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Booklist Reviews

Isaac wants to go to class and parties and have friends, but trying to manage his epilepsy, along with a college schedule, takes more energy than he has. When fighting against the triggers is too much, he gives in and thinks all is over, but a new friend might be able to help him out of the darkness. The power of Ata's work lies in its luminous art. The images glow almost like neon signs in pink, blue, and red against black or soft yellow backgrounds, but there's enough subtlety to make the images pop rather than sear. Isaac's triggers are depicted as knives moving inexorably toward him, with his seizures shown as line drawings on a black background. Ata's work has the "pretty boys with big eyes" quality of manga, which adds to its power as it encourages readers to empathize with the gentle, misunderstood Isaac. Though bits of the story are, out of necessity, informational, Ata avoids lecturing and instead focuses on illuminating the difficulties of living with a misunderstood illness. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Originally serialized as a webcomic, Ata's debut tells the story of Isaac, an Arab-American college student struggling with epilepsy. His seizures, and the auras that precede them, leave him exhausted and often bedridden. A series of unsympathetic doctors are convinced his episodes are merely anxiety attacks. Meanwhile, he's on the verge of failing several of his classes due to unavoidable absences, and none of his friends seem to understand. Ata draws Isaac's good days in sunny yellows and soft pinks. His seizures attack in vicious spikes of black and red, often shaking him for 10 or more pages at a time. The only warnings are the auras, visually represented as a net of knives hanging over Isaac's head. Ata's art is terrific at depicting the hellish seizures, but the overall story, which takes place mostly within Isaac's thoughts as he heads for a somewhat anticlimactic breakthrough, suffers from a lack of grounding and detail. Agent: Judy Hansen, the Hansen Agency. (Oct.)

Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly.

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