Grace Needs Space

Random House Graphic. Apr. 2023. 208p. Tr $21.99. ISBN 9780593182390; pap. $13.99. ISBN 9780593182383.
Gr 4-7–Twelve-year-old Grace lives on a space station with her mom Evelyn (Mom), who is the chief engineer; her other mom, Kendra (Ba), is a freighter captain whom Grace hasn’t seen for nearly a year. Grace is wildly excited to travel with Ba, but their trip doesn’t go as planned. At home, Mom expects Grace to be responsible for chores, but on the ship, Kendra doesn’t trust Grace to help with anything and spends most of her time working. On Titan, Grace is awed by gravity, tall trees, and local kids, but while Ba deals with a work problem, Grace grows frustrated and takes an unauthorized field trip, leading to a fight. On the way back to the station, there is a problem with Ba’s ship, and Grace calls Mom for help. The flow of the panels makes the action easy to follow, and the characters’ expressions and body language are crystal clear; for example, when Ba says “plenty’s changed” since the last time Grace was on the ship, oblivious to Grace’s feelings, Grace’s skeptical eyebrows and half-lidded eyes speak volumes. Grace and Mom have brown skin and dark hair; Ba has light skin, green eyes, and red hair.
VERDICT The sci-fi setting creates high stakes for this realistic story of a tween ready for adventure, navigating her relationships with separated parents. Highly recommended; give to fans of Molly Brooks’s “Sanity & Tallulah.”

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