cover image Hex Americana

Hex Americana

Bree D. Wolf. Iron Circus, $15 (380p) ISBN 978-1-945820-76-2

Wolf (Design a Game!) fires up a rip-roaring tale of young love and betrayal in this Speed Racer meets Monster High graphic novel adventure. With his friends all away for the summer, queer Yokai teen Ken Takamoto doesn’t have much to do except accompany his mother to her teaching gig, where he regales her monster students with tales of Dante Willow, the legendary Speed Demon of Echo Caverns. He dreams of becoming a renowned racer like Dante, so when he lands face-to-face with the Speed Demon’s ghost, Ken feels like he’s on the right track. Dante, meanwhile, has spent the past 20 years thinking about his final, fatal showdown with ex-boyfriend and racing rival Mason Higgs. When Ken offers to help Dante move on by winning one last race—the fabled Hex Americana Grand Prix—their partnership sets them down a path that unravels Dante’s final living days. Bold highlights and shadows add verve to playful monster character designs and small-town backdrops. Using Ken and Dante’s lofty dreams as a vehicle, Wolf dials in on somber themes of loss, which are punctuated by uplifting depictions of found family and drag racing action. Ages 8–12. (Aug.)