Sacred Heart by Liz Suburbia
Publication Date: December 4, 2018
The children of Alexandria are just trying to live like normal teens, and Ben Schiller is no exception. But her relationship with her best friend is changing, her sister is hiding a dark secret, and tragedy looms. Also: where are all of the parents?
Filled with teenage loves and fights and parties, Sacred Heart is part summer vacation, part End Times anticipation, and a landmark coming-of-age graphic novel. The punk-infused, character-driven storytelling and innate cartooning talent heralds Suburbia as a major new voice in comics.
I popped into my library a couple weeks ago to pick up a different book and saw Sacred Heart sitting on the YA graphic novels table. Since I am, in general, pretty into graphic novels these days, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to check it out. Well, I was wrong.
It hurt a lot to check it out, because this was just… not good.
Let’s start with the most basic of things you need in a book: the characters. So many of the characters looked so similar that I had a hard time telling them apart even by the end of the book. There are also so many characters involved that I had trouble keeping them all straight! Every character was a different “annoying teenager” stereotype.
Moving on to the actual plot, or maybe I should say the lack of plot: I’m not really sure what the goal was here. There are a number of plot threads here. There’s the fact that all of the adults have disappeared. The constant murders happening throughout the town. The typical sex, drugs, and alcohol mindset of the punk rock scene, which is only intensified because of the lack of parental supervision. There’s a friends-to-lovers plot going on that takes up a big chunk in the middle of the book and is then kind of forgotten about. Any of these ideas could have made for an interesting book, but the problem is that they’re all just kind of left hanging. Even at the end of the book, nothing is resolved.
The only other thing I want to address here is whether this book is age-appropriate for YA. I’m definitely not in favor of any kind of censorship, but I do think it’s important to know that this book is definitely upper, upper, upper YA. Like, constant references to alcohol and drugs. A ton of sex, including full nudity. A pretty steady stream of profanity. I’m a little surprised that my library shelved this in the YA section.
I’m really struggling to find something positive to say about this book. The only thing I can come up with is that it was nice that the main character had a dog. I just can’t recommend this graphic novel at all.
Have you read Sacred Heart? What’s the last book that really disappointed you? Let’s talk in the comments!
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