cover image Out of Left Field

Out of Left Field

Jonah Newman. Andrews McMeel, $21.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-5248-8484-0

Ninth grader Jonah knows two things for certain: he’s not gay and he doesn’t like baseball. So why is the idea of joining his high school baseball team for the opportunity to hang out with cute, friendly classmate Elliot so appealing? Jonah’s entrance onto the baseball diamond is not without its fair share of fits and starts: he’s not particularly athletic, and his fear of being perceived as gay forces Jonah to make himself smaller around his teammates. Alongside Jonah’s struggles accepting his sexuality and contending with heteronormative pressures, female teammate Amelia determines to not let yearslong benching and the captain’s misogyny get in the way of her dreams. As the years progress toward graduation, and as Jonah’s love life starts looking up, he’s forced to make a choice between prioritizing his budding relationship or keeping it a secret to fit in. In this semi-autobiographical graphic novel debut, Newman presents an empathetic and sometimes painfully frank exploration of finding oneself via his own high school experiences. Vibrant and fluid illustrations impart a youthful spirit that captures athletic dynamism and the joy that comes with growing into oneself, despite the challenges. Jonah is depicted with pale skin and freckles; other characters are rendered with varying skin tones. Ages 14–17. (Mar.)