Friday, July 5, 2024

Ready Or Not by Andi Porretta!

Today's read hit the shelves on the 2nd and comes from a graphic novel printed a few years ago, Roofhoppers, but now carries a new title (maybe some other changes, but I wouldn't know). When I think of graphic novels, I usually expect some sort of fantasy, paranormal, science fiction, horror, or mystery twist, but lately, it seems as if there have been quite a few coming out on the contemporary end. This one slides right into that trend. 

So, let's take a peek!

by Andi Porretta
Atheneum Books
YA Contemporary  /  Graphic Novel
336 pages

An anxious teen hopes that a summer of adventure and offbeat dares will keep her friend group together after graduation in this luminous coming-of-age graphic novel with the feel-good vibes of Booksmart and Morgan Matson’s Since You’ve Been Gone.

With senior year finally behind them, Cassie and her three best friends are on their way to what’s next. Like their parents, the crew has always been there’s Marcy, the artist, for whom style is self-expression and sarcasm is a love language; Aaron, the future lawyer, whose good humor balances out his competitive streak; Nico, the musician, whose flirtatiousness, obliviousness, and recent interest in a rising senior are becoming increasingly unbearable to Cassie; and of course, Cassie herself, the only one who doesn’t have her future all figured out.

This summer is their last chance to make memories together in New York City before everyone but Cassie scatters across the globe for college—and she’s determined to make the most of it. Her plan? They’ll spend August playing the game of dares and risks they invented as kids! From adventurous to outrageous, these dares will definitely make for an unforgettable summer. Even better, Cassie is hopeful they’ll help the group stay friends no matter what…because she is not ready for a future without them.



The desire to hold on to what was as the new begins hits with natural heart and heartache to bring the feelings home.

High school is done and gone, leaving one last summer for the close group of four friends before each embarks on the next stage of their life. Only Cassie is staying in town and working at her parents' business until she decides what she wants to do. Her hope to spend the last three months with her friends before they split quickly dims as each one starts to slide into preparation for their departure Then, Cassie has an idea. With a more challenging game of dare, the group comes together. As they do, the fears and insecurities of each one starts to come to light...and they learn that even the long-years of friendship hasn't taught them everything there is to know about each other.

The unsure time between high school and college/job comes across with angst, uncertainty, anticipation, and so many other emotions in a very familiar way, and these pages handle them wonderfully. Cassie's hopes meet disappointing reality as she wants to hold on to something that is already slipping away or, at least, changing. The doubt and sadness is understandable and easy to relate to as she simply wants to spend more time with her friends. This comes across even better thanks to the relationship between the four. They might have very different personalities, but it's clear they share a special connection, and this makes the sadness that they are about to part that much more potent. Yet, the growing schism is also obvious, especially as they push each other away thanks to their own fears of what is about to come and not being enough or really ready for it.

The graphic novel aspect is nicely done. The artwork fits the atmosphere and brings across the emotions well. It creates an easy, quick read despite the depth and emotional weight. While this does make it much more approachable and allows the characters to connect with the reader in a visual way, it also skims a bit too quick over the circumstances when compared to a full-fleshed novel. This weakens the emotional possibilities and messaging, since it keeps the characters and their thoughts an arm's length away. 

This is a potent coming-of-age, which will hit home with anyone facing the changes which come when friends leave. It's has an honest and open atmosphere, and is an entertaining read with heart from beginning to end.

And here she is...

Andi Porretta is a Philly-born illustrator, storyteller, and rom-com watcher. She studied illustration and design at Pratt Institute and currently resides in Brooklyn with her best friends and pet cat. When she isn’t drawing, you might find Andi at her local coffee shop, palling around, or missing her subway stop (again). Ready or Not is her debut graphic novel.

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