This Was Our Pact

By: Ryan Andrews

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. This year, Ben and his classmates are determined to find out where those lanterns really go, and they 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 down a winding road full of magic, wonder, and unexpected friendship.*
*And a talking bear.

Full-color illustrations drawn in pencil and colored digitally in Photoshop.

ISBN: 9781250196958

JLG Release: Sep 2019


Sensitive Areas: Language: Mild Language, Violence: Mild Violence
Topics: Friendship , Adventure and adventurers , Magic , Fantasy , Journeys , Comics and graphic novels

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Awards & Honors

Booklist Top of the List - 2019
Kirkus Best Books - 2019
Publishers Weekly Best Books - 2019
SLJ Best Books - 2019
NPR’s Book Concierge - 2019
CPL Best Books - 2019
NYPL Best Books - 2019

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Publishers Weekly*, School Library Journal*, Kirkus Reviews*, Booklist*, The Horn Book Magazine

School Library Journal

Each year, during the Autumn Equinox Festival, the townsfolk release lanterns into the nearby river in honor of a local folk song. And every year, a group of boys ride their bikes along the river to follow the lanterns, always stopping partway through. This year, they make a pact to follow the lanterns for as long as possible and discover where the Each year, during the Autumn Equinox Festival, the townsfolk release lanterns into the nearby river in honor of a local folk song. And every year, a group of boys ride their bikes along the river to follow the lanterns, always stopping partway through. This year, they make a pact to follow the lanterns for as long as possible and discover where they go. But one by one, each rider turns back until the only ones left are narrator Ben and perpetual tag-along Nathaniel. The two boys discover wonders around them: an anthropomorphized bear, a potion maker, and more. This is a charming read, thanks to adventurous Nathaniel, who remains steadfast and self-assured despite enduring verbal bullying from the other boys, in contrast to insecure, timid Ben. The palette is dominated by an inky, navy blue sky infused with ethereal blue stars, occasionally interrupted by vibrant, warm hues. Imprecise linework mirrors the fluidity of the book’s reality, and Ben has a Harry Potter–like appearance. For readers who want an escapist fantasy with a light touch. Hand this title to fans of whimsical or unpredictable adventures such as Neil Gaiman’s Fortunately, the Milk or Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time.

Horn Book

Hundreds of paper lanterns are set afloat on the night of the Autumn Equi¬nox Festival, and narrator Ben and four pals vow to follow them on bicycles to discover where they go. But one by one the kids renege on their pact and turn back, leaving Ben alone on Toad Canyon Bridge, “the barrier that all our parents made us promise never to cross.” Hundreds of paper lanterns are set afloat on the night of the Autumn Equi¬nox Festival, and narrator Ben and four pals vow to follow them on bicycles to discover where they go. But one by one the kids renege on their pact and turn back, leaving Ben alone on Toad Canyon Bridge, “the barrier that all our parents made us promise never to cross.” Ben is soon joined by tagalong Nathaniel, an astronomy buff who’d been trailing the group. Ben grumpily allows Nathaniel to accompany him: “It’s not that I didn’t LIKE Nathaniel. It’s more that, well… no one ELSE did.” Behind the two boys looms a shadowy creature with glow¬ing saucers for eyes. This creature—never seen by the boys—is strange, but not particularly frightening, and it hints at the unusual surprises in store in a graphic novel that started as straightforward realism. Sure enough, after the first page-turn in chapter two, a new character is introduced: a talking bear whom Nathaniel immediately befriends. Magical adventures ensue, as the boys also meet a grouchy potion-brewer, a map-making crow, and other supernatural animals and beings. Throughout Andrews’s panel illustrations, blue hues dominate the outdoor scenes and jewel tones saturate his interior settings. An enthralling tale of friendship, determination, and wonder.

Book Details

ISBN

9781250196958

First Release

September 2019

Genre

Fic

Dewey Classification

[Fic]

Trim Size

8 1/2" x 6"

Page Count

336

Accelerated Reader

Level 3; Points: 2;

Scholastic Reading Counts

N/A

Lexile

N/A

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

First Second

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Language: Mild Language, Violence: Mild Violence

Topics

Friendship, Adventure and adventurers, Magic, Fantasy, Journeys, Comics and graphic novels,

Standard MARC Record

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Cover Art

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