First Second’s latest release, A Map to the Sun, is part coming-of-age story, part sports drama, and part YA relationship story. It’s also, thanks to writer-artist Sloane Leong, one of the most visually arresting graphic novels of the year. The Hollywood Reporter has a peek inside the title, released today.
The book centers on five key players on a struggling girls’ basketball team, with the relationship between Ren and Luna in the foreground, as they attempt to rebuild their friendship after an intense summer cut short by family illness.
“A Map to the Sun is my attempt at sharing the thrill, pain and glory of being a young woman of color growing up in a world that has no stake in your future,” Leong told The Hollywood Reporter. “I also wanted to fill the void of representation I saw in YA coming of age comics that didn’t address what its like growing up with cultural traditions, large extended families, dealing with mental illness as a POC and fallout from colonization.”
Leong, whose work includes the Image Comics series Prism Stalker, added that the 368-page graphic novel “is my longest work to date, and I’m so happy it’s finally out in the world! If you like the gritty intimacy of josei or shoujo manga or comics like Hernandez’s Love and Rockets or Inoue’s Slam Dunk, this is for you!”
A Map to the Sun is available now in bookstores.