Tuesday 25 July 2023


Sunshine by Jarrett J. Krosoczka (Scholastic) PB RRP $22.99 ISBN: 9781338356311

Reviewed by Dannielle Viera

Sixteen-year-old Jarrett spends a week volunteering at a camp for seriously ill kids and their families. At first he worries that it will be depressing, and that he won’t be able to connect to the children in his care. But he ends up getting as much out of the experience as the sick kids: confidence, compassion, and consolation.

Jarrett J. Krosoczka created this graphic novel based on his own real-life stint as a camp counsellor, and this gives the narrative both an arresting authenticity and a depth of emotion that is almost overwhelming. Aimed at readers aged thirteen to seventeen, the story does not shy away from the terrible truth of childhood cancer and death. However, the conclusion is both uplifting and inspiring, ensuring that teens are left heartened after turning the last page.

Jarrett’s greyscale illustrations feature touches of sunshine yellow, subtly buoying readers even during the darkest parts of the book. His choice to utilise the graphic-novel form is commendable, as it brings to life not only the vast cast of characters but also the comforting camp encounters in a relatable way.

Moving and memorable, Sunshine will stay with readers for a long time. And, like the protagonist, they will come away from the book with a fresh perspective on what really matters in this world. 

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