Suncatcher, which is published by Random House Graphic, is written and illustrated by Jose Pimienta. The graphic novel follows Beatriz, an aspiring musician who is looking to create the one song that will save her grandfather’s soul. She and her grandfather were really close when he was alive and he inspired her love of music. After he died, Beatriz discovered that the soul of her grandfather was trapped in one of his old guitars. The only way she can get him out is by creating the perfect song that he could never create. Beatriz joins a band who she thinks will help her reach her goal. However, Beatriz becomes obsessed with creating the perfect song and nothing will stand in her way.
This is quite possibly one of the most unique premises that I’ve ever seen. It’s one thing for a premise to focus around music, but I’ve never seen it combined like this with a supernatural element. By just the premise, I can tell the amount of love and dedication that Pimienta put into this graphic novel. Suncatcher feels like it should be associated with Latinx folklore, especially because of the way that the central plot was introduced. What makes it more unique is that it involves a teenager and her grandfather. The story could be extremely relatable to anyone who has lost a grandparent or just to anyone who picks up the graphic novel.
Coming from a much more personal experience, I admire how close Beatriz and her grandfather were. In many ways, I related to their bond in the relationship that I had with my grandfather when he was alive. It’s rare for a piece of media to make me reflect on such a personal relationship. My personal taste in music, much like with Beatriz, comes from my grandfather. Music was one of the few aspects that brought us closer together. Beatriz and her grandfather were obviously close, which elevates the sentimentality of this graphic novel. I wish this book was available when my own grandfather passed away. It would have been such a therapeutic experience during such troubling times.
From the cover of Suncatcher, it was obvious that music would play an important role in the story. However, I was pleasantly surprised that punk music would be the main genre that the graphic novel would focus on. Much like with Dead End Kids #1, a comic book I reviewed last year, it felt like stepping into a time machine of my own room during the early 2000s. Much like Beatriz, I had posters on my walls of all the punk and pop-punk bands that I grew up listening to. This element of nostalgia made this graphic novel much more special to read.
The art style and colors paired very well with the central story in Suncatcher. Pimiento was able to capture how punk shows would look like during the time that the story takes place. It got to the point that I imagine myself being in those crowds and taking part in the mosh pits. Maybe it’s because I’ve been to way too many shows, but the art style invoked all of my other senses. I could smell, hear, and picture exactly how these shows would go. The lettering was very reminiscent of notes that someone could find in a high schooler’s notebook. Given that the central character is a teenager, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a deliberate choice.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading Suncatcher. It’s one of those rare gems that one may stumble upon and walk away full of emotions after having read it. It’s emphasis on the power of music, family relationships, and therapeutic elements were definite strong points of this graphic novel. I’m still overwhelmed as to how emotional this book left me. I understand that it’s only March, but Suncatcher is already on my list of best books of 2020.
Suncatcher will be available on May 19, 2020 at book stores everywhere.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading Suncatcher. It’s one of those rare gems that one may stumble upon and walk away full of emotions after having read it. It’s emphasis on the power of music, family relationships, and therapeutic elements were definite strong points of this graphic novel. I’m still overwhelmed as to how emotional this book left me.