This graphic memoir follows Hazel as they exit the bubble of their home-schooled existence to work in Portland's "No Ivy League" to earn some summer cash so they and their friends can go to a concert across the country. The No Ivy League battles English ivy in public forest, keeping the invasive plant from strangling trees.
Hazel is intelligent, well-meaning, and adjusting to the realities of being 17. The other kids in their group have different priorities and Newlevant subtly conveys Hazel's disconnect with her art via the expressions of characters and wordless panels.
I read an early, unfinished draft of the book so many pages were still uncolored or blank, but Newlevant's intentions are clear. Hazel researches and uncovers truths about Portland, OR's history of segregation and discrimination, and scrutinizes their own education and their parent's motivations for keeping them out of public schools. This is an honest, realistic look at a young person's first brush with privilege and the decisions they make because of it. This is a true story, but nothing all that ground-breaking occurs, but this narrative is one that hopefully will open some eyes.
This book is available in comic book stores exclusively on August 7, standard bookstores will get in within a few weeks.