Illustrated by John Jennings
Lauren is a teenager living in a walled-in community in the middle of a dystopian LA basin. Society has collapsed, and the outside world is full of scavengers, prostitutes, drug addicts, murderers, and violent criminals. Police could come and investigate, but it costs money. Lauren also “suffers” from hypersensitivity - she can feel the pain, or pleasure, of others. After a night of unrest forces Lauren from her home, she decides to travel north where water isn’t as expensive and there might be some work. She also plans on founding a community dedicated to Earthseed, her belief in a God as Change, amongst other ideologies. Along the road, Lauren picks up strangers who travel together for safety, but may one day believe in Earthseed.
This is the same team that adapted Butler's Kindred, and they're continuing to prove they're a great team. Lauren's narration is done through journalling in a composition notebook, so we see scraps of her paper all over the page. This was a clever way to introduce the first-person narration we desperately needed, but it can get a little over-used at times. Like Kindred, this is a much denser body of work than other graphic novels, so readers should be encouraged to read this over multiple sittings. There are quite a lot of similarities between Lauren's society to today's world that Butler may have imagined into existence, but the parallels can lead to some heavy reading. The illustrations are extremely rich, and color palettes are used to showcase the desolation of the earth. There are lots of fiery tones because the world is on fire quite often.
Abrams' age rating was not available. There are some non-graphic sex scenes (artistically stylized instead), and nudity. There is also non-sexual nudity of the homeless people who wander outside. There is a lot of violence and some mild gore. Based on this and the content of the novel, I would say it is appropriate for older teen audiences.
Sara's Rating: 9/10
Suitability Level: Grades 11-12
Tags: Rating: 9/10, Suitability: High School , Graphic Novel, Dystopian, Science Fiction
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