cover image Louis Undercover

Louis Undercover

Fanny Britt, trans. from the French by Christelle Morelli and Susan Ouriou, illus. by Isabelle Arsenault. Groundwood (PGW, dist.), $19.95 (160p) ISBN 978-1-55498-859-4

In this quiet, probing graphic novel from the duo behind Jane, the Fox and Me, an adolescent boy named Louis describes the months after his parents separate. His father, still living in the family’s old house and drinking every day, cries for hours; “I know because I spy on him.” His mother has moved to a city apartment, and Louis shuttles back and forth with his younger brother, Truffle, who’s too small to understand the situation fully—he sees the world through his love for James Brown and the Everly Brothers. As painful as the ruin of his father’s life is, Louis has another problem he feels even more keenly. He’s in love with Billie—a brave, bookish girl from school—but can’t bring himself to speak to her. Britt writes with perception about the torment of first love and the pain felt by children caught up in a foundering marriage. Working in moody ink and pencil, Arsenault excels at capturing characters in the grip of powerful emotions they’re trying to conceal, and also at conveying a sense of place—both city and country are evocatively drawn. Ages 10–14. (Oct.)