cover image Lois Lane and the Friendship Challenge

Lois Lane and the Friendship Challenge

Grace Ellis, illus. by Brittney Williams. DC Comics, $9.99 paper (160p) ISBN 978-1-4012-9637-7

Thirteen-year-old Lois Lane wants two things: to go viral on VidMe by participating in famous VidMer Lottie Live’s #FriendshipChallenge, and to completely ignore the fact that her best friend, Kristen Li, is leaving soon for sleepaway camp. Each summer, Lois and Kristen “celebrate [their] friend-iversary during the fireworks after the jamboree bike race,” but this year, an anonymous threat and subsequent firework theft puts Lois, Kristen, and Wheel Fun Bikes shop owner Mrs. Ramirez on edge. Suspects include newcomer Izzy Kent, who’s visiting her aunt Dawn for the summer, and a corporate competitor, Cyclone Bikes owner Jana. The heroine is far from the Pulitzer Prize–winning Lois Lane of the future, though, and despite guidance from a newspaper intern, Lois struggles to solve the mystery. Though Williams (the Goldie Vance series) breathes life into characters with a delightfully expressive style, a softly shaded color palette detracts from the energy that her cartoon-leaning art injects. Some convoluted plot points from Ellis (Lumberjanes) offer little consequence, and characters act a bit young, but this is an otherwise charming story about the dangers of social media idolatry and emotional processing avoidance. Ages 8–12. (Aug.)