Saturday, September 19, 2015

Blog Tour Review: INTO THE DANGEROUS WORLD by Julie Chibbaro

by Julie Chibbaro
Art by JM Superville Sovak
Publication Date: August 18, 2015
Published by Viking/Penguin
Pages: 352
Source: Publisher
Purchase Amazon / B&N / Indiebound


Ror lives to draw—to her, it’s like breathing; it’s how she understands life. Raised on a Staten Island commune, she’s never attended a day of school, and knows little of the outside world. When her paranoid father burns down the commune with himself inside, Ror, her mother, and sister end up in a homeless residence in Manhattan. There, she runs into trouble—and love—with Trey, the leader of Noise Ink, a graffiti crew.

On the city’s streets, and in its museums and galleries, Ror finds herself pulled in different directions. Her father wanted her to make classic art. Noise Ink insists she stay within their lines. Her art teacher urges her to go to college. But what does she want? Ror’s soul-searching—expressed in remarkable drawings and sharp-edged prose, set in the gritty Manhattan of 1984—is cinematic in its scope, and its seamless blend of text and art makes Into the Dangerous World a groundbreaking event in young adult fiction.

My Thoughts

Into the Dangerous World, set during the Reagan Era of the early 1980's, is a thoughtful story of a teenager coming into her own as she deals with the recent death of her father. The story is driven by Ror's need to create art, be expressive, have purpose, and find her place in the world that hasn't had a place for her until now.

The illustrations add depth to the story and helped express the confusion that Ror experienced from losing her father. She tried to make sense of his last words to her and she ultimately realized that she needed to make her own meaning. The vibrant graffiti was significant to the story and I would have loved to see some of the illustrations in color.

Ror is a new favorite character. She's courageous and daring and she speaks her mind - vocally (loved it when she gives Trey "real talk" or through her art. As confusing as her relationship was with her father, he also taught her to be independent, self-reliant, and imaginative. I enjoyed reading about her and knowing her thoughts and her fears. I would have liked more interactions with her sister. They were different in many ways, but there was a fierce level of protection and concern for each other.

Some Favorite Quotes:

"A wild cry of surprised joy strained at my throat. Doors flung open in my head -- I wanted to eat paint, let it zing out my fingers, get lost in the colors in this room.
Felt like I'd been waiting to breathe. Here was air." (pages 44-45) 
- When Ror attends public school for the first time and sees all that she has access to in her art class. It expands her ability to create, be expressive, and to be alive.

"I drew like people breathed.
I drew because if I didn't, I'd die.
I drew to follow the shape of the world, so I could understand how it worked and why I was here.
All right, fine, I drew because it made other kids like me --" (page 55) 
- An expansion of the previous quote, but also her art gave her the feeling of acceptance. She was different and it gave her an opportunity to be liked.

"I'm not scared to fight, Trey. Or dance. Or whatever. I just want to know what I'm fighting for. At least tell me that." (page 237)
- She needed a purpose if she was putting herself in danger. She needed to know the reason for all of the conflict and confrontation and if it was something that she could stand up for.

Into the Dangerous World is a fantastic story and I want to read more books like this one! And if this book ever becomes a full-color graphic novel, I would want to read that version of it too. I loved it!

Disclaimer:  I received a finished copy from Viking/Penguin as part of the blog tour hosted by Lady Readers Bookstuff in exchange for my honest review.  I was not compensated in any way other than book provided. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

Julie Chibbaro and Jean-Marc Superville Sovak are the husband and wife duo behind Into the Dangerous World (Viking 2015).

Julie Chibbaro was born into a family of artists, and also married one. She grew up in NYC during the explosion of graffiti art. She has written two historical novels, Redemption, which won the American Book Award, and Deadly, which won the National Jewish Book Award. JM Superville Sovak is half-Trini, half-Czech, half-Canadian. His fourth half is spent making art, for which he earned his M.F.A. from Bard College in NY.

They both live in Beacon, NY.


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