It’s 2012, and 12-year-old Lucy is coping with seventh grade. Her mother travels the world, and her grandmother is undergoing treatment for cancer. Her friend Vanessa is worried about which boys like her, and her friend Rupa is being pressured by her parents to overachieve and set her future already.
Lucy in the Sky, written by Kiara Brinkman and illustrated by Sean Chiki, is a year in the life of an uncertain young woman who loves music. She’s a drummer, and when she discovers her father’s Beatles records, she’s inspired to start a band. That means enlisting classmate Georgianna as the guitarist, which causes friction. They have lots in common, mainly around music. Her old friends are upset Lucy is spending more time with someone new instead of them. They have history together, but is that enough?
Lucy is not interested in romance, but she does want her lonely father to reach out. As the story continues, she learns more about her family’s history, coming to see her parents and grandmother as people, not just relatives. When things are difficult, there’s always the music. Even that is bittersweet, though, as eventually she’ll have heard it all.
The many small panels are well-suited to the conversational, down-to-earth story. It’s a thick, dense book with a lot happening, and yet there’s space for moments and reaction and the details of everyday life. That makes this a rich read to sink into. The thin-line style is approachable with a slightly European feel that suits the subject matter.
(Older readers may find themselves dismayed that Lucy has to have it explained to her how to play a record and who the Beatles were. But their heyday was over fifty, almost sixty years ago. It makes sense that it’s her grandmother, not her father, who tells her what it was like hearing them as a teen.)
Spending a year with Lucy as she copes with change is rewarding and illuminating while acknowledging the importance of popular music in handling moods. (Review originally posted at Good Comics for Kids.)