I often tell students: this book changed my life.

This statement has made this book one of the most-read books in my classroom library. Last year, all three copies of Charles Burns’ Black Hole went missing by the end of the year. This book is foundational to my library, because it’s always one of the first books I can convince resistant readers to try; there’s illustrations, sex *gasp*, murder *double-gasp*, and sexually transmitted infections that mutate the carrier.

The premise is as follows: it’s the 1970s in a suburb of Washington State and a bunch of teenagers are beginning to develop mutations that leave them alienated from mainstream society. Outcast by their peers, they move into the woods where someone, or something, begins murdering them.

I love this book for many reasons – the mystery, story, and fast-paced plot keep readers turning pages. However, this book changed my life because it was the first time I ever read an account of teenagers who had sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Often, sex education doles out statistics about STIs, warning signs, and a stern lecture to either “wait until marriage” or “always use a condom.” Having a STI is often is a taboo topic and narratives around the stigma, and often shame, of having a STI are absentee. Black Hole presents a conversation starter – around safe sex, consent, and honest communication – all within a creepy, sometimes grotesque, graphic novel.

Buy Black Hole here


Posted by:Shannon

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