Wires Crossed | Beth Fantaskey (author) & ONeillJones (illustrator)


Coming April 30th, 2024 from HarperCollins Publishers; 240 pages

About the Author: “Beth Fantaskey is the author of several young adult and middle grade novels, including Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, Jessica Rules the Dark Side and Isabel Feeney, Star Reporter. As Bethany Blake, she writes the Lucky Paws Petsitting Mysteries. She lives in rural Pennsylvania with her family and dog, Daisy” (Bio from the author).

Find Beth Fantaskey on the following platforms:

About the Illustrator: “ONeillJones is a comic book artist and illustrator based in Texas. Their work has been published by DC, HarperCollins, IDW, Jordan Brand, Marvel, and Simon & Schuster. When they’re not busy living out their wildest childhood dreams, they’re probably wrangling kids or playing video games with the love of their life” (Bio from the illustrator’s website).

Find ONeillJones on the following platforms:

“But we’re 13. It’s time to grow up…right?”

It’s only the second week of school, and already everything seems to be changing for 13-year-old Mia Milligan. Her best friend, Addy, is hanging out with popular girl Courtney and pressuring Mia about things like status and boys. Fortunately, Mia learns that her best friend from science camp, Tariq, is moving into town. She envisions everything being just like camp, but Tariq has…changed. Mia suddenly finds herself developing a crush on him and feeling hurt that he doesn’t want to spend more time with her. However, the duo team up with artist Kinsey and goofball Evan to build a robot for the Science Olympics. Nonetheless, not everything goes to plan between a broken camera and tangled emotions as Mia and Kinsey’s friendship grows at the expense of Mia’s relationship with Addy, and the new friends tip-toe around their feelings about Tariq. 

Middle school is a challenging and confusing time when things start to change whether you are ready or not (and sometimes just because you think they should change). Beth Fantaskey does an incredible job of capturing how it feels to be stuck in this transition phase in her debut graphic novel, Wires Crossed. Although Mia’s story is not inherently unique—she is growing apart from childhood friends while making new friends, suddenly attracted to an old friend, and embarrassed by the quirks of her family—her journey provides needed relatability to readers. Wires Crossed not only explores how and when we “grow up” but also whether we have to. This is a question that left me contemplating throughout the novel and even after. While I am past the turmoil of middle school, this idea of moving to the next stage or becoming a “real” adult is currently weighing on my mind. Growing up doesn’t look the same or mean the same thing for anyone, and the pressure to do so can be damaging. We need more stories like Wires Crossed to remind us that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to this dilemma and that life can only be navigated one step at a time. 

Wires Crossed releases on April 30, 2024.

Pine Reads Review would like to thank NetGalley and HarperCollins Publishers for sending us an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes are taken from an advanced copy and may be subject to change upon final publication.

Emilee Ceuninck, Pine Reads Review Lead Writer