1.) The illustration- This is the third Katie O'Neill graphic novel I've read, and her art is simply gorgeous. The lines are soft with beautiful color schemes, and no one quite designs fantastical creatures like O'Neill. It is easy to get lost in the breathtaking worlds O'Neill creates and this ocean-based one is no exception.
2.) The gentle but fierce characters- Lana is a young girl still coping with the loss of her mother and the many changes her family has faced. Not to mention, she is also facing literal natural disasters that are mostly out of her control. The power in this story, as readers familiar with O'Neill's previous works will recognize, is Lana's growth in learning to understand what she can control, what she does have an impact on, and how to communicate that to both herself and those around her.
3.) The environmental awareness- A primary theme in AQUICORN COVE is understanding the balance of life on earth. Lana is visiting her former home, a village that has depended on fishing for decades. While previously, the village and the reefs surrounding it found a balance between sustaining both sides, that balance has now shifted. When the balance shifts, there are serious consequences. This story grapples with how our own small, often selfish actions can tip the scales, even when larger forces are at work.
4.) The relationships- It's hard to pick which relationship I love most in this book: Lana and her father's? Her and her aunt? Her aunt and Aure? Lana and herself? No character is perfect, as they should not be, but there is such kindness and hope in every relationship on the page, whether it is a familial one, a romantic one, or a friend one. This is a great story for young readers to learn how to show love to others and to the themselves in the midst of problems and unresolved emotion.
Katie O'Neill's graphic novels are a magical experience beyond compare. AQUICORN COVE joins her catalog of beautiful and heartfelt stories that you will want to turn to again and again.
I received an ARC of AQUICORN COVE through Miss Print's ARC Adoption Program (https://missprint.wordpress.com/adopt/). Thank you!