The Golden Hour (Paperback)
In The Golden Hour, Manuel Soto is dealing with deep grief, guilt, and anxiety after witnessing a shooting, but Smith handles the issues tenderly and honestly, focusing on one of Manuel’s coping strategies: photography. I hope everyone has friends like Sebastian and Caysha, who lovingly care for their new friend even when he isn’t sure what he needs. Smith deftly weaves in a subtle queer romance, showing readers that even people who have been scarred deserve love and kindness. This book is so patient with readers and was just what I needed.
Timothy— From Staff Picks: Intermediate
From the author of The Deep & Dark Blue comes a tender graphic novel, perfect for our time, that gently explores themes of self-discovery, friendship, healing from tragedy, and hope for a better tomorrow.
Struggling with anxiety after witnessing a harrowing instance of gun violence, Manuel Soto copes through photography, using his cell-phone camera to find anchors that keep him grounded. His days are a lonely, latchkey monotony until he's teamed with his classmates, Sebastian and Caysha, for a group project.
Sebastian lives on a grass-fed cattle farm outside of town, and Manuel finds solace in the open fields and in the antics of the newborn calf Sebastian is hand-raising. As Manuel aides his new friends in their preparations for the local county fair, he learns to open up, confronts his deepest fears, and even finds first love.
This title will be simultaneously available in paperback.
* "With a soft start and a gentle build, Smith’s graphic novel details the realities of Manuel’s trauma response while reveling in subdued, generous scenes that showcase the three friends’ everyday joys."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
* "Strong, good-natured characters and an endearing representation of young queer love round out a mighty sweet tale.... Exceptionally graceful and delightful."—Kirkus, starred review
"Smith weaves a beautiful story of resilience and the sweet onset of first love... A stunning work of self-discovery, vulnerability , and finding beauty beyond tragedy."—School Library Journal, starred review
"What makes Smith’s work so meaningful and impactful is the role of friends in helping to ground and encourage Manuel’s healing after he experienced such a terrifying situation. Young people need to know the lessons this book seeks to impart"—School Library Connection, starred review
"Manuel’s resilient determination to reclaim a new but satisfying normal out of his mind-spinning ordeal makes a compelling arc that is sure to keep readers engaged."—BCCB