Confetti Realms

Maverick Arts. Sept. 2023. 196p. pap. $14.99. ISBN 9781952303333.
Gr 9 Up–It’s Halloween night, and teen friends Radwa, Garrett, Ty, and Marissa head to the cemetery to summon a ghost to ring in the holiday. After a close call with guards, the teens find themselves in a mausoleum in the presence of an automaton and a wish-making candle. Feeling curious and reckless, the four teens take turns making a wish. Moments later, a fully animated automaton informs the teens they’ve left their homes and are now in the Confetti Realms, and if they hope to return home, they’ll need to collect four teeth for him before the start of the Transfiguration. With no other options to make their way out, the teens set out on an unpredictable and revealing journey. Rich with deep autumnal tones and intricate scenery that can be mined for its copious attention to detail, this absurd adventure, replete with anthropomorphic animals, calls to mind the bedlam of Alice in Wonderland. Through this metaphorical representation of the confusion of adolescence, topics such as mental health, consent, and interpersonal relationships are all touched upon in easily understandable ways, sometimes seriously and sometimes with a measure of dry humor, but seldom wrapped up neatly or without consequence. Of the four teens, Garrett is white; Ty appears Black, while Radwa and Marissa are of an unspecified race/ethnicity. Queer representation (nonbinary, gay) is included.
VERDICT This eccentric portal fantasy will resonate with teens questioning their identity, value, and place in the world while simultaneously providing them with escape.

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