Monk, J. N. Topside. Harry Bogosian, Illus. Graphic novel. Graphic Universe/Lerner, 10/2019. 200pp. $33.32. 978-1-5124-4589-3. OUTSTANDING. GRADES 6-12.
The protagonist in this vivid and engaging science fiction graphic novel is Jo, a girl of color with a talent for technology and an important, if rule-bound, maintenance job in the core of a dying planet. When a small mistake on her part leads to possibly profound consequences for her struggling family, Jo takes matters into her own hands and ends up going above ground on an adventure which includes bounty hunters, con artists, and a pursuing posse of regulation-spouting bureaucrats. Jo’s consistent competence and persistence is compelling, and Bogosian’s creative illustrations evoke a wacky cast of characters including—but not limited to—a bionic-suit-wearing shark in a dress, and an animated lightbulb. Character development is stronger than plot towards the end of the book, but the overall themes of resilience, responsibility, and co-operation are consistent and engaging throughout, with enough humor, especially at the expense of bureaucracy, to enjoy.
Lesley Mandros Bell, Oakland Library Advisory Commission