Author Interview, Review, & Giveaway: A Map to the Sun by Sloane Leong
A Map to the Sun has one of those covers that just draws you in. I couldn’t resist picking it up – and asking author and artist Sloane Leong about her color usage, her youth experience, and more! Check it out plus my thoughts below and be sure to pick up A Map to the Sun, out now!
A Map to the Sunby Sloane Leong
Published by: First Second
on August 4, 2020
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Graphic Novel
One summer day, Ren meets Luna at a beachside basketball court and a friendship is born. But when Luna moves to back to Oahu, Ren’s messages to her friend go unanswered.
Years go by. Then Luna returns, hoping to rekindle their friendship. Ren is hesitant. She's dealing with a lot, including family troubles, dropping grades, and the newly formed women's basketball team at their highschool. With Ren’s new friends and Luna all on the basketball team, the lines between their lives on and off the court begin to blur. During their first season, this diverse and endearing group of teens are challenged in ways that make them reevaluate just who and how they trust.
Sloane Leong’s evocative storytelling about the lives of these young women is an ode to the dynamic nature of friendship.
Interview with Sloane Leong
A Map to the Sun uses a beautiful palette of sunset tones. Can you share how you used color in the story?
On a structural level, I use color to separates scenes and invokes a particular mood and atmosphere. But since I was using strictly non-literal color for the entire book, I had to come up with new and interesting color palettes so there was a lot of color experimentation! Some of the scenes, I wasn’t sure what color to make them and I ended up choosing some random but cohesive palettes and they ended up giving a new tone to the scene that really added unique narrative layers.
Did any of your high school experiences make it into the story?
Yes, tons! Being in a ragtag basketball team, being a young woman of color, wanting to be a support system for your family but feeling the weight of it pressing down on you. All of it was inspired by my life and the lives of my friends and family, so its very close to my heart.
How was crafting A Map to the Sun different and similar to your previous work with Prism Stalker?
A Map to the Sun has a larger central cast than Prism Stalker does so it took time to pace out all the girls character arcs. I wanted us to get a vivid glimpse into their lives and show how they change together as a team and a group of friends. A Map to the Sun is also the longest comic I’ve drawn (360 pages aaaah!) and so the length was something fun to work with, I could have more quiet moments then something like Prism Stalker’s shorter format allows.
I was first drawn to A Map to the Sun because of its stunning and bright cover. I am a big fan of First Second books and this one is no exception!
A Map to the Sun is a story of friendship, teamwork, and growing up, revolving around basketball. This isn’t a basketball story, but a friendship story that grows through the game. The story opens with the childhood friendship of two girls, which shifts when one moves away…and then back. Added to their story is a team of diverse girls, who join the basketball team for a variety of reasons. What they find is home in each other.
This little slice of life feels true to the teenage experience. The art is breathtaking, with the variety of bright color usage that flows through the pages and shifts depending on the mood. It’s like a sunset on youth. I guess this is growing up.