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Lost in NYC: A Subway Adventure

Review

Lost in NYC: A Subway Adventure

Written by Nadja Spiegelman with illustrations by Sergio García Sánchez

Nadja Spiegelman and Sergio García Sánchezoffer readers a suspenseful, visually exciting new look at New York City above and below ground in LOST IN NYC.

Anyone who's visited New York City --- and, I'd wager, even more than a handful of people who live there --- has probably experienced the disorienting and disconcerting feeling of getting on the wrong subway train, or the right train but headed uptown instead of downtown, or the express instead of the local. The iconic NYC subway map is colorful and delightful (in its way) to peruse, but the subway system can feel very different when you're actually in the midst of it. Nevertheless, the subway lines that link together New York's boroughs and neighborhoods are just about the most efficient and exciting way to traverse the city.

In LOST IN NYC, Nadja Spiegelman (daughter of cartoonist Art Spiegelman and New Yorker art director Françoise Mouly) and Sergio García Sánchez perfectly capture the feeling of freedom and disorientation that can happen on the subway --- sometimes simultaneously. Pablo is the new kid at school --- he's moved around so many times that when his classmate (and would-be friend) Alicia asks him where he considers home, he responds, "Nowhere." He gets off on the wrong foot in his new classroom, when another classmate teases him for having a teddy bear in his backpack, and things go from bad to worse when their teacher announces that they're taking a field trip to the Empire State Building.

García Sánchez's artwork perfectly complements Spiegelman's heartfelt and informative narrative, offering glimpses of the thousands of subway commuters from all walks of life crowding into busy stations and onto packed subway trains.

Most of the other kids in Pablo and Alicia's Upper West Side school are familiar with the subway and have their favorite trains. Pablo doesn't know the J from the 7, though, which will prove to be even more of a problem when the class disembarks for the field trip. Alicia and Pablo are supposed to stick together . . . and stick with their class. But when a split-second decision on the platform sends Alicia and Pablo on the wrong track (literally!), they have to make a series of snap judgments that may or may not get them to the Empire State Building --- and reunited with their class and teacher --- on time.

LOST IN NYC is a winning story about being receptive to friendship, as well as about solving problems and becoming both independent and responsible. At times, these messages—as well as Pablo's figurative journey toward accepting NYC as home --- can feel a little rushed, and readers may find themselves wishing for another dozen pages or so in which the story could unfold. That said, the comic's short length adds to the breakneck pacing that seems appropriate, given its subject matter.

García Sánchez's artwork perfectly complements Spiegelman's heartfelt and informative narrative, offering glimpses of the thousands of subway commuters from all walks of life crowding into busy stations and onto packed subway trains. His full-page spreads and larger panels frequently convey movement by showing multiple versions of the same brightly-colored key character, seeming to traverse a more neutral-colored background almost like separate frames of stop-motion animation. García Sánchez also hid some secret characters on almost every page, and he offers readers a challenge to find them, WHERE’S WALDO? style.

Reviewed by Norah Piehl on April 14, 2015

Lost in NYC: A Subway Adventure
Written by Nadja Spiegelman with illustrations by Sergio García Sánchez

  • Publication Date: April 7, 2015
  • Genres: Adventure, Fiction, Graphic Novel
  • Hardcover: 52 pages
  • Publisher:
  • ISBN-10: 1935179810
  • ISBN-13: 9781935179818