Deogratias, by JP Stassen, (Nov. 2018, First Second), $21.99, ISBN: 9781250189646
Originally published in the States 2000, Deogratias is a brutal retelling of the Rwandan genocide. Deogratias is a young Hutu teen whose story is told in flashbacks. In love with Tutsi half-sisters, Apollinaria and Benina, he finds himself caught in the middle of a violent conflict when tensions between the two groups explodes. When he plays a part in Benina’s death, he begins spiraling into alcoholism and insanity. Deogratias is a hard read. There are panels depicting poverty, prostitution, and violence. The author doesn’t shy away from coarse language, or the core subject matter of the book: genocide. It’s painful to watch Deogratias’ decline, but Deogratias remains a solid choice for putting a human face on the Rwandan genocide. This one is for mature teens and up. Deogratias has starred reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly and has received multiple awards, including the Goscinny Prize for outstanding graphic novel script (2000), and designations as one of the American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults, YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens, YALSA Great Graphic Novel for Teens, and ALA Best Books for Young Adults.