Life in a small town like Americus is tough for a lonely freshman nerd that loves books in a town that seems to hate them. Neil Barton loses his best (and only) friend to military school after his friend’s mom discovers he SHUDDER reads fantasy books. Now Neil is all alone in the frozen wasteland that is a Small Town America high school with only his favorite fantasy series, Apathea Ravenchilde, to keep him company, but when his best friend’s mom takes her war against Neil’s favorite books to the city council, he faces losing his only source of joy and hope. Can he take inspiration from Apathea and fight the forces of darkness?
This is a sweet, funny look at growing up and coming of age in a small town. The fact that it sort of elevates libraries and young adult librarians to a heroic status didn’t figure in my positive review at all.* The art has a simple, cartoony appeal and I loved the Apathea Ravenchilde fantasy interludes. Americus takes a close and hilarious look at censorship, alienation, the power of literature and imagination, and dark side of unquestioning certainty. The villains of the piece aren’t the dragons and orcs of Neil’s fantasy series, but the small-mindedness that seems to follow teenagers everywhere. A great read for fans of realistic, slice-of-life comics. I also think that fans of the Harry Potter books could really enjoy this skewering of anti-Harry Potter hysteria.
*Okay, maybe it did a little tiny bit.