I read about Lifetime Passes by Terry Blas. I then said I had to get a copy. Therefore, since I work at a bookstore and was sitting at my desk with extremely convenient access to the tools needed to make said order, I ordered a copy. A few days later, said book came in. My coworker thought the concept of getting lifetime passes to the Disney-like amusement park central to the plot of this graphic novel (by getting a “old person” to die while they were all there as a group) amusing.
Now, I was expecting some loser-teens trying to cause “accidents” to cause the senior citizens to kick-it to the big Ferris wheel in the sky; and of course, being stopped at every turn. Instead, it is about two-and-a-half loser teens trying to get this to happen while trying to “get attention” from social media and winning a spot to play the main characters of the park. The half-teen-loser is actually a nice kid (this is why he is only half of a loser, as he starts out as one but is redeemed) who learns that the other two are not good friends because of the fourth non-loser teen, Jackie, who is realizing that she deserves more than their crappy friendships.
Along the way in this darkly funny, powerful, simple, sweet story we learn a lot because a lot is going on. Jackie finds out about love, being different, finding yourself, family, and friendships. She learns how she is good at somethings, can still learn things, and find ways to finally communicate it all (sometimes just to herself, but also to others). There is a lot of characterizations going on. We have a Jewish character, a black character, two gay characters, an adopted-by-white-family Koran character. But there is also good advice, the history of costuming in the movies, a bit about animation by women artists, some name-dropping for famous designers and a small, but important theme of Jackie’s parents having been deported. There is even a lost unicorn pin!
The solid images that are illustrated by Claudia Aguirre are not just there to hold the story together but are a part of it. They are just as important as the text with their boldness, colors, details, and hints to support what is going around. Best for at least ages 12 and up (though I would probably start at aged 13) this is an off-beat book that might just because a sleeper hit for you.