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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

    Rod Brown

    A diverse group of high school girls, all with various family and personal problems, flounder around for the first 100 pages or so before being drawn together into a basketball team that flounders around for another 200 or so pages. Teamwork, friendship, personal breakthroughs, rah, rah, rah. There are many good elements here, in what wants to be a low-key, slice-of-life teen drama, but the story was in need of focus and tighter editing. And a professional colorist. The coloring was atrocious and A diverse group of high school girls, all with various family and personal problems, flounder around for the first 100 pages or so before being drawn together into a basketball team that flounders around for another 200 or so pages. Teamwork, friendship, personal breakthroughs, rah, rah, rah. There are many good elements here, in what wants to be a low-key, slice-of-life teen drama, but the story was in need of focus and tighter editing. And a professional colorist. The coloring was atrocious and distracting if not actively working against the story. It's basically a two-color system -- so everything on a given page is, say, either blue or green -- but the color register changes randomly every few pages so now suddenly everything is purple or salmon, then orange and indigo, etc. I could see doing this if the color schemes related to games vs. practice vs. home life or distinguished focus on the different characters, but, no, none of that. A consistent color scheme throughout the book would have been helpful in a story that revolves around a sporting team that wears uniforms and plays against teams that should be wearing different colored uniforms. (Sometimes, the two teams' uniforms are colored the same on the same page!) Also, some of the characters look very similar and confusion might have been minimized had they been given consistent hair colors or skin tones. For a more humorous and better colored take on a women's basketball team, try The Avant-Guards, Vol. 1.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nenia ✨️ I yeet my books back and forth ✨️ Campbell

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

  4. 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.

  5. 5 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 5 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.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Key West Library

    This was such a fantastic graphic novel. It dealt with female friendships, family drama, and how to be on a team. I loved the neon colors of the pages and the artwork was amazing as well. Overall, this was a fantastic graphic novel that I would highly recommend to anyone.

  11. 5 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!

  12. 5 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. 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.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kitty ✨

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

  14. 4 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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. 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.

  17. 5 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.

  18. 5 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.

  19. 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.

  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

    Red

    I was both rly excited and rly nervous to read Sloane Leong’s newest work, because Prism Stalker was SO POWERFUL and SO UNDENIABLY PERFECT and just gave me all the feelings. And it’s not like this is a sequel or a spiritual successor or even in the same genre or even in the same point on the sliding scale of idealism vs cynicism!!! I just wanted to love this as much as Prism even though that is a weird unnecessary burden for me to be hauling along with me to each of their books for no good godda I was both rly excited and rly nervous to read Sloane Leong’s newest work, because Prism Stalker was SO POWERFUL and SO UNDENIABLY PERFECT and just gave me all the feelings. And it’s not like this is a sequel or a spiritual successor or even in the same genre or even in the same point on the sliding scale of idealism vs cynicism!!! I just wanted to love this as much as Prism even though that is a weird unnecessary burden for me to be hauling along with me to each of their books for no good goddamn reason. Okay. Anyway. That’s the last I’ll say about Prism. This is Map to the Sun. This is great. The constant stark and sudden and rich color palette exchanges every few pages is very affecting. Wow it’s got moodiness downpat. And I love how much it’s about female friendships (even when I wanted it to be significantly gayer than it was, which to be fair is pretty gay already). Women getting to be friends and holding each other through the constant abuses rained down on us by men is something I always want more of. Like pictures of cats, this is something I will always want more of. I think there’s only two reasons this isn’t four stars for me are, 1, because I’m a huge fucking homo I wanted Luna and Ren’s relationship to be closer and happier more often than it was distant and combative. That wore thin since the book sets them up close together in the prologue and we pretty much never get to go back there. Yes this is totes more like real life this way, but I also want to aspire for women to get to love each other’s company more than they get to. (Btw I say women a lot in this but tbh a lot of these characters seem like enby eggs.) And 2, Luna and Jetta are drawn waaaaay too similarly and I was constantly back tracking to try to figure out who was in which scene. Sometimes the only thing differentiating them is that Luna has freckles, but also sometimes Luna doesn’t have freckles??? I love Sloane Leong’s art style to death and ask for none of it to be changed, but when not used in a sci-fi setting where all the characters are of different species? The characters just blended together too often and I would lose track of my emotional arc in the story because I wouldn’t know who had said what to whom in multiple scenes. There’s so much this art does right, like the scenes on the court are so beautiful and fluid, and when a character is by themselves you really feel like you’re inhabiting their space with them. Seriously the colors in this, my god. Great book overall though, and once more I can’t wait to see what’s next for Sloane Leong. Such a fiery, mighty, enormous fucking talent to watch out for.

  22. 5 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.

  23. 4 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. 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.

  24. 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!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mori

    TW: Self Harm Page 94-95 shows a character dealing with self-harm so take care when reading. I wish I'd known about it before I went in but it's only for that panel and then it moves on to another plotline TW: Self Harm Page 94-95 shows a character dealing with self-harm so take care when reading. I wish I'd known about it before I went in but it's only for that panel and then it moves on to another plotline

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

    The illustrations in this graphic novel and the color palette are amazingly beautiful! A heartwarming story about girls with different backgrounds coming together to form a basketball team and help lift each other up.

  27. 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!

  28. 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!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    I was so invested in these characters and their friendships...on seemingly so little detail! The color palette is basically another character in this. It just feels like a hot California afternoon on every page.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Deborah

    This was an ok read. The illustrations were beautifully drawn and each color matched the tone of the scene. The stories were all over the place, no closure for some. Left it as if there could be a sequel?

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