Burnout

Burnout cover

Danni and her mother have moved to a logging town in Oregon. Dad split, and she doesn’t like Mom’s new boyfriend, because she doesn’t like the person Mom becomes around him, more concerned with others than with herself.

In Burnout, Danni’s grumpy and bitter, a very typical teen. She doesn’t like her surroundings, but she can’t do anything to change them, so her pain comes out as complaints. Then she develops a crush on Haskell, her morose soon-to-be-step-brother with secrets. Turns out that he’s an environmental activist (or eco-terrorist, depending on whose label you accept), which pulls her between her attraction to him and her best friend, a smart rocker from a logging family.

Burnout cover

Danni feels three-dimensional. She’s not a paragon, but she’s also more than a group of clichés. She can be hard to understand, hiding what she’s feeling, as so many of her age do. The other characters also seem to have lives beyond what we see on the page; events involving them that go on whether or not we’re watching.

The story is typical for the Minx line — a teen girl goes through a significant growing-up experience that gives her a better understanding of love and family — but there’s more depth than in other releases, and more mature treatment of the themes. This book doesn’t provide a lot of pat answers or simple life lessons. Like reality, things here are more complicated.

Rebecca Donner hasn’t previously worked in comics, but she’s written novels, films, and plays, and the experience serves her well. The art’s impressive, with emotive, unfussy figures. Inaki Miranda well portrays the natural setting, whether wide swathes of nature or the imposing presence of a huge tree or a night of pouring rain. The lines are clean but there’s plenty of details in the background, grounding the work in reality. (The publisher provided a review copy.)



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