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Young Adult Fiction 355
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Jessica Cruz strives to be the perfect student, a helpful daughter, and a good friend. She's recently started a fellowship program with a museum that houses an Aztec exhibit and feels strangely drawn to the Aztec gods. Jessica tries to do her best in all aspects of her life, because she understands how quickly her life can turn upside down if I.C.E. comes after her undocumented family. While she is a part of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, she may have some protection, but her parents don't. When her father is detained by I.C.E., Jessica is terrified and angry. She has dreams of two Aztec gods, one encouraging her anger and the other urging her to hope. Jessica must choose a path forward to protect her family and her community.


1.) The illustration: Steph C.'s use of color in this graphic novel is phenomenal. The coloring echoes the Lantern Corp colors and reveals Jessica's conflicting emotions (though the Lantern Corps don't make any appearance). I especially liked the use of foreshadowing with the coloring in the first scenes of the Aztec god exhibit.

2.) The powerful themes: Jessica Cruz's story reflects the unjust circumstances many undocumented immigrants face. It also highlights the significant connection between local politics and treatment of immigrants in a community. In Coast City, the anticipated winner of the mayoral race is anti-immigrant and fuels harmful rhetoric in the community. Immigration is not just a federal topic but a local one as well, and for Jessica, the ongoing debate about immigrations directly and detrimentally harms her community.

3.) The characters: Jessica is a character you're rooting for from the first chapter. She has a great heart and, perhaps unbeknownst to herself, the potential to be an amazing hero. I haven't read Jessica Cruz's Green Lantern saga in the comics, but this absolutely made me want to. I also loved the side characters of her friends and her family.

Powerful themes of immigration and community combine with stunning illustration in UNEARTHED: A JESSICA CRUZ STORY.
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