cover image Sunburn


Andi Watson, illus. by Simon Gane. Image, $19.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-5343-2233-2

Watson (Breakfast After Noon) and Gane (Ghost Tree) whisk readers away to a sunny Greek fantasy island in this romantic character-focused graphic novel. Teenage Rachel is invited to spend the summer with wealthy family friends, married couple Diane and Peter Warner, in their villa on a small Greek island, a considerable upgrade from her part-time job at the butcher shop in her drab English suburb. While in Greece, Rachel indulges in food and wine at sophisticated nightly parties, and Diane encourages a romance with summer visitor Benjamin. As her vacation stretches on, Rachel experiences increasing social exhaustion and struggles to contextualize Benjamin’s suddenly cagey behavior and Diane’s mysterious comings and goings. Everything comes to a head after Rachel uncovers a heartbreaking secret that threatens to upend her Mediterranean getaway. Gane’s lush illustrations, portrayed in bright oceanic hues, earthy browns, and red accents, artfully render intricately detailed Grecian backdrops and conventionally attractive characters frolicking in the ocean. Watson conveys understated emotion via layered dialogue and measured pacing paired with deliberate plotting in this quiet, sun-drenched drama. Ages 13–up. (Nov.)