"New life breathed into old characters....This straightforward, fun story lightly teaches readers to navigate changing friendships and the importance of trying new things even if it means doing it alone." -- Kirkus Reviews
Betty Cooper and her buddies from Archie's Riverdale are reimagined for middle-grade readers in this full-length, full-color graphic novel written by rising star Sarah Kuhn and drawn by critically acclaimed artist J. Bone!
Betty Cooper and Val Smith are best friends ready to start middle school. They've always done everything together--taken the same classes, played the same games, and created the world of Sparklespacelandia in Betty's backyard together--so naturally, Betty assumes they'll continue to be an unbreakable duo once the school year starts. But Val finds herself drawn toward pursuing a music elective, and does it without Betty at her side. Suddenly Betty's on her own for the first time since Val moved to the neighborhood, and she's struggling to deal with being lumped in with the loser drama class--that just happens to be dominated by snotty and powerful Veronica Lodge! Even the presence of other friends like Archie, Jughead, and Sabrina isn't making Betty feel better about her estrangement from Val. Will Betty and Val find a new way to connect, or has middle school ended their friendship for good?
Sarah Kuhn and J. Bone deliver an authentic and funny tale of middle-school life as they reimagine the iconic gang from Riverdale into contemporary middle-grade students. Full of lively dialogue and stunningly hilarious art, the dynamics of friendship and school struggles are as classic as the characters themselves--and fresh and engaging for today's readers.
Sarah Kuhn is the author of the popular Heroine Complex novels, a series for the adult market starring Asian American superheroines. The first book is a Locus bestseller, an RT Reviewers' Choice Award nominee, and one of the Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog's Best Books of 2016. Her YA debut, the Japan-set, romantic comedy I Love You So Mochi, came out in summer 2019 and was a Junior Library Guild selection. Other projects include "The Ruby Equation" for the Eisner-nominated comics anthology Fresh Romance, a YA comic book continuation of the teen cult classic movie Clueless, and a series of Barbie-licensed comics.
J. Bone jumped into the comic book industry in 1999 with the publication of Solar Stella, for which he received an Eisner Award nomination. He's perhaps best known for his work on The Spirit and The New Frontier for DC Comics, and two issues of Spider-Man: Tangled Web for Marvel Comics. Most recently, J. Bone has been inking a number of Archie projects, including a Kevin Keller miniseries and Archie Meets Batman '66.
Betty and Val have been best friends since Val moved into the neighborhood years ago. They've grown up doing everything together, including creating the epic fantasy world of Sparklespacelandia! But the new real world of middle school threatens to be the end of both Sparklespacelandia and their friendship. Betty had expected that she and Val would take the library science elective together, so she's puzzled when Val says she needs to follow her passion and take music as her elective, leaving them with no classes together. Now Betty is stuck in drama with the rest of her friends who didn't get their first choices. Miserable, Betty wants nothing more than to keep the spark of Sparklespacelandia alive even if it's not what she expected. Betty will need to learn how to listen to her friends and come to understand that it's OK to let people be creative in their own ways. If she does, maybe Betty and Val's friendship can survive. Realistic illustrations are reminiscent of the older Archie comics but with softer lines and preteen shapes giving them a younger appearance. Backgrounds are sparsely drawn, allowing young readers to focus on the characters' faces and interactions. This straightforward, fun story lightly teaches readers to navigate changing friendships and the importance of trying new things even if it means doing it alone. Betty presents white, Val is cued as black, and the supporting cast of characters is diverse. A lighthearted coming-of-age story.