A Kirkus's Best Middle Grade Books of 2021 Pick
From the author of The Deep & Dark Blue comes a tender graphic novel, perfect for our time, that gently explores themes of self-discovery, friendship, healing from tragedy, and hope for a better tomorrow.
Struggling with anxiety after witnessing a harrowing instance of gun violence, Manuel Soto copes through photography, using his cell-phone camera to find anchors that keep him grounded. His days are a lonely, latchkey monotony until he's teamed with his classmates, Sebastian and Caysha, for a group project.
Sebastian lives on a grass-fed cattle farm outside of town, and Manuel finds solace in the open fields and in the antics of the newborn calf Sebastian is hand-raising. As Manuel aides his new friends in their preparations for the local county fair, he learns to open up, confronts his deepest fears, and even finds first love.
This title will be simultaneously available in paperback.
About the Author
Niki Smith is the author/illustrator of The Deep & Dark Blue and is a cartoonist based out of Munich. She is a Lambda Literary Award nominated author for Crossplay, has been digitally published by DC Comics and The Nib, and has contributed to the Lambda Literary Award-winning Beyond anthology.
Praise for The Golden Hour:
* "With a soft start and a gentle build, Smith’s graphic novel details the realities of Manuel’s trauma response while reveling in subdued, generous scenes that showcase the three friends’ everyday joys."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
* "Strong, good-natured characters and an endearing representation of young queer love round out a mighty sweet tale.... Exceptionally graceful and delightful."—Kirkus, starred review
"Smith weaves a beautiful story of resilience and the sweet onset of first love... A stunning work of self-discovery, vulnerability , and finding beauty beyond tragedy."—School Library Journal, starred review
"What makes Smith’s work so meaningful and impactful is the role of friends in helping to ground and encourage Manuel’s healing after he experienced such a terrifying situation. Young people need to know the lessons this book seeks to impart"—School Library Connection, starred review
"Manuel’s resilient determination to reclaim a new but satisfying normal out of his mind-spinning ordeal makes a compelling arc that is sure to keep readers engaged."—BCCB