by Amy Rose; Ryan Estrada
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Pub Date 18 Jul 2023 | Archive Date 08 Sep 2023
Letter Better Publishing Services, Iron Circus Comics
"Insightful and riveting." — KIRKUS
"A tense, thrilling account of escaping a cult." — FOREWORD
"This inspiring tale of bravery and rebellion is just what readers need right now." — SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
It’s 1997 and young Amy Rose has always known that something is off about her community. She’s forbidden from going to school or even going outside; after all, their leader says there’s no use knowing anything about a world that’s about to end. When the Hale-Bopp comet soars across the sky for the first time in over 4,000 years, Amy thinks it’s a good omen signaling the start of an amazing new future. Instead, it brings news of a horrible tragedy at a similar compound just down the road called Heaven’s Gate. Televised news reports invade the temple walls and Amy hears a new word that suddenly explains everything: cult.
Now, she must risk everything to indulge in secret trips to an abandoned off-limits library to learn what she was never meant to know: that Gandhi was not a space alien, that Star Trek wasn’t real, that her community was built on a lie, and most importantly, that banned books can give her everything she needs to escape.
Occulted is a shocking graphic memoir about the power of literary freedom. Survivor Amy Rose, Banned Book Club co-author Ryan Estrada, and artist Jeongmin Lee tell a haunting, inspiring tale of bravery and rebellion, about how to recognize those who try to control you, and how to fight back.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 33 members
The was a well written, amazing book, that everyone needs to read. This should be in every library. I could feel Amy's Heart break just by reading this. I am so glad she was able to find her voice and share this with the world. Art is beautiful. Stunning Book.
A fantastic addition to the growing trend of non-fiction graphic novels. This was a difficult story made easily digestible through simple drawings and exposition. Told through the eyes of a child, there was still a haunting knowledge that more was going on than what was presented on the page. I will be purchasing for my libraries graphic novel collection.
Very interesting topic that I haven't seen presented like this for kids before. The graphic novel style lent itself well to the story. I could see a lot of kid appeal for this one.
A really good graphic novel showcasing what it can be like growing up in and around a cult. As an outsider viewing this tale it's so hard to watch Amy go through and thankful that she came out the other side. I appreciate Amy Rose's ability to write their story down and share with the world.
Thank you to netgalley and the publishers for providing me with an arc for an honest review.
A remarkable story about a situation I would never want to grow up in. Author Amy Rose does a wonderful job of illustrating the childhood innocence of growing up in a cult, while intertwining the minute discomfort of what lies beneath the surface of a supposedly peaceful group.
Highly recommended. Through the eyes of a young girl whose sick mother is drawn into a doomsday cult, authors Ryan Estrada and Amy Rose expose the manipulation that creates obedient followers from seemingly rational but desperate people. We need more books like Occulted that recognize the realities of abuse, neglect, and outright hatred children can experience from family and religious communities, particularly at a time when children’s intellectual freedom is under constant attack. We cannot prepare children for hardships or danger by not acknowledging their existence or telling comforting lies.
Jeongmin Lee’s wonderful illustrations capture the intense, complex emotions of the young girl’s relationship to the cult leader. We see why Amy believed that the leader could read her thoughts, how quickly the leader could drop their façade of enlightenment when potential marks were out of earshot, and how Amy’s spirit of defiance kept burning despite may attempts to snuff it out.
Thank you to Iron Circus Comics and Netgalley for providing a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review.