cover image Age 16

Age 16

Rosena Fung. Annick, $24.99 (312p) ISBN 978-1-77321-833-5; $17.99 paper ISBN 978-1-77321-834-2

Using alternating POVs set in three timelines, Fung (Living with Viola) crafts a poignant tale of generational strife, rebellion, and self-acceptance, inspired by the creator’s family history. In 2000 Toronto—rendered in bright fuchsia hues—Chinese Canadian 16-year-old Roz wants to be thin. Her mother, Lydia, often chastises her about her eating habits, claiming that she knows all too well what it’s like to be a “big girl.” Soft orange washes then depict 1972 Hong Kong, during which 16-year-old Lydia’s passion for dance is repeatedly shot down by her critical mother Mei Laan, who insists that Lydia should be searching for a husband. Then, in a teal-toned 1954 Guandong, 16-year-old Mei Laan longs to be free from the political and economic instability of her home; Mei Laan’s upcoming arranged marriage brings about lasting consequences that all three generations must confront in 2000 upon her unexpected arrival to Toronto. Tensions run high as the family contends with secrets, beauty standards, and their own self-worth. Via emotional character interactions, Fung emphasizes the internal conflict each of the family members experience as their stories overlap, adding resounding depth to this powerful and vividly illustrated graphic novel. Ages 12–up. (July)