cover image Decelerate Blue

Decelerate Blue

Adam Rapp, illus. by Mike Cavallaro. First Second, $17.99 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-1-59643-109-6

In a futuristic riff on Romeo and Juliet, Rapp (The Children and the Wolves) and Cavallaro (Foiled) run with the idea that humanity is in the midst of a “great acceleration,” imagining a not-so-distant America in which speed, brevity, and commerce are prized above all else. Fifteen-year-old Angela feels innately uncomfortable in a world in which everyone says “Go” when they’re finished speaking (as though hurling conversation back and forth), farm animals are branded with corporate logos, and cybernetic implants in citizens are just one aspect of a surveillance state. After Angela receives an illicit copy of a cult classic book, she discovers a literal underground movement striving to create a slower, more considered existence, and she finds unexpected (and tragic) romance with a fellow rebel, Gladys. It’s a world of absolutes, strikingly reflected in Cavallaro’s jittery, angular illustrations, which largely forgo shading in favor of stark black-and-white scenes; color is used only twice, powerfully heightening the emotions in each scene. Rapp’s rapid-fire dialogue eerily evokes a society hurtling down a troubling road and raises haunting questions about sacrifices made in the name of safety, productivity, and progress. Ages 14–up. (Feb.)