From School Library Journal
Grade 8 Up–Guiliano's father lends the boy and his friends the use of a garage for band practice, on the condition that they stay out of trouble. Each teen has a difficult family situation–his parents are variously sick, missing, or emotionally absent–and uses the band to find a degree of freedom, both in the abandonment of performance, and in the cathartic process of songwriting. When an amplifier necessary for a demo recording is irreparable, Alex suggests liberating equipment from a church basement, and the four protagonists find themselves having to decide how much this band really means to them. The art is marvelously atmospheric, with finely chosen watercolors accentuating the loose, cartoony inks. Almost every page has a silent or an establishing panel that gives the sequences a sense of space and place and allows readers to find the emotional subtlety behind the rendered characters. This is an interestingly quiet and spacious work for a book that is ostensibly about making lots of noise in a small space. It is also quite moving, and quietly funny, although some may find the jokes about Nazism in bad taste. A charming and understated work, with careful craftsmanship that belies its scratchy figures and cartoon faces.–Benjamin Russell, Belmont High School, NH
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In a wash of melancholy watercolors and with a sense of inescapable anxiety in the line work, Italian writer-artist Gipi tells the story of four very different boys who want to make music. As they meet in the garage that nervous Giuliano's father has let them use, clashes occur, all finely rendered in simple sweeps of story and dialogue. When troublemaker Stefano gets them an honest-to-goodness opportunity with a record label, the group attempts an ill-advised theft of musical equipment, driving the story to a tense but ultimately hopeful end. Somber throughout, with powerful use of well-placed silent panels, the art is both unusual and evocative. The characters, often less than admirable as individuals, come together believably to display loyalty to one another and real joy in their music. With a strong indie sensibility, this book is a good choice for readers interested in edgy art and human drama. Jesse KarpCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved