cover image Paper Planes

Paper Planes

Jennie Wood, illus. by Dozerdraws. Mad Cave Studios, $14.99 paper (216p) ISBN 978-1-952303-54-8

Following a dangerous incident at a party, two 14-year-olds spend their summer at a camp for wayward teens in this cathartic graphic novel by Wood (The Flutter Collection). Best friends Dylan, who is nonbinary and white-cued, and Leighton, who is biracial (Black and white), have always loved communicating via note-passing, often in the form of paper airplanes. But ever since the party, Leighton has been distant, not responding to notes and disparaging Dylan for developing friendships with fellow campers. In alternating past and present sequences, Wood economically unspools the pair’s mercurial relationship throughout the years leading to their admittance to the camp, where teens must learn to follow directions and be team players. The two find themselves on divergent paths and are forced to confront past mistakes and reevaluate their friendship. Dozerdraws (The Last Session) renders flashbacks in a sepia-toned palette, artfully distinguishing them from vibrantly saturated present events. While Leighton and Dylan’s internal voices often read overly similarly, this emotionally resonant telling presents the protagonists’ challenges and missteps with empathy, making for a simultaneously hopeful and sobering reminder that growing up sometimes means growing apart. Ages 12–up. (May)