Hex Americana

Iron Circus Comics. Aug. 2023. 380p. pap. $15. ISBN 9781945820762.
Gr 7 Up–Ken, a “Yokai-American” teen, lives in a supernatural town populated by a colorful mix of monsters and other creatures. Although he’s barely a novice driver, Ken’s obsession is the town’s all-star racing tournament, Hex Americana, and its many celebrities. After Ken falls through the ground into a hidden cave, he meets Dante Willow, the ghost of a legendary 17-year-old Hex Americana racer who died in what appeared to be a tragic racing accident. Sparks soon fly between the two as they team up to race Dante’s car, solve the mysteries surrounding his death, and right some old wrongs. Teens will be drawn in by the flirty exchanges between Dante and Ken as well as the action-packed car racing sequences. The age of the main characters coupled with the sweet story and lack of mature content make this a relevant selection for both middle school and high school libraries. Although the main plot is nicely resolved, a central mystery is never unraveled, leaving readers with questions that could potentially be answered in further volumes. Ken is coded as Japanese American, while Dante appears white, and both identify as gay. Side characters represent a variety of skin tones and identities.
VERDICT Packed with gnomes, mummies, witches, and cyclops mechanics more cute and comedic than creepy, this fun fantasy will appeal to fans of Molly Knox Ostertag and Grace Ellis.

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