Author: Ryan Inzana
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Pub Date: 3/2012
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: Ichiro is a half-Japanese boy living in Brooklyn who hasn’t quite succeeded in finding a place for his heritage in his life. On a business trip to Japan with his mother, Ichiro learns Japanese folklore from his grandfather, and one night falls through a portal into the world of the gods after chasing a raccoon. The graphic novel has appealing drawings and plenty of Japanese mythology, which I found very interesting. The plot wasn’t on par with the drawings or thematic ideas, though. It meandered at an awkward pace, which made the story hard to follow and didn’t quite make Ichiro’s change in character cohesive with his adventure.
Memorable or Forgettable: One of my favorite things about this book was the raccoon spirit, or tanuki, that led Ichiro through the portal. I would have liked to see more of it, and maybe a stronger relationship develop between them. Ichiro’s friendship with the god of war could have been more developed as well. In general, Ichiro was very disengaged with the world, and I think the story’s point would have been stronger if there had been more evidence of how his adventure in the spirit world changed him.
Cover: The cover gives a nice preview of the drawings within. Right away I was intrigued by the bold colors and contrast in size between the war god and Ichiro with the raccoon.
Age Range: 12-17
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal