Snapdragon by Kat Leyh, 240 pp, RL 4
Snapdragon by Kat Leyh
Review Copy from FirstSecond
Snapdragon is a graphic novel about a girl who has a run in with the town witch. And that is exactly where everything you think you know about this story flies out the window. The one-eyed, roadkill eating figure in black is Jacks, the woman who rescues and rehabilitates Good Boy, Snapdragon's dog - the only good thing about her mother's last, abusive boyfriend. When Snapdragon discovers that Jacks is earns a living by building and selling online the skeletons of the roadkill she gathers, she is fascinated. When Jacks agrees to rescue a litter of motherless possum that Snapdragon brings to her door (on the condition that Snap learn how to care for them) trust begins to grow. At home, Snap's mom is working nights and going to school. Snap's classmate and neighbor Louis shares her love of the "Witch Hill" movie franchise. As the two get closer, Louis asks to be called Lulu as she transitions.
Snap's work for and friendship with Jacks brings new things into her life, from an interest in anatomy to a revelation about her family and Jacks's connection to her grandmother. Even more surprising, Jacks shares her connection to nature and wild animals that truly is magical, a connection that Snap seems to possess as well. This magic brings loved ones lost back together and, in one life threatening moment, saves the lives of humans and animals in the climactic end of the novel.
Snap, her family and Lulu, and almost all the characters except for Jacks and the ex-boyfriend, are black and presented in a wide range of skin tones and hair textures and colors. The magic that Jacks embodies and shares with Snapdragon is not your typical witchcraft, but one that embodies harmony with living creatures and respect for all life. And it's really cool!
The ending to Snapdragon feels pretty final, but I am hoping that Snap and Jacks have one more story to share with the world!