The future waits for no one.
In this new world, speed and efficiency are everything, and the populace zooms along in a perpetually stimulated haze. Angela thinks she's the only person in her family—maybe the only person on the planet—who sees anything wrong with this picture. But the truth is she's not alone.
Angela finds herself recruited into a resistance movement where the key to rebellion is taking things slow. In their secret underground hideout, they create a life unplugged from the rapid-fire culture outside. Can they free the rest of the world before the powers that be shut down their utopian experiment?
From revolutionary and award-winning playwright Adam Rapp and veteran cartoonist and animator Mike Cavallaro comes Decelerate Blue, a dark, breath-taking new vision of an all-too-plausible future for America.
- (McMillan Palgrave
On the solid foundation of the dystopian genre's great forebear, George Orwell's 1984, Rapp constructs a frighteningly familiar world just a few ticks ahead of our own. Angela, a 15-year-old model of social discontent, is trapped in a culture in which all discourse and technology are devoted to speeding things up, allowing corporate masters to control a population too busy moving to slow down and think. Hope emerges in the form of an underground movement devoted to deceleration, in which Angela finds love with another female rebel. But, as in the tradition of classic dystopias, both hope and love are doomed. Rapp's characters are mainly boiled down to their motivations, but Cavallaro's sharp, slim-lined cartooning imbues a helping of personality, and his brisk, inventive page compositions keep visual interest high. Rapp uses clever linguistic devices to help define this oppressive culture, and the very structure of the form strengthens the visual metaphor, with word balloons sharply contrasted to indicate social outlook and the infrequent use of color as a symbol for the transcendent freedom that seems so painfully beyond reach. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.
The U.S.A. is governed by forces dedicated to accelerated living, monitoring everyone with implants and countless cameras and harshly punishing sedition. Speech is streamlined, literature and media are truncated, and teenager Angela's parents fall into line, shrugging off horrifying punishments doled out to those resisting the new order as what they deserve. After Angela learns that her parents are sending her grandfather to a "reduction colony" for not keeping his heart rate up to government standards, she visits him and learns that he buried something for her by the biggest trees by the sprawling, oxygenated Megamall. She cuts class to get it but is grabbed by someone who leads her into a literal underground movement—and she doesn't want to leave. At 208 pages of stark black-and-white illustration by Cavallaro, punctuated by color in powerful moments (as when Angela experiences her first "girl kiss"), this is a substantial graphic novel. But despite moments of brillia nce in the story, it suffers from its own acceleration, narrowing what could be a vast world. There's enough here for three or more books to give readers more time with Angela as she decelerates, learns, and finds love in resistance fighter Gladys and to introduce more than the singular obviously nonwhite character met here. This is a strikingly illustrated book set in a potentially massive world, and readers will hope this isn't the only story to come from it. (Graphic science fiction. 14 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2016 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.
PW Annex Reviews
In a futuristic riff on Romeo and Juliet, Rapp (The Children and the Wolves) and Cavallaro (Foiled) run with the idea that humanity is in the midst of a "great acceleration," imagining a not-so-distant America in which speed, brevity, and commerce are prized above all else. Fifteen-year-old Angela feels innately uncomfortable in a world in which everyone says "Go" when they're finished speaking (as though hurling conversation back and forth), farm animals are branded with corporate logos, and cybernetic implants in citizens are just one aspect of a surveillance state. After Angela receives an illicit copy of a cult classic book, she discovers a literal underground movement striving to create a slower, more considered existence, and she finds unexpected (and tragic) romance with a fellow rebel, Gladys. It's a world of absolutes, strikingly reflected in Cavallaro's jittery, angular illustrations, which largely forgo shading in favor of stark black-and-white scenes; color is used only twice, powerfully heightening the emotions in each scene. Rapp's rapid-fire dialogue eerily evokes a society hurtling down a troubling road and raises haunting questions about sacrifices made in the name of safety, productivity, and progress. Ages 14–up. (Feb.)
Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly Annex.
School Library Journal Reviews
Gr 10 Up—Welcome to a brave new world that is marketing-forward and tech-heavy. Culture has been reduced to snippets of perfectly packaged and abbreviated elements. It's a world run by the Guarantee Committee (GC), and the inhabitants are "protected" and monitored to ensure that they are keeping everything short. Students at Hyper High no longer study the classics; instead, they take Brief Lit, which abridges the classics and simplifies the language. It's a world that 15-year-old Angela hates. She wants to revel in language and luxuriate in art, so it isn't difficult for her to commit to an Underground community that she discovers by accident in Blackhawk Caves. In the Underground, Angela falls in love with Gladys and becomes an active part of the resistance. As with all great tragedies, it is a love destined for heartbreak. Rapp and Cavallaro successfully rely on the problem play format and use it to weave a cautionary tale about our fast-paced world. Cavallaro's choices of predominantly black-and-white artwork complement this gripping, thought-provoking narrative. Frames are employed to create unique panels that propel readers to the conclusion, and the spare use of full color heightens the emotion of the piece. VERDICT Fans of George Orwell's 1984 and Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 will find much to ponder in this notable graphic novel.—Jodeana Kruse, R. A. Long High School, Longview, WA
Copyright 2016 School Library Journal.