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A Map to the Sun

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One summer day, Ren meets Luna at a beachside basketball court and a friendship is born. But when Luna moves to back to Oahu, Ren’s messages to her friend go unanswered. Years go by. Then Luna returns, hoping to rekindle their friendship. Ren is hesitant. She's dealing with a lot, including family troubles, dropping grades, and the newly formed women's basketball team at th One summer day, Ren meets Luna at a beachside basketball court and a friendship is born. But when Luna moves to back to Oahu, Ren’s messages to her friend go unanswered. Years go by. Then Luna returns, hoping to rekindle their friendship. Ren is hesitant. She's dealing with a lot, including family troubles, dropping grades, and the newly formed women's basketball team at their highschool. With Ren’s new friends and Luna all on the basketball team, the lines between their lives on and off the court begin to blur. During their first season, this diverse and endearing group of teens are challenged in ways that make them reevaluate just who and how they trust. Sloane Leong’s evocative storytelling about the lives of these young women is an ode to the dynamic nature of friendship.


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One summer day, Ren meets Luna at a beachside basketball court and a friendship is born. But when Luna moves to back to Oahu, Ren’s messages to her friend go unanswered. Years go by. Then Luna returns, hoping to rekindle their friendship. Ren is hesitant. She's dealing with a lot, including family troubles, dropping grades, and the newly formed women's basketball team at th One summer day, Ren meets Luna at a beachside basketball court and a friendship is born. But when Luna moves to back to Oahu, Ren’s messages to her friend go unanswered. Years go by. Then Luna returns, hoping to rekindle their friendship. Ren is hesitant. She's dealing with a lot, including family troubles, dropping grades, and the newly formed women's basketball team at their highschool. With Ren’s new friends and Luna all on the basketball team, the lines between their lives on and off the court begin to blur. During their first season, this diverse and endearing group of teens are challenged in ways that make them reevaluate just who and how they trust. Sloane Leong’s evocative storytelling about the lives of these young women is an ode to the dynamic nature of friendship.

30 review for A Map to the Sun

  1. 4 out of 5

    CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨

    Fun fact about me: I never read books in one sitting. Another fun fact: Despite the above fact, I read A Map to the Sun in one sitting. And I think that should be a testament to how good and compelling this graphic novel is. - Follows five very different girls, their struggles, and how playing in their school's basketball team creates a bond between them. - This graphic novel is like a 'slice-of-life'; there isn't a distinct plot to the story, other than the fact that this book follows their frien Fun fact about me: I never read books in one sitting. Another fun fact: Despite the above fact, I read A Map to the Sun in one sitting. And I think that should be a testament to how good and compelling this graphic novel is. - Follows five very different girls, their struggles, and how playing in their school's basketball team creates a bond between them. - This graphic novel is like a 'slice-of-life'; there isn't a distinct plot to the story, other than the fact that this book follows their friendship, particularly between the tenuous and electric friendship between Ren, a Black teen, and Luna, a Hawaiian-Chinese teen. - The art in this book is gorgeous. I was enamoured by Leong's use of colour to create mood and the gradual gradient across the story. - Though the art is pretty, the story is anything but. Don't get me wrong - A Map to the Sun has a great story and explores some important stuff, but it's about how teens and people are messy, how friendships can be messy, how the world is unkind to girls who are growing into themselves, and depicts some really vulnerable moments. - But I liked this. I liked that this graphic novel gives room for these girls to be imperfect and messy and raw and complex. And at its heart, it's about how friendship may not save you, but it buoys you - and, sometimes, that is enough. I was provided an eARC by the author. This does not influence my opinion in any way. Trigger/content warning: (view spoiler)[threat of sexual assault (doesn't actually happen); depiction of self-harm; relationship between minor and teacher (challenged throughout); violence; smoking; alcohol consumption; mentions of drugs; death of loved one; mention of cancer.  (hide spoiler)]

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nenia ✨️ Socially Awkward Trash Panda ✨️ Campbell

    Omg I love the color palette on this. It's so 1980s.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Karina

    Rating: 4 Stars ★★★★ A Map To The Sun is a vibrantly colored YA graphic novel about friendship and a newly formed all-girls basketball team. But, at its heart Leong delivers a more quiet narrative focusing on the girls lives and struggles off the court! Perfect for fans of the Avant-Guards looking for more a gritty, slice of life story! ↠ A Map To The Sun ARC Review 🏀☀ Ren and Luna meet at the beach and a summer friendship begins. But, when Luna has to leave for Oahu to see her ill mother, t Rating: 4 Stars ★★★★ A Map To The Sun is a vibrantly colored YA graphic novel about friendship and a newly formed all-girls basketball team. But, at its heart Leong delivers a more quiet narrative focusing on the girls lives and struggles off the court! Perfect for fans of the Avant-Guards looking for more a gritty, slice of life story! ↠ A Map To The Sun ARC Review 🏀☀ Ren and Luna meet at the beach and a summer friendship begins. But, when Luna has to leave for Oahu to see her ill mother, their friendship ends as quickly as it begun. As 2 years pass, Ren has moved on, but never forgot the pain of being ignored after Luna's quick departure. When Luna returns, she seems to fit in quickly. But, there's still a rift between them. Over the course of the story, we see the team quickly form when Jetta and Nell are given gym cleaning duties and a new teacher wants to form a team for the school! Throughout the novel, we navigate each of the girls lives off the court and some of what goes on in their day-to-day. What really resonated with me about it, was how real it felt...the characters, the different topics that are discussed, and the realism explored through each of their perspectives. Especially navigating relationships (especially family & friendship) when people find their way back into your life, through Ren's POV. The art has a softness, hand-drawn quality to it that makes each page look like a masterpiece. The color palette has vibrant, but also features muted colors that are visually stunning. Leong brilliantly alters the colors based on the mood, weather, and energy of the characters, which allows for an array of combinations from pinks, yellows, orange, greens, purples, blue, and so on. Paneling is wonderfully done as well and in my full review, I'll talk more about specific panels (pg. 6, and 226) As the team grows, we see them navigate friendship, family, etc. Leong discusses many different tropics in this 300+ page graphic novel from body image, loss of loved ones, loneliness, difficult family life, smoking, and misogyny. Each girl is tackling something different in their lives and while some plot threads may feel unfinished, A Map To The Sun doesn't shy away from different topics. (tw // for a panel depicting self-harm) A Map To The Sun also features a diverse cast of characters with our main character Ren being Black, Luna is half Hawaiian & Chinese, Jetta is half-Native and Latine, Nell is Jamaican, and So-Young is Korean. The reason I'm giving this 4 stars is because the story while it balances their basketball team and the girl's lives really well, it feels like it stuck more with the slice-of-life storyline. While I absolutely love those kinds of stories, in A Map To The Sun in particular, it feels like it wanders among the real life plot threads for quite a bit. The plot is unexpected, but many important threads are just left either incomplete or left for brief conclusions at the end, like Ren and Luna talking about their friendship. However, a positive of that is how the characters feel incredibly real in this early 2000's scene of sports, surfing, friendship, and navigating life. The ending definitely leaves possible threads for future books that navigate the girl's friendship. A Map To The Sun is a delightful graphic novel about friendship, sports, and navigating complicated events in ones life! Perfect for those who love sports stories and looking for more quiet, slice-of-life tales about friendship and self!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Fieke

    4.5/5 I am sooo happy I got to read an ARC of this one!! part i: the art! to me the art of a graphic novel is what makes me want to keep reading it. And this book had the best style. Graphic novels really are art. Like just stories and paintings all at once and I love it. This has amazingly bright colors and beautiful diverse characters. I could just look at it forever or frame it honestly. You should absolutely look at this book and see for yourself because it is soo pleasing to see! part ii: th 4.5/5 I am sooo happy I got to read an ARC of this one!! part i: the art! to me the art of a graphic novel is what makes me want to keep reading it. And this book had the best style. Graphic novels really are art. Like just stories and paintings all at once and I love it. This has amazingly bright colors and beautiful diverse characters. I could just look at it forever or frame it honestly. You should absolutely look at this book and see for yourself because it is soo pleasing to see! part ii: the characters This graphic novel is the story of Ren, a young girl who one day decides to take part in a new girls basketball team with her friends. But it is actually about the whole team. We see this group of girls who all have their own struggles and lives and personalities and they come together to play. It is amazing to read about their friendships! I really loved each and every one of them and it is such a nice way to show how these girls are unlikely-friends yet when they join the team they all start caring about each other more and more. Though Luna and Ren's friendship is the most highlighted one, we also get to see a lot from the other dynamics and I thought it was awesome. I am not really a sport-person and I have never been in a team, but reading about them almost made me want to join. part iii: the story The story is a feminist masterpiece and here's why: it focusses on a lot of different girls, it starts out with Ren who like most girls has this weird idea that 'I don't like other girls' and it ends with her finding out that 'not being like other girls' really means 'not being like girls in media, but actually having a personality' and she then finds out she loves a whole group of girls. It also doesn't have a romance in it which is AMAZING TO ME AND I NEED MORE BOOKS WITHOUT ROMANCE (yeah I know everyone ships everything but honestly I prefer friendships rn). Then it has very realistic depictions of every-day sexism like cat-calling. Oh and of course the whole story is about how the school can't have a girls-team because it would mean there's less money for the boy's team. And there's more. You honestly should just read this because I really really liked it and it's beautiful for many reasons.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    This could have been better. This had such promise. The beginning seemed to be about two girls with a strong friendship. And then she was gone, and the story shifted to other friends, and life goes on, and then she returns, and we have the rest of the long, long graphic novel to find out about how people's lives interweave with their basketball playing, and with all the other things that life throws at you, such as junkie sisters, and low income, and sexism. In short the novel had no focus, other This could have been better. This had such promise. The beginning seemed to be about two girls with a strong friendship. And then she was gone, and the story shifted to other friends, and life goes on, and then she returns, and we have the rest of the long, long graphic novel to find out about how people's lives interweave with their basketball playing, and with all the other things that life throws at you, such as junkie sisters, and low income, and sexism. In short the novel had no focus, other than the basketball playing. And it was hard to tell who was who, because of the coloring, and the way the art was done. There is a lot going on here, perhaps too much to fit into one volume, and the ending left me feeling as though there might be more to come. Not that I would want to read a second volume if that was the case. Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Janine

    3.5 stars I picked up this graphic novel because I had read a review or description of it somewhere that compared the coloring of the art to the vividness of Lisa Frank, which is a stark contrast to the trend of more minimalistic, monochramatic artwork in a lot of graphic novels. What was interesting about the artwork here is that it can still be somewhat monochromatic - it's just that the coloring is done in bright oranges, pinks, and purples, rather than white and black. And actually, as I writ 3.5 stars I picked up this graphic novel because I had read a review or description of it somewhere that compared the coloring of the art to the vividness of Lisa Frank, which is a stark contrast to the trend of more minimalistic, monochramatic artwork in a lot of graphic novels. What was interesting about the artwork here is that it can still be somewhat monochromatic - it's just that the coloring is done in bright oranges, pinks, and purples, rather than white and black. And actually, as I write this review, I find myself flipping through the book and just looking at the colors - I didn't even notice as I was reading how the background panel colors change throughout. Each new scene shift is indicated by a new panel color set. It really is vivid and beautiful, and can be appreciated on its own, even apart from the story. I think the coloring certainly lent some added power and interest to the storytelling. There's a scene pretty early on when one of the characters describes the sky as "dish soap yellow," which is backed up by the actual color of the sky in the panel. It certainly enhances that scene, and lends more feeling to the words on the page. The way the coloring is used to show the various shades of daytime and nighttime, of sun-setting, or rising in the early morning, is beautiful. The downside to the coloring is that there are a few points where words on a dark background can be difficult to read, especially depending on the lighting you're reading in. I discovered immediately upon starting this book that it was not one I would be able to read in the dim light of my bedside lamp at night. I needed full lighting, preferably in natural sunlight. Then the vivid colors can be truly appreciated, and even the harder to read points are less so. I also found myself, at certain points, struggling to differentiate the characters. Depending on the combination of the drawing and the coloring, it could be hard to distinguish between some of the characters - particularly Luna and Jetta for me. As for the story itself - It's a touching one about friendship, and life, and the way everyone kind of struggles through it. There is SO MUCH that is touched on, even if the story doesn't go too deep into any of it. Each of the 5 girls in the story has their own secret struggle or battle they're fighting and keeping (mostly) to themselves. This is something that is often frustrating to me - when characters (or people) don't communicate. But looking at it from the point of view of being a teenager, especially in a community where the struggles and adversities to overcome are greater, it makes sense that these girls would keep some of those struggles to themselves. And it was interesting to watch, as the reader who can see all of their stories, the ways in which their personal struggles played out within the group. I do wish that some of the storylines would have been given a bit more time. Honestly, each girl in this graphic novel is worthy of her own book. I loved the way this book dipped in and out of each of their lives, and brought the reader into their private lives and homes, showing the ways they came together and stayed separate. But it also meant that there were themes and darknesses touched on that weren't able to be fully dealt with or addressed within the story. I mean, there's a lot here - drug abuse, body image issues, diversity, cutting, #metoo - and it just can't all be done justice in once place. I appreciated the effort to get to know each of the girls (even if it always felt to be primarily Ren's story), but it meant that we could get a sampling of each of their struggles. That being said - I do think even with the sparseness of the paneled storytelling, there's a lot of success in saying a lot with very little. I'm just rambling at this point, so I'm going to wrap this up. A good story with a great message, and breathtaking, vivid artwork.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    It's a sports manga but the side story of two friends that broke apart when one moved away and then came back. I didn't care for the coloring at all. I loved the California setting (a basketball court by the beach is so dreamy!) and how it was set at working class kids. That was relatable because so many high school stories are set at among middle class or NYC kids, so it's nice to read an experience that was closer to mine with the puzzle of parents working non-9 to 5 jobs, figuring out transpo It's a sports manga but the side story of two friends that broke apart when one moved away and then came back. I didn't care for the coloring at all. I loved the California setting (a basketball court by the beach is so dreamy!) and how it was set at working class kids. That was relatable because so many high school stories are set at among middle class or NYC kids, so it's nice to read an experience that was closer to mine with the puzzle of parents working non-9 to 5 jobs, figuring out transportation, and school budget limiting extracurricular activities. My biggest issue was the art. The colors were garish to my eyes. I also had trouble distinguishing some characters. Only Ren and Nell stood out and sometimes So because she had short hair. I sometimes mixed the coach up for a student.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rich in Color

    Review copy: Digital final copy via author Spoiler alert: I’m going to recommend you pick up A Map to the Sun. The cover alone is reason to check it out. (I mean, just look at it.) There honestly isn’t a single page that isn’t visually stunning. Of course, that’s not all there is to this graphic novel. A Map to the Sun follows Ren and her friends as they navigate friendship and family, and everything in between — all while growing as a women’s basketball team. It’s a powerful and poignant story th Review copy: Digital final copy via author Spoiler alert: I’m going to recommend you pick up A Map to the Sun. The cover alone is reason to check it out. (I mean, just look at it.) There honestly isn’t a single page that isn’t visually stunning. Of course, that’s not all there is to this graphic novel. A Map to the Sun follows Ren and her friends as they navigate friendship and family, and everything in between — all while growing as a women’s basketball team. It’s a powerful and poignant story that fans of Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me and This One Summer will love. The story doesn’t shy away from heavier topics, so I would recommend paying attention to any content warnings available, if that’s relevant to you — I’ve noted three items at the end of this review. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again — there’s so many incredible graphic novels coming out. A Map to the Sun is one of them. Be sure to pick it up when you get the chance. Content warning: Self-harm, sexual harassment, and abuse. Recommendation: Get it soon!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Aless

    I am sad I haven't gotten to this in the last week, but thank you Sloane Leong, for providing me a digital copy. I hope to get to this, within the next day or so.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kitty ✨

    [4.25] The art was absolutely stunning, I loved the focus on girls friendship and just *chef kiss*

  11. 5 out of 5

    howie lemonds

    the color palette and story work so well together to show different girls growing up and working out how they fit in the world. it was really sweet.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Christy

    I was first drawn to A Map to the Sun because of its stunning and bright cover. I am a big fan of First Second books and this one is no exception! A Map to the Sun is a story of friendship, teamwork, and growing up, revolving around basketball. This isn’t a basketball story, but a friendship story that grows through the game. The story opens with the childhood friendship of two girls, which shifts when one moves away…and then back. Added to their story is a team of diverse girls, who join the bas I was first drawn to A Map to the Sun because of its stunning and bright cover. I am a big fan of First Second books and this one is no exception! A Map to the Sun is a story of friendship, teamwork, and growing up, revolving around basketball. This isn’t a basketball story, but a friendship story that grows through the game. The story opens with the childhood friendship of two girls, which shifts when one moves away…and then back. Added to their story is a team of diverse girls, who join the basketball team for a variety of reasons. What they find is home in each other. This little slice of life feels true to the teenage experience. The art is breathtaking, with the variety of bright color usage that flows through the pages and shifts depending on the mood. It’s like a sunset on youth. I guess this is growing up.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    I really appreciate the way that nothing truly resolves itself here, except that the girls have become friends. To me, that's rings very true--they're all facing their own issues that just can't get resolved in such a short time frame, but at least they have each other. I actually found the color pallet sort of hard to read the text, especially in the end pages.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sacha

    Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this arc, which I received in exchange for an honest review. I'll post that review upon publication. Updated 8/4/20 Three stars I really like the art, the diverse characters, and the issues that come up throughout this work. Each one seems realistic and relevant to the target audience. Though many important topics arise here, they are not all fully developed and explored. In some instances, it feels like a series of YA tropes were randomly selected and incl Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this arc, which I received in exchange for an honest review. I'll post that review upon publication. Updated 8/4/20 Three stars I really like the art, the diverse characters, and the issues that come up throughout this work. Each one seems realistic and relevant to the target audience. Though many important topics arise here, they are not all fully developed and explored. In some instances, it feels like a series of YA tropes were randomly selected and included just to be sure they got an honorable mention: troubles with friends, teamwork, the development of bonds through sports, gender-specific issues, that disgusting teacher who is sexually assaulting/harassing/etc. a student (!!!), drugs, parent/child strife, and more. While these themes are meaningful, they are - in some cases - only briefly addressed within a scene or two. By using this structure, the author creates a less cohesive plot and makes it harder to care about the outcomes for individual characters. If you're a fan of YA graphic novels, you won't be disappointed by the brilliant color choices, the creative and focused illustrations, and the sheer volume of YA-appropriate themes. You may, however, find yourself similarly craving a more thoroughly intertwined plot and a more satisfying/less predictable conclusion.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I received this through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Ren and Luna became fast friends one summer. When Luna moves away without a word, Ren feels abandoned and is hurt. Years later, Luna returns and hopes to pick the friendship back up from where she left it. Ren is still hurt by what happened and keeps Luna at a distance. It is again through basketball that Ren, Luna, and Ren's current friends find a way to support each other and carve out their place. I loved the color palette, bu I received this through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Ren and Luna became fast friends one summer. When Luna moves away without a word, Ren feels abandoned and is hurt. Years later, Luna returns and hopes to pick the friendship back up from where she left it. Ren is still hurt by what happened and keeps Luna at a distance. It is again through basketball that Ren, Luna, and Ren's current friends find a way to support each other and carve out their place. I loved the color palette, but I think it made it difficult to tell the characters apart. There were many times that I had trouble following who was saying what. I wanted to like this book more than I actually did. I think that it had a depth to it that would allow for discussion.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

    This is a great graphic novel with a great cast of girl characters. I was really interested in this book because I played basketball growing up, and I thought I could relate to a lot of friendship dynamics. My only real complaints with the book were that it was hard sometimes to know who was who, and I was really disappointed when there wasn't a love connection with some of the girls. I thought there was going to be one, and maybe it's being hinted at, but at this point, I'm done with hints. I w This is a great graphic novel with a great cast of girl characters. I was really interested in this book because I played basketball growing up, and I thought I could relate to a lot of friendship dynamics. My only real complaints with the book were that it was hard sometimes to know who was who, and I was really disappointed when there wasn't a love connection with some of the girls. I thought there was going to be one, and maybe it's being hinted at, but at this point, I'm done with hints. I want it to be clear. For the most part, it was a really cute story, but it just didn't have the uniqueness for more than 3 stars.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Patti Sabik

    While this graphic novel started out strong, I was disappointed by the follow through. I was confused by the cast of characters and the artwork didn't help me along with this struggle. I wasn't always sure who was talking/thinking and not always sure of where the plot was going. I thought there was a romance brewing, but that didn't seem to go anywhere. I felt a bit empty at the end of the story. I had high hopes for a strong female sports graphic novel, and it was good, just not great as I had While this graphic novel started out strong, I was disappointed by the follow through. I was confused by the cast of characters and the artwork didn't help me along with this struggle. I wasn't always sure who was talking/thinking and not always sure of where the plot was going. I thought there was a romance brewing, but that didn't seem to go anywhere. I felt a bit empty at the end of the story. I had high hopes for a strong female sports graphic novel, and it was good, just not great as I had hoped.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Siina

    A Map to the Sun was way much more than I expected and it's awesomeness isn't about basketball actually. I love sports comics and girls playing basketball piqued my interest, since I love playing too. The story is about these girls, who all have their problems at school and home and how they end up in the same basketball team. This isn't really rags to riches type of thing, but more like the game is a way to balance everything else in life and to cope with people you now can recognize as friends A Map to the Sun was way much more than I expected and it's awesomeness isn't about basketball actually. I love sports comics and girls playing basketball piqued my interest, since I love playing too. The story is about these girls, who all have their problems at school and home and how they end up in the same basketball team. This isn't really rags to riches type of thing, but more like the game is a way to balance everything else in life and to cope with people you now can recognize as friends. Leong is amazing at portraying the lives of the girls, friendship, struggle and losses, family and self-esteem issues and financial problems. All the girls have their own voices and still this isn't a collection of individuals as such, but one story. The variety of feelings and outcomes is wonderful and the melancholic feeling attached to everything. Such a powerful comic, really. The art is simple in a way, but uses interesting view points and angles. The colors or of pink, yellow and all those of sunsets (or sunrises, whichever you prefer). A Map to the Sun looks different and feels different and this makes it something else. It would be awesome if all girls read this, since the comic offers everything what makes it hard for girls to struggle their way through this society.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I absolutely loved 'A Map to the Sun' and will be recommending it far and wide; beautifully illustrated, it focuses on five girls and their basketball coach, and gives realistic depth to their stories. By the end, I truly felt connected to each character and was sad to be leaving them— in fact, my only complaint is that I wanted even more from each of their stories. Thank you so much to Raincoast Books for giving me an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Garden

    So good, so gorgeous. I think this is YA? But it’s not that like message-y kind of YA where you’re like ok old person trying to write about how kids are. It’s just good character development and interesting believable relationships and it’s funny and sweet even though it’s tough stuff these girls are dealing with.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Perusing Panels

    I loved this. I think Sloane Leong has created something really special here. Superb storytelling with deep, authentic characterisations, distinct and atmospheric use of colour and deftly considered visual pacing. Highly recommend!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lucy Tan

    Everything about this book is stunning--the illustrations, the colors, the portraits of these vividly real young women. I have never lived by a beach or been on a basketball team or dealt with certain issues the characters in this atmospheric novel do. But it made me nostalgic for my own youth because the art and storytelling achieve that particular kind of tenderness and painful longing we all experience at least once. Bonus points for featuring a diverse cast of characters. It's a book I wish Everything about this book is stunning--the illustrations, the colors, the portraits of these vividly real young women. I have never lived by a beach or been on a basketball team or dealt with certain issues the characters in this atmospheric novel do. But it made me nostalgic for my own youth because the art and storytelling achieve that particular kind of tenderness and painful longing we all experience at least once. Bonus points for featuring a diverse cast of characters. It's a book I wish I had been able to read as a teenager and appreciate just as much now as an adult. I was lucky enough to get the chance to read this one before publication and I'm so excited to own it in a couple months!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Fondriest

    I read this just for the insane coloring - it’s beautiful! The story was fine, but I probably wouldn’t have picked up a book about basketball if the coloring wasn’t out of this world!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Elena

    Some of the imagery isn’t his graphic novel was absolutely stunning. I wished Sloane Leony has pursued more of that type of artistic concept throughout the entire book to enhance the story telling! Other wise the narrative was really wonderful! Definitely one of the most pleasing graphic novels I’ve ever read!

  25. 4 out of 5

    skye

    this was pretty good!!! thank you to the author for sending a review copy of this to the Pond. full review to come

  26. 4 out of 5

    Angie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I finished this novel ready to burst into tears. 4.3 stars *WARNING: mentions of p**ophillia, dr*g ab*se* “A Map to the Sun” follows a group of diverse—not just in race and body types, but issues, as well—high school sophomore girls navigating their problems on and off court and having to learn how to communicate with one another effectively with all of this. I love how the creator weaved all of the girls’ issues together. It wasn’t one issue after the other being tackled and discussed, rather, it w I finished this novel ready to burst into tears. 4.3 stars *WARNING: mentions of p**ophillia, dr*g ab*se* “A Map to the Sun” follows a group of diverse—not just in race and body types, but issues, as well—high school sophomore girls navigating their problems on and off court and having to learn how to communicate with one another effectively with all of this. I love how the creator weaved all of the girls’ issues together. It wasn’t one issue after the other being tackled and discussed, rather, it was multiple issues being experienced and shared. This novel illustrates (literally lol) common issues faced by teen girls almost universally including body image issues, family relationship drama, and abuse. One thing that I absolutely adored was that each of the aforementioned issues was paralleled in at least two girls at the same time. Body issues saw So-young and Nell dealing with opposite sectors of the scale and the self-esteem depreciating comparisons that come with them. Family relationship issues saw Nell, Luna, and Ren all dealing with different aspects of familial problems. Abuse saw Ren and Jetta with Ren dealing with a sister who abused drugs and Jetta being preyed upon by the boys’ basketball team coach. While trying to sort out the issues that each girl had individually, they would often snap, be snarky, or be hostile with one another resulting in improper communication. This is so true when it comes to dealing with heavy baggage like these girls all have. When we can’t seem to communicate how we’re feeling to the people causing the issues or even to those who are trying to help, we end up blowing up and adding weight to our already heavy load. One thing that I have to say that I felt was off was the pacing of the problems. It seemed that some of the arguments between the girls didn’t last as long as one might attribute to the situations that arose from their individual circumstances. I would’ve loved to have seen more on So-young and Jetta in terms of their family situations. While it does seem that So-young has a good family dynamic, relating back to my last point, I felt that there wasn’t enough focus on how constantly being compared to her sister influenced her especially considering that her own sister said that she’s the one that got the “pretty genes”. As a teen girl, if that happened to me, I’d break down. So-young and I have similar personalities so I was pretty saddened that it wasn’t touched upon more. It seemed that her sister was merely joking as they seem to have a good relationship with one another but she clearly has some unspoken discussions with her sister. I simply ADORED the illustrations. The art style was pleasing and the structure of the novel allowed for it to flow without confusion. I cannot dote enough about the vibrancy of the colors. One thing I noticed was how in the high action moments, the colors of the characters with the background contrasted greatly and I love that detail. The color palettes never bled into one another in an unsatisfying way. I can tell the creator put a lot of thought and effort into ensuring this. Simply glorious. I so badly wished it were longer. I miss these girls already ;<

  27. 4 out of 5

    Emilie Haney

    Thanks to the author and Macmillan Kids for gifting me an advanced PDF of this book. I don't read many graphic novels but they are something I'd like to read more of. I enjoy them, the art, and the different way of story telling. When the author approached me to read an advanced copy of this book I almost said no - not because the story didn't sound good or anything like that, but because I have been in a bit of a reading slump lately and thought I might not have the time. But then I thought...w Thanks to the author and Macmillan Kids for gifting me an advanced PDF of this book. I don't read many graphic novels but they are something I'd like to read more of. I enjoy them, the art, and the different way of story telling. When the author approached me to read an advanced copy of this book I almost said no - not because the story didn't sound good or anything like that, but because I have been in a bit of a reading slump lately and thought I might not have the time. But then I thought...why not? Why not try out a new-ish genre/format and see what happens? I'm REALLY glad I did! I read this book in less than 2 hours. It was digital, but it sucked me in and I kept turning ('er clicking) pages. It kind of felt like watching Take the Lead but with basketball, if I can draw that comparison. The pros: -The story was transformational and I really got connected to the team members (even if I didn't love all of them). -The art was vivd and truly made me think of Southern California in the summertime! -The diversity was great -The author took on tough issues (real life issues) in a frank manner -The ending was probably my favorite The cons: -While I did really like the art, sometimes it was really hard to tell which girl was which and this confused the storyline a little. -The side stories felt a little forced. I appreciated the author taking on so many difficult issues (cutting, body image, sexual pressure, alcohol and drug abuse) but by about the forth issues they started to become less part of the story and more just another issue added on. That sounds bad and I don't mean for it to, but I think it distracted from the main plot line because not all of them could be addressed in a manner that (to me) signified progress or understanding. -I realize it's part of the culture the author was portraying, but I really don't like seeing alcohol or smoking used in a story without a firm line being taken on "this is not okay for teens". -Sometimes it was really difficult to understand that time had passed which made things a little confusing story-wise. Sadly, the cons outweighed the pros a little bit too much for me which brought my rating down to 3 stars. I appreciate the message the author is conveying, but I think it's better suited for 17+. There was a little too much confusion while reading (perhaps that's due to this being my first "real" graphic novel experience?) but I did enjoy the story overall. My recommendation would be for those who can handle difficult topics and who enjoy graphic novels. If you like basketball that'll be a plus too. The representation was an important part for me too and I enjoyed that aspect a lot. _____ This book was gifted to me and all opinions expressed are my own.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Seb

    I enjoyed this more than I expected! A group of girls, all struggling with their own different challenges in home and social life, come together in a basketball team. Most of them have never played before and a lot of people around them don't think there's much point to a girl's team anyway, but the team comes together anyway and though they have a rough start, they pull through and become a halfway decent team. And even though none of them were really looking for a team to join, it becomes an e I enjoyed this more than I expected! A group of girls, all struggling with their own different challenges in home and social life, come together in a basketball team. Most of them have never played before and a lot of people around them don't think there's much point to a girl's team anyway, but the team comes together anyway and though they have a rough start, they pull through and become a halfway decent team. And even though none of them were really looking for a team to join, it becomes an escape for them and a way to learn how to deal with all the frustrating parts of life. When I was a teenager, I was heavily involved in sports at my high school. Like this team, we were also pretty underfunded and not very good, but I still loved it. It was somewhere I could get away for a while and not worry about school or my parents or the ways I was feeling. I don't know how I would have gotten through a lot of high school without sports, but a lot of the sporty content for young adults tends to be inspirational stories of star catching their big break. That was never me, I was just an average (sometimes below average, to be honest) player who was escaping from my reality for a few hour and I really do think that's the vast majority of kids in these sports programs. So getting to see it portrayed in this story was some really heartwarming nostalgia for me and will hopefully be some inspiring representation for young girls. Plus, the art style was absolutely gorgeous! It was very unique and eye grabbing without taking attention away from the dialogue or plot. Really just marvelous.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Alicia

    First, I'll speak to the color palette which is absolutely riveting. The cover gives you a slight sense of it. Second, the action sequences and panel movement firmly places this graphic novel in the category of a strong illustrative style with dialogue and narration to be the icing on the cake. When the girls are playing basketball, the sequences are so expressive and action-oriented that you are really in the moment and really with the girls, looking at them and seeing them. You feel the girls First, I'll speak to the color palette which is absolutely riveting. The cover gives you a slight sense of it. Second, the action sequences and panel movement firmly places this graphic novel in the category of a strong illustrative style with dialogue and narration to be the icing on the cake. When the girls are playing basketball, the sequences are so expressive and action-oriented that you are really in the moment and really with the girls, looking at them and seeing them. You feel the girls on a deeper level, there is no shallowness here (of character or story). There are so many circles that overlap with each of the characters struggling with family issues and personal issues that their friendship, and sometimes lack of support among each other, is the driving force of their team and their growing up and navigating a world that hasn't always been kind. It's a quiet graphic novel with that makes a powerful statement demonstrating that silence often speaks louder (and pictures are worth a thousand words).

  30. 4 out of 5

    johnny dangerously

    Tremendous art, coloring, pacing, and use of comic language make this book an overall triumph. I adore the art, the clear inspiration from sports manga, the way the central metaphor is carried through color alone, all of it is an incredible display of skill that makes for a wonderful read. My only real problem is the uneven handling of characters-- if a teenager identifies more with the three minor characters rather than the two mains, they're likely to be disappointed by the quick, almost casual Tremendous art, coloring, pacing, and use of comic language make this book an overall triumph. I adore the art, the clear inspiration from sports manga, the way the central metaphor is carried through color alone, all of it is an incredible display of skill that makes for a wonderful read. My only real problem is the uneven handling of characters-- if a teenager identifies more with the three minor characters rather than the two mains, they're likely to be disappointed by the quick, almost casual way those story lines are wrapped up. In comparison, I feel like the book fumbles the last shot (see what I did there) and pulls a punch with how the main two character's stories are concluded. (view spoiler)[Though this is very much my interpretation, because I was genuinely confused when the main characters' storylines didn't end in romance. It seemed obvious to me from the way the story lead up to that point. I don't know, maybe my friendships in high school just weren't that intense. (hide spoiler)] That said, this is still a fantastic novel, and I recommend it highly.

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