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Posted on: September 27, 2021

Rainbow Bridge by Steve Orlando

Rainbow bridge

Rainbow Bridge is an original graphic novel from Steve Foxe and Steve Orlando – the first to be published under AfterShock's new YA imprint: SEISMIC PRESS. 

What if the Rainbow Bridge was the Bifrost? 

Andy’s parents rescued Rocket when Andy was just a toddler, and they grew up together, with Rocket serving as Andy’s guardian through every one of childhood's ups and downs. So when Rocket passes away right before Andy’s 14th birthday, he's rudderless. High school is coming soon and he can't imagine making that transition without Rocket at his side. The day before school starts, when Andy is at his lowest, he visits Rocket’s grave, and unexpectedly summons the Rainbow Bridge, a gateway to a fantasy world where pets discover their afterlife. 

One part heaven and one part limbo, this is a final resting place for pets – but also a realm where any unfinished business must be completed, before restless pet souls twist into bizarre, seemingly malevolent wraiths that haunt the periphery of this otherwise splendid paradise. It’s extremely rare for a human to visit this realm, but Rocket and Andy find each other again in this wondrous pet Valhalla to go on one last epic adventure to help Rocket reunite with his lost littermate, fulfilling Rocket’s last wishes. Here, the roles are reversed, as Andy has to be the strong one and support Rocket in his quest for closure. By adventure's end, Andy finally gains the confidence to let go of his childhood and enter the next phase of his life, starting his first day of high school. 

Rainbow Bridge is aimed primarily at younger readers, on the border of middle grade and YA, but should resonate with anyone who has ever had to say goodbye to a beloved pet – or anyone who greeted growing up with nervousness and anxiety. Like JOE THE BARBARIAN before it, RAINBOW BRIDGE can address the lines between reality and fantasy (although everything in the book is portrayed as actually happening), wish fulfillment and personal growth, childhood and young adulthood. There are also themes of overcoming trauma, and of compassion for animals. The Realm Beyond the Rainbow Bridge is shaped by its inhabitants, and contains vast fantasy vistas inspired by the adventures pets and their owners, especially kids, imagine for themselves. 

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