Young Adult – Emiko Superstar

Little does Emiko know, when she is fired from her summer job at an ice cream parlor, that this is a summer that will change her life. Bored and restless, she takes a position as a nanny – basically a trumped up babysitter – for some neighbors. In the process she stumbles upon the young mother’s journal, and realizes that there is a lot more going on beneath the seemingly perfect surface of her neighbor’s life.

That’s a lot more going on under Emiko’s surface as well. Despite her own misgivings, she finds herself at The Freak Show, a stage for local avant garde and absurdist performers. Emiko is not the sort of girl who normally ends up at this sort of scene, so she is surprised when she is not only fascinated, but desperate to perform herself. She steals her neighbor’s diary and reads it aloud in guise of angsty poetry. But what does it mean about her own life?

This graphic novel touches up on issues of identity, grey morality, and coming of age. Emiko is overwhelmed, and in some ways subsumed, but the atmosphere of the Freak Show. While far outside her suburban experience, the edginess and vague sense of danger are compelling to her. But what are the consequences to her sense of self? And what has the place done to the other performers?

While very short, the book manages to feel complete and not rushed.

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