Clementine (Clementine #1)

Tillie Walden. Image, $14.99 paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-5343-2128-1

Set in Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead comic universe, in which zombies have overrun society, 17-year-old Clementine travels Pennsylvania alone. While this story targets existing franchise fans, the character-focused volume, set amid a sparsely populated and frigid climate, remains accessible to new readers. After acquiring a prosthesis for her amputated foot at an Amish survivor settlement, Clementine meets 16-year-old Amos. She accompanies him to Vermont, where homesteaders are purportedly recruiting help to build a mountaintop community. Once there, they encounter the homestead’s few inhabitants: a pair of taciturn twin sisters and 19-year-old Sephardic Jewish Ricca. Suspicious of the twins, Clementine stays to watch Amos’s back, but as the group’s plans for a stronghold crumble, she must decide whether she’ll protect her new companions or return to her loner ways. While overlapping character designs occasionally cause visual repetitiveness, Walden’s (Alone in Space) heavy inks and grayscale color pallet complement the eerie, dystopian atmosphere. Depictions of trauma, animosity, and romance intersect in this unflinchingly brutal survival horror tale that is not without hope. Characters are portrayed with varying skin tones and abilities. Ages 13–16. Agent: Seth Fishman, Gernert Co. (June)
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