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Over 3,000 refugees died last year trying to cross from Africa into Europe. Given that many Americans have never attempted such a journey nor lived in the kind of conditions that force one to attempt it, it’s easy to hear that number in the abstract and shrug. But of course, each refugee is a person.

Eoin Colfer, known for his Artemis Fowl series, has teamed up with writer Andrew Donkin and illustrator Giovanni Rigano to create Illegal, a graphic novel that chronicles the attempt of a young boy, Ebo, to reach Europe from Ghana. Ebo’s story is fictionalized but of course based on actual experiences. And the story is an excellently crafted one. Ebo is young but relatable, and the reader experiences his emotions vividly. The writers structure the narrative quite cleverly, such that the reader has little choice but to feel viscerally the tension and uncertainty of Ebo’s experiences. As the book makes clear through Ebo’s story, his survival is frequently based on sheer luck, and the reader feels the anxiety of knowing you’ll live or die by chance. Ultimately, Illegal offers an excellent, compelling narrative about an issue that desperately needs our understanding. This book seizes your attention and does the hard work of reminding you of the humanity behind the statistics and political rhetoric. Intensely recommended.

Reviewed By:

Author Eoin Colfer • Andrew Donkin • Giovanni Rigano, Illustrator
Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 144 pages
Publisher Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Publish Date 2018-Aug-07
ISBN 9781492662143
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue August 2018
Category Sequential Art


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