Mark Kneece (writing) Julie Collins-Rousseau (art)
A YALSA 2007 Great Graphic Novel For Teens
Josh Clayton's mother has killed a man and left Josh in charge of disposing of the body. The trouble is, the body will not stay put.
From dogs to low-life trailer park denizens, Josh’s life slips ever more deeply into hell as he attempts to keep the corpse under wraps. Josh, a sensitive teenager, attempts to persevere in the face of a morbid dilemma: guilt and fear over the crime conflict with his reluctant devotion to his mother. In the meantime, he has the additional task of taking care of his younger brothers and sister while enduring the ordinary minefield known as high school. As pressure on Josh builds to critical mass, he suddenly finds himself involved in a relationship with Michelle. She tries to understand him. And, to her credit, she almost does. Josh is forced to take a difficult stand against his own mother or never be able to move on.
By two members of the faculty of sequential art at the Savannah College of Art & Design.
"Utterly credible dialogue and very intelligent black-and-white artwork."
"Collins-Rousseau gets a good deal of credit for her convincing visual creation of the world these characters inhabit. She has an approach similar to Alex Robinson, if he was, say, inked by Journey-era William Messner-Loebs. There's a powerful sense of place, especially in the scenes of lower-class misery like the inside of Josh's family's trailer, or the parking lot of the convenience store where the local hookers ply their trade.
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it and by how well many parts of it succeeded in keeping me turning the pages, all the way to the end. Grade: 4/5"
-Alan David Doane, Comic Book Galaxy
"The story clips along and is hard to put down, with at times unbearable tension. Each panel tells a story, but Rousseau's art never gets carried away with "artiness," and the quiet pathos of Josh's face provides a graphic equivalent of those elegant turns found in great short stories."
"Will keep you riveted. The reappearance of the body-or parts of it-simply reinforces the themes of class, situational ethics and morality that confront Josh. Those ideas, interwoven through a pell-mell plot with dead-on observations about the margins of society, show a couple of masters at work.
-Andrew Smith, Knight-Ridder Papers
"What a story. Wonderfully original."
-Mike Sangiacomo, Cleveland Plain Dealer
"The emotional range and care of the main character keeps the story believable and compelling. The illustrations are clear and well framed yet have a roughness to them that capture the harshness of the characters' lives."
-School Library Journal
A NY Public Library Book for the Teen Age 2006.
6x9, 164pp., B&W, jacketed hardcover: $17.95
Trade paperback: 6x9, 160pp., B&W, trade paperback, $11.95