cover image The Boy Lost in the Maze

The Boy Lost in the Maze

Joseph Coelho, illus. by Kate Milner. Candlewick, $19.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-5362-3641-5

Previous collaborators Coelho and Milner (The Girl Who Became a Tree) offer a vulnerable, nuanced look at masculinity via a teenager’s search for his father paralleled with the Greek myth of Theseus. Seventeen-year-old Theo Andino’s father is absent, and Theo has never felt the loss more than now, when he’s figuring out who and how to be: “Manhood’s become a rock/ I cannot lift alone.” When Theo discovers he has a different biological father, he seeks him out despite having nothing more than the man’s name. Theo’s only solace is Mr. Addo’s English class, where he works on an assignment retelling the myth of Theseus, a man who battles monsters while searching for his own father, through poetry. Alternating between Theo’s personal inquiry and excerpts of his assignment, Theo’s and Theseus’s labors reflect each other and begin to intertwine. By utilizing complex verse that demonstrates a clear love of poetic experimentation, Coelho presents an insightful, multidimensional interpretation of a millennia-old myth. Milner’s pencil figure drawings and glyphic illustrations are interspersed throughout, portraying Theseus as a contemporary superhero. Theo is Black and multiracial and supporting characters are ethnically diverse. Ages 12–up. Agent: Caroline Sheldon, Caroline Sheldon Literary. (Mar.)