Odessa is another entry in a dotted landscape of post-apocalyptic stories. In it, a world-destroying earthquake ravages California and most of the Western United States. There are rumors that anything East of the Mississippi River is relatively untouched. For her seventeenth birthday, Virginia receives a package from her mother, who left the family eight years ago. The package sparks a fierce need in Ginny to set out and find her mother. While her father would much rather leave it all in the past, he begrudgingly understands Ginny's need for answers will take her on this journey. Ginny sets out on the dangerous journey south into the gang-torn California Straight, with some unwanted taggers-on as well. Ginny's two younger brothers, Wes and Harry, decide that she doesn't get to be the only one who wants to know what happened to their mother. The three undertake a perilous journey full of scavenging, biker gangs, jinxed-up cannibals, and plenty of scoundrels.
There are parts of this story that are hauntingly beautiful. Any with abandonment issues will see themselves clearly in Ginny, who can't rest until she understands why her mother left. There was a little bit too much convenience in finding exactly who they were looking for so quickly in San Francisco, but on the other hand, I don't know how much more time I would have wanted dedicated to searching a city full of derelicts. I found that the last character to come back into Ginny's life was wholly unnecessary, so hopefully, this becomes more of an integral part of the plot in the next story (oh yes, there's going to be more). Overall, this was a story that pervaded my subconscious and stayed with me long after the book was closed.
Hill's art style is unique, and the use of predominantly pink in coloring sets the stage as a post-apocalyptic story. I appreciated the backgrounds becoming white with pink outlines to give depth and to not detract from the foreground.
Oni rates this title for Teen. There is some violence and bloodshed, attempted cannibalism, and some overall darkness that comes with post-apocalyptic stories.
Sara's Rating: 8/10
Suitability Level: Grades 9-12
This review was made possible with a digital reader copy from the publisher through Net Galley. This graphic novel went on sale November 10, 2020.
Tags: Rating: 8/10, Suitability: High School, Graphic Literature, Dystopian, Survival, Family, CSLA 2021
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