Book review: Decelerate Blue, by Adam Rapp, illustrated by Mike Cavallaro

Rapp, Adam. Decelerate Blue. Illus. by Mike Cavallaro.  First Second/Roaring Brook, 2017. $17.99. 208p. ISBN 978-1-59643-109-6. Ages 14+. P7Q8

Protagonists in this dystopian graphic novel based on the “Romeo and Juliet” theme are lesbians who meet when they both try to escape a consumer-driven future when speed and efficiency are of the essence. The resistance movement focuses on slowing down as their form of rebellion, but they are forced to live underground to carry out their plans for a utopia. Angela, 15, begins to find her answers when one of her teachers secretly slips her a book and her dying grandfather accidentally gives her the path to the rebels. The girl’s love for Gladys is interrupted by a mission above ground that leads to disaster. Rapp’s world is reminiscent of 1984 where everyone is monitored for any seditious acts and severely punished when these are discovered. Black and white drawings are marked by color only twice in times of heightened emotion.

Verdict: The book could not be more timely as technology and consumerism seem to be the ultimate focus and privacy has become a thing of the past. With artwork appropriate to the subject, the book mixes a lesbian love story with warnings from 1984 and Fahrenheit 451. Highly recommended.

April 2017 review by Nel Ward.

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