Rule One: No one turns for home. Rule Two: No one looks back. On the night of the Autumn Equinox Festival, townspeople float their paper lanterns down the local river. Five boys on bikes swear this will be the year when they see where the lanterns end up. As the evening goes on some turn back, but Ben and Nathaniel remain to explore a magical adventure in this cinematic graphic novel, reminiscent of Miyazaki films and Japanese folklore. Recommended By Kim T., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
It's the night of the annual Autumn Equinox Festival, when the town gathers to float paper lanterns down the river. Legend has it that after drifting out of sight, they'll soar off to the Milky Way and turn into brilliant stars, but could that actually be true? This year, Ben and his classmates are determined to find out where those lanterns really go, and to ensure success in their mission, they've made a pact with two simple rules: No one turns for home. No one looks back.
The plan is to follow the river on their bikes for as long as it takes to learn the truth, but it isn't long before the pact is broken by all except for Ben, and (much to Ben's disappointment) Nathaniel, the one kid who just doesn't seem to fit in.
Together, Nathaniel and Ben will travel farther than anyone has ever gone, down a winding road full of magic, wonder, and unexpected friendship*.
*And a talking bear.
"Andrews' marvelously melancholic, earnest graphic novel, [is] at its core an exercise in whimsical self-reflection. This story's a quiet one in which danger flickers and hope flares at odd but fruitful moments.... Brilliantly enchanting."
Kirkus (Starred Review)
"Andrews crafts a phantasmagoria of events that recall animation from Studio Ghibli and Cartoon Saloon...picaresque episodes and a dreamlike resolution conjure a giddy sensation, like staying up all night. " Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"Richly imagined and complexly emotional..." Booklist (Starred Review)
About the Author
Ryan Andrews is an illustrator and cartoonist currently living in the Japanese countryside. He works at his drawing desk in the early morning hours, drawing comics, illustrating book covers, and designing backgrounds for cartoons, all to the sound of rummaging wild boar and badgers that come from the surrounding forest seeking out shiitake mushrooms and fallen chestnuts. He has published several short stories, including the Eisner nominated Sarah and the Seed and Our Bloodstained Roof. This Was Our Pact is his first book with First Second.