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By Kyo Maclear and Byron Eggenschwiler

Somewhere in the universe, there is the perfect tune for you.

It’s almost the end of middle school, and Charlie has to find her perfect song for a music class assignment. The class learns about a different style of music each day, from hip-hop to metal to disco, but it’s hard for Charlie to concentrate when she can’t stop noticing her classmate Emile, or wondering about Luka, who hasn’t been to school in weeks. On top of everything, she has been talked into participating in an end-of-year performance with her best friends.

Then, the class learns about opera, and Charlie discovers the music of Maria Callas. The more she learns about Maria’s life, the more Charlie admires her passion for singing and her ability to express herself fully through her music. Can Charlie follow the example of the ultimate diva, Maria Callas, when it comes to her own life?

This evocatively illustrated graphic novel brilliantly captures the high drama of middle school by focusing on the desire of its finely drawn characters to sing and be heard.



Bryon Eggenschwiler

Byron Eggenschwiler Byron Eggenschwiler is an illustrator of books including Coyote Tales, Beastly Puzzles and his first YA graphic novel Operatic. His pictures have appeared in many other places such as magazines, newspapers, posters, and album covers. He has received various awards and recognition from the Society of Illustrators, American Illustration and the National Magazine awards. Byron shares a house in Calgary, Canada with his wife and two bossy cats.



Operatic beautifully touches on the powerful emergence of strong feelings that happens in middle school and the various ways tweens either embrace those emotions or project their discomfort into cruelty. Opera is an unusual but pitch-perfect match for that swell of overwhelming feeling, and Maclear and Eggenschwiler fold it into the story perfectly. A poignant, pithy,
and arrestingly illustrated story.”
Booklist (Starred)

“Brimming with raw emotion, music references, and gorgeous art, this memorable and relatable graphic novel will linger with ­readers.”
—School Library Journal (Starred)

“Taking on friendships, crushes, cliques, and music culture, Maclear offers an honest, deeply respectful look at what is at the core of belonging and isolation for teenagers….With poetic words and pictures, Maclear and Eggenschwiler create a synesthetic experience that captures all the high and low notes of youth.”
Publishers Weekly (Starred)

“Evoking the early life of a troubled but glamorous diva, and populated by a fascinating cast, Operatic reminds us that no one is alone: our passions resonate outward toward those around us. This book will delight not only young people and graphic-novel aficionados but anyone who believes that art – especially opera – is a powerful force in the world.”
Quill and Quire (Starred)

“Kyo Maclear and Byron Eggenschwiler reveal the music genre best-suited to provide the soundtrack to the lives of teenagers in their innovative and excellent Operatic”
School Library Journal

“Taking on friendships, crushes, cliques, and music culture, Maclear offers an honest, deeply respectful look at what is at the core of belonging and isolation for teenagers. Charlie Noguchi narrates her middle-school existence through the lens of her music teacher’s assignment to “choose a song for this moment in your life and write about it.” Lush illustrations by Eggenschwiler are color coded for the characters—with red for Maria Callas, the singer Charlie claims for her own and whose biography is threaded through the present-day story. With poetic words and pictures, Maclear and Eggenschwiler create a synesthetic experience that captures all the high and low notes of youth.”
Publishers Weekly

“Kyo Maclear’s debut middle-grade graphic novel is every bit as witty, charming and deliciously subtle as her award-winning picture books. Operatic (Groundwood Books, 10-14), illustrated by Byron Eggenschwiler, is a riveting story about the power of music, friendship and discovering what makes us all different. For her final project in her Grade 8 music class, Charlotte Noguchi, aka Charlie, has to find a song that represents this moment in her life – will she choose emo, jazz or punk rock? As Charlie digs deep into herself, she’s drawn to opera singer Maria Callas. Maclear seamlessly links Callas’s story with Charlie’s growing passion for Callas’s voice and her need to find her own voice, too. But this isn’t just Charlie’s story. It’s also the story of Emile and Luka and the rough road that many teens face coming out. Maclear tackles difficult subjects – peer pressure, bullying, LGBTQ relationships – in this beautifully understated story, made even more powerful by Eggenschwiler’s evocative pencil drawings.”
The Globe and Mail

“Combining enchanting art, mellifluous music, and just the right words, Kyo Maclear and Byron Eggenschwiler provide a marvelous composition guaranteed to resonate in Operatic.”—Shelf Awareness

“Fans of middle school comics that explore themes of friendship, crushes, and discovering your passions—like those by Victoria Jamieson, Raina Telgemeier, Hope Larson, and Jillian Tamaki—will find a lot to love in this beautiful and thoughtful novel.”
Becky Standal

Operatic reveals an optimism that I find generally missing from comics. I loved Byron Eggenschwiler’s flowing, layered illustrations and I was hit in the gut by Kyo Maclear’s story about the magic and frustration of art and adolescence. Like all of Kyo’s work, this book is not only an invitation to read, but to create.”
—Matthew Forsythe, two-time Eisner Award-nominated illustrator and Emmy Award-winning designer of Adventure Time

Operatic is a sweet read. Maclear’s charming, understated writing and Eggenschwiler’s inventive cartooning are a perfect match.”
—Hope Larson, Eisner Award-winning and New York Times-bestselling creator of A Wrinkle In Time: The Graphic Novel

Operatic is stunning; reading through it reminded me why I love comics. The atmosphere is tantalizing and rich, and the story is not one I will soon forget.”
—Tillie Walden, two-time Eisner Award nominee and Ignatz Award-winning creator of the graphic novels Spinning, On a Sunbeam, and Are You Listening?

Operatic displays a beautiful, poetic and subtle interplay between text and image. A sensitively written, and knowing portrayal of early teen life, highlighting the formative and identity-forming role that music plays in those years. The illustrations are loose and lovely, pairing quiet, realistic portrayals of the awkwardness of everyday life in high school, with metaphoric, imaginative images of inner worlds.”
— Julie Morstad, award-winning illustrator of Bloom; Julia, Child; and This Is Sadie

“Using spare, well-chosen words and muted primary colors, Maclear and Eggenschwiler cleverly weave together story, visual art, and music… Clever and contemplative, with music history readers might find unexpectedly fun.”

“Maclear is always a safe bet for end-of-year lists, but this graphic novel reigns supreme thanks to illustrator Byron Eggenschwiler’s soft and sweeping lines and deep resonating palette, which consists of buttery yellow and moody blue for the angsty students and shades of burnt red for passionate Callas. Operatic is utterly stunning and full of feeling.”
Quill and Quire

“A poetic, quietly powerful and profoundly beautiful graphic novel that is both a magnificent evocation of middle-school and a stunning tribute to the role of music in our lives.”
Globe and Mail

“Opera and middle school may seem worlds apart. As Operatic demonstrates, however, the melodrama, passion, and universality of both connect these two in deep ways.”
—Book Babe

“This poetic, quietly powerful and profoundly beautiful graphic novel is a magnificent evocation of middle school life and a stunning tribute to the role of music in our lives… A masterful collaboration!”
Lisa Doucet, Woozles Children’s Bookstore

“There should be none but admirers for Kyo Maclear and Byron Eggenschwiler’s Operatic. It’s a full opera in stories and pictures. There are duets and solos and choruses that support the leads. There’s the ordinary of parlando and the arias that take the plot to greater heights. And fools and villains, lovers and friends.”
CanLit for Little Canadians

“Maclear’s story is all about the impact that music, specifically the right music at the right time, can have on one’s life. She writes with a deep empathy for young people finding their own way through middle school, focusing on the importance of friends but also on reaching out to others and helping them too. The book is filled with emotion and connection that exemplifies youth and hope.”
Waking Brain Cells