Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Tillie Walden
Illustrator: Tillie Walden
Publisher: First Second
Mia is the newest member of a crew which explores and restores old buildings in outer space. As she grows close to her new group of friends and visits sites throughout the universe, she reflects on her experiences four years previous in boarding school where she fell in love with a girl named Grace. After Grace is mysteriously whisked away by her family, Mia is determined to reunite with her even if she must travel to the outlawed sector of space, the staircase. When Mia opens up to her new friends on the crew, they are determined to help her find Grace even if it means risking their lives. As they navigate the staircase looking for her, they are each challenged by their separate discoveries and, against all odds, are reunited.
The illustrations and world building of this graphic novel are phenomenal. The dynamic characters combined with the interesting story line come to life with the beautiful images. Mostly drawn in gray scale, Walden’s images are so detailed and expressive that they speak for themselves. Although Walden never explains how our universe became a world of spaceships and broken down buildings, the many layers she creates in her world-building become fun to navigate as the reader becomes more familiar with the story. Walden also plays with current social issues by creating a novel that solely consists of female characters (with the exception of one non-binary character). Although this may strike different chords with different readers, Walden’s images and story are rich and relatable, and the overall journey of the story is quite enjoyable.
*Contains moderate language.