Terry’s Crew

Little, Brown. Nov. 2022. 208p. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9780316499965. pap. $12.99. ISBN 9780316499989. .
Gr 5-8–In this semi-autobiographical graphic novel, Crews tells the story of brotherhood, temptation, friendship, and the importance of kindness. Terry is excited to win the lottery to attend a new prep school, but he faces self-doubt when stark class differences at the school reveal themselves. Everything seems to be moving in a good direction for Terry until Rick, the winner of last year’s talent show, invites Terry to join him in his act. Rick pressures Terry into bullying Xander, the bookworm, to prove that he’s cool and committed to the team, and when Terry succumbs to the pressure, he loses Rani, the only real friend he’s made so far. Rani and Xander eventually forgive Terry, and the trio gets involved with the talent show in their own way. Terry finds the courage to stand up to Rick and stay true to himself. Crews carefully works in mature issues that tweens may encounter without explicitly describing experiences of substance abuse and drug dealing. Even while maintaining a lighthearted plotline, Crews crafts scenes that demonstrate how classism can impact students from all walks of life and places a heavy emphasis on the importance of staying true to oneself. The diverse range of characters presents relatable situations for all readers. The vibrant cartoon-style art keeps the readers’ eyes moving from spread to spread, including a variation of page and panel styles.
VERDICT A great selection for fans of Jerry Craft’s New Kid and Johnnie Christmas’s Swim Team, deserving a spot on shelves of school and public libraries.

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