cover image Suncatcher


Jose Pimienta. Random House Graphic, $24.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-5931-2481-9

After discovering that a Yaqui man trapped the soul of her dead grandfather, Tata Mario, in his old guitar, Beatriz Ana Garza sets out to free it. To do so, she must complete the Faustian deal that Tata Mario made in his youth and provide the Yaqui, trapped in a reel-to-reel tape deck, an original song, one that Beatriz must finish on Tata Mario’s behalf. Beatriz joins a band to help further her craft, but tensions rise when a vocalist signs on, since Beatriz believes the song should be solely instrumental. Pimienta uses that pressure point to expose the difference between dedication and fixation, as Beatriz sacrifices everything to pursue her quest: avoiding others and skipping meals to write, and lashing out when the group tries to intervene. Making his solo debut, Pimienta (Soupy Leaves Home) visualizes music played with joy using bold emanations, whereas Beatriz’s obsessive playing is shown as circular and hypnotic, accompanied by a gaze eerily similar to her grandfather’s final stare. Though visual elements can get lost in the busy illustrations, Beatriz’s relatable struggle with burnout and generational expectations sit amid an engaging tale and the backdrop of a mildly spooky ’90s Mexicali setting. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 14–up. [em](May) [/em]