cover image Stars in Their Eyes

Stars in Their Eyes

Jessica Walton, illus. by As´ka. Graphix, $24.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-338-81880-2; $15.99 paper ISBN 978-1-338-81879-6

Walton and As´ka interrogate themes of body image, fan culture, and self-discovery via a queer, disabled teen in this thought-provoking graphic novel. Nothing is going to stop bisexual 14-year-old Australian Maisie from attending her first fan convention and meeting her hero, Kara Bufano, an actor from her favorite television show who, like Maisie, uses a prosthetic leg. When Kara’s appearance is canceled, Maisie fears that the increased discomfort from her chronic pain caused by navigating the con and her mother’s efforts saving money for the tickets are for naught. But then she befriends 15-year-old Ollie, a nonbinary fancon volunteer who offers to make the rest of Maisie’s convention experience one to remember. Maisie and Ollie’s gentle budding romance is sweeter than As´ka’s cotton candy–toned color palette, but Maisie’s relationship with her quirky mom takes center stage, showcasing a parent-child bond that models healthy boundaries and unwavering support. Walton—who is “proud to be disabled,” per an author’s note—balances tension surrounding Maisie’s disability with a prevailing sense of optimism that highlights the power of inclusivity and representation in popular media, delivering an unforgettable experience. Characters are portrayed with varying abilities, body types, and skin tones. Ages 12–up. (Aug.)