Publishers Weekly Review
Jarrett's mother, Leslie, is a heroin addict-though he doesn't know it until later in his childhood-so Jarrett's grandparents, Joe and Shirl, step in to raise him. Evoking a great sense of people and place, Krosoczka (the Jedi Academy series) conveys the joys and complications of his young life in Worcester, Mass.-his childhood nightmares, his relationship with his mother through letters and sporadic visits, his grandparents' tense relationships with one another and their children, and their great care in fostering Jarrett's talent for art. Krosoczka portrays his mother empathically, showing her affection for him even as she struggles to be a reliable presence (in one scene, she takes him and his friends to celebrate a missed birthday). His father is absent, until, at 17, Krosoczka writes him to ask about possible half-siblings, and a relationship develops. Photographed family artifacts appear throughout the grayscale-and-burnt-orange panels, marking moments significant and everyday: his early art (all saved by his grandparents), letters from his mother, a comics class taken at the Worcester Art Museum. This nuanced graphic memoir portrays a whole family and tells a story of finding identity among a life's complications. Ages 12-up. Agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal Review
Gr 7 Up-In this intimate graphic memoir, Krosoczka looks back on his childhood and adolescence. His mother was a heroin addict, who was incarcerated or in rehab for much of his young life, and his father wasn't around-until Krosoczka was in the sixth grade, he didn't even know the man's first name. The author/illustrator was raised by his loving but often amusingly coarse maternal grandparents, who were well past their child-rearing days. Though growing up without his biological parents was painful, Krosoczka had a supportive network of extended family and friends, and his art became both his passion and his salvation. The visuals beautifully re-create his early memories, with fluid lines depicting the figures and hand-painted washes of gray with burnt orange highlights in the backgrounds. Borderless panels and word balloons deftly draw readers into the action. Artifacts from the Krosoczka family's past are inserted into the story, such as artwork and letters, and even the pineapple wallpaper from his grandparents' home is included between chapters. VERDICT A compelling, sometimes raw look at how addiction can affect families. A must-have, this book will empower readers, especially those who feel alone in difficult situations.-Kelley Gile, Cheshire Public Library, CT © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.