This coming-of-age sequel set in 1994, has four teens whose home lives were falling apart, come together in an unlikely alliance. In the first volume, the internet brought them together, but now they grapple with the consequences of their choices as they all live in a home with other wayward teens who are on the fringes of society.
Allison, who escaped from a manipulative and abusive father with her boyfriend Sam, is struggling with fitting in while Sam wonders if he made the right decision to leave home to be with her. Richard has recently moved to the local high school and been bullied by someone he knew years ago at a summer camp, finds out why this former campmate has it out for him (and the reason has to do with Star Trek!). And we really get to know Tina, a tough computer expert who puts others first but deserves to find her own happiness with another alternative music fan that she meets at a local concert. The stories of these disenfranchised and realistic characters, who are tail-end Gen X’ers, ring true. They ache for connection, and reach out to others, sometimes successfully and sometimes not as they grow up in a changing world.
The art is done in black and white with blue accents for shadows and to infer other colors. A variety of panel placements and computer screens successfully pull you into this world of technology and limitless possibilities. This graphic novel effectively captures the early grunge era of the 1990s and reminds us of that era of technology -computer usage before the World Wide Web via dial-up. It looks so very primitive now but was cutting edge for a new generation of youth who would come of age with home computers.
The conclusion leaves a few narrative threads hanging, plus I have enough nostalgia for that era, to tune in for more!