Review: Bunt! Striking Out on Financial Aid

Illustrated cover for Bunt! Striking Out on Financial Aid. A Black teenage girl is shown from the knees up. She has her hair in two short braids and has green bangs, glasses, a white and green t-shirt, blue jean shorts, a backpack stuffed with art supplies, and a messenger bag stuffed with textbooks.

Bunt!: Striking Out on Financial Aid by Ngozi Ukazu & Mad Rupert
First Second

Publisher Summary: Molly Bauer’s first year of college is not the picture-perfect piece of art she’d always envisioned. On day one at PICA, Molly discovers that—through some horrible twist of fate—her full-ride scholarship has vanished! But the ancient texts (PICA’s dusty financial aid documents) reveal a loophole. If Molly and 9 other art students win a single game of softball, they’ll receive a massive athletic scholarship. Can Molly’s crew of ragtag artists succeed in softball without dropping the ball?

My Thoughts: When I cast around to get my thoughts about Bunt! the word that pops up is fun. Molly and the rest of the crew are stressed out art folks, but there is a lot of humor winding through their days. I love the bright cover that really gives a good hint of what’s to come.

There’s a lot going on in the pages with so many characters, art, softball, and navigating the payment of tuition. Though so much is happening around them, there is still a steady stream of reasons to chuckle especially in the conversations between Molly and Ryan. He’s one of the people in her life that she can rely on along with her moms, but she also draws in an interesting assortment of students for the team. They each have their unique interests and personalities.

Molly is so full of enthusiasm about architecture and the history of her community that you can’t help but hope the best for her in both art and the softball that could solve her financial issues. Those issues are greatly related to the art school. It’s definitely a sore point that they use Molly to advertise their school while simultaneously jerking the rug out from under her.

As someone who needed loans, grants, and scholarships and sometimes couldn’t cover tuition, I had a difficult time suspending my disbelief around some of the financial situations. Eventually I decided that I would just forget the realities about the mechanics of it and enjoy this in the spirit of playfulness that the authors created.

Recommendation: Get it soon if you are looking for a fun read related to art or sports. It’s quirky and enjoyable. The vibrant art is cheerful and reading the emotions of the characters is quite entertaining. They are all feeling so much and expressing a lot.

Extras:

Author interview at The Beat

Pages: 288
Availability: On shelves now
Review copy: Final copy via publisher