cover image Ready or Not

Ready or Not

Andi Porretta. Atheneum, $24.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-6659-0703-3; $14.99 paper ISBN 978-1-6659-0702-6

Freshly graduated future-apprehensive Cassie Donato begins her gap year dreading September 1, the day her three best friends leave New York City for college. Lawyer-hopeful Aaron is attending Harvard, maverick Marcy is off to San Francisco to make protest art, and magnetic Nico is moving abroad to a music school in London. Each character’s vivid, varied personality is represented via bold-hued backgrounds and text bubbles that overlay the already colorful metropolitan setting. To maximize their final weeks together, Cassie suggests a game of Risky Slips, in which they all contribute dares and must complete whichever one they draw or forfeit the competition. The game initially provides an excuse for the busy cohort to connect and alleviate stress, but each of the friends harbors secret crushes and growing anxieties about their future that fuel occasional bickering, and lead to a brutally honest clash during the final dare. Porretta crafts their reconciliation with easy, affectionate dialogue that encapsulates the quartet’s unshakable bond and ensures they meet their new beginnings together, even if geographically apart. Breezy and earnest, Porretta’s debut graphic novel makes a unique commencement gift for the contemporary high school graduate. Ages 14–up. Agent: Natascha Morris, Tobias Agency. (July)