The Leak

In this compelling middle-grade graphic novel The Leak, Ruth, a young journalist, is determined to uncover a secret that threatens her town. Ruth Keller is brash and precocious; she argues with her dentist, her parents, and her teachers. So, when she discovers a strange black slime in the man-made lake of her suburban neighborhood, she decides to investigate. Fortified by the encouragement of those around her, Ruth seeks the truth at all costs, even if it means taking on the rich local country club owner, who she believes is responsible for the pollution. Between the teasing of former friends, and a sudden viral spotlight, Ruth discovers how difficult it is for a journalist to take a stand for what’s right in the face of critique and controversy. From writer Kate Reed Petty and illustrator Andrea Bell, comes a story about corruption, pollution, and freedom of the press, and the young journalist at the center of it all.

Author(s): Andrea Bell & Kate Reed Petty

Andrea Bell is an illustrator, comic artist, and colorist living in Chicago, Illinois through the best and worst seasons. Her work reflects adventure, honesty, and strong relate-able characters combined with a soft, color palette. After earning her BFA from Columbia College Chicago, Andrea began her comics career self-publishing and traveling throughout North America exhibiting her work. She has since gone on to illustrate such books as the Diary of a 5th Grade Outlaw trilogy, The Leak, and Maker Comics: Conduct a Science Experiment. In addition, Andrea has also assisted in the coloring for the titles Twins, Wrapped Up, Cat Ninja, Sci Fu 2, and Chunky. Some of Andrea’s other notable clients include The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, The New Yorker, and SweeTARTS. When she’s not drawing, Andrea enjoys long nature walks, curating playlists, and a warm meme on a cold day. Kate Reed Petty’s debut novel, “True Story,” was a New York Times Book Review “Editor’s Choice” and was a finalist for a Bram Stoker Award and a Shirley Jackson Award. Kate’s fiction and essays have been published by ZZYZZYVA, Electric Literature, American Short Fiction, Blackbird, Nat. Brut, the Los Angeles Review of Books blog, and Ambit. Her work has been supported by a Rubys Grant from the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation, a Tennessee Williams Scholarship to the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and creative residencies at Bloedel Reserve and The Mount. In addition to fiction, Kate’s short films have appeared on Narrative magazine and at the 2019 Maryland Film Festival. And her middle-grade graphic novel, The Leak, illustrated by Andrea Bell, was published by First Second Books in March 2021. Kate lives in Baltimore.

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