of the torch toward younger generations. Ages 8–12. (May)