cover image Dear Rosie

Dear Rosie

Meghan Boehman and Racheal Briner, with Tom Pickwood. Knopf, $13.99 paper (208p) ISBN 978-0-593-57185-9

Four middle schoolers struggle to cope with the death of a mutual friend in this warmhearted graphic novel debut. Today is the first day of eighth grade for best friends Millie, Gabby, Florence, and Claire—an anthropomorphized deer, skunk, fox, and mouse, respectively; it’s also the 13th birthday of their feline friend Rosie, who died in a car accident over the summer. While visiting the river where the girls used to play, the group discovers a rock painted with Rosie’s signature symbol, which she left around town as a way to “add mystery to the world.” Later, while minding her family’s laundromat, Millie finds a notebook decorated with the same symbol. Certain that there’s a puzzle to solve, Millie fixates on the notebook, even as her friendships rupture around her. It isn’t until Claire suddenly disappears that the group comes together again, eager to find their friend and work through their collective grief. Background antics—such as an elderly turtle’s pursuit of taking down a too bright lamppost—occasionally detract from touching messages surrounding loss and healing. Still, the creators deftly develop an emotive animalian cast whose palpably felt emotions ferry this quiet tale. Ages 8–12. [em]Agent: Uwe Stender, Triada US. (July) [/em]