Title: Into the Dangerous World
Author: Julie Chibbaro
Illustrator: JM Superville Sovak
Genre: Realistic, Romance
Review copy: Final copy via author
Availability: On shelves now
Summary: 17-year old Ror comes from the boonies and is tough as nails and all she really cares about is drawing and painting and making art. She ends up in the ghetto that was Manhattan in 1984, where she discovers that the walls, the subways, the bridges are covered with art. Before long, she runs into trouble with Trey, the ultimate bad boy and president of Noise Ink, a graffiti crew she desperately wants to join at all costs.
When Ror falls in love with Trey, she realizes she’ll do just about anything to get up in the scene. She has some decisions to make: she wants to be a street artist but she doesn’t want to get shot by the cops; she wants her stuff in the museum but she doesn’t want to die waiting to become famous; she wants to make money selling her work in a gallery but she doesn’t want to be a puppet at the mercy of a dealer. The book follows her descent into a dangerous world, where her drawings are her only salvation.
Ror’s journey is a seamless blend of words and pictures, cinematic in its scope – a sharp-edged, indelible creation that will live inside your head.
Review: Into the Dangerous World is unique in more ways than one. The format stands out immediately. The text is complemented with illustrations throughout. Most chapters include at least two illustrations and some have even more. The content is also unusual.
Art as a means of healing is not all that unique, but the way that Ror has grown up and how she has practiced art with her father is certainly beyond the norm. Ror and her father shared a bond through art, but their relationship is extremely complicated. Ror spent years walking on eggshells with her father. That has led to her own art being all tangled up with her father and his rigid beliefs. She spends the majority of the novel working out who she is and what her art will be.
I appreciated the look into the world of graffiti in the 80s. I also found the characters interesting and intriguing even when they were not all necessarily likable. There is a dash of romance, which added a little light to the story, but that story line isn’t the main focus.
Recommendation: Get it soon. With the short chapters, fascinating illustrations and an original storyline, Into the Dangerous World is one that is likely to be popular with many young readers.
Interview with author & illustrator (Kidlit TV)