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This Was Our Pact
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This Was Our Pact

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  5,632 ratings  ·  1,130 reviews
It's the night of the annual Autumn Equinox Festival, when the town gathers to float paper lanterns down the river. Legend has it that after drifting out of sight, they'll soar off to the Milky Way and turn into brilliant stars, but could that actually be true? This year, Ben and his classmates are determined to find out where those lanterns really go, and to ensure succes ...more
Paperback, 330 pages
Published June 11th 2019 by First Second (first published February 1st 2013)
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Lucy Any, really. It’s considered a middle school age book, but I think anyone would enjoy it, especially people ages 8-12.

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Average rating 4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,632 ratings  ·  1,130 reviews

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Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Studio Ghibli REALLY needs to obtain the rights to this fantastical and beautiful tale of friendship and adventure! I have a feeling those particular writers and animators would have what it takes to truly capture the magic of this story (forget Disney or Dreamworks--too mainstream). I'd watch it...and probably buy my own copy as soon as the dvd was available. So I could get lost in the journey to find the lantern's final destination among the stars. I want to encounter
This is a story suited perfectly for me. I very much enjoyed the fantasy of this. The colors and the mood set a magical tone and it delighted me.

Each year a village will send lighted lanterns down the river on the autumn equinox. A group of boys wants to follow the lanterns down the river and see where it goes. There are 4 of them that have made a pact not to stop and then a 5th boy tagging along the others don't really like. As the night begins, 3 of the boys in the original pack bail. The las
Do kids quest anymore? I mean in books, of course. Kids in real life don’t have a great track record on real world quests, after all. From a literary standpoint, a children’s book seems like a natural place to put a quest. Whether it’s Bilbo Baggins setting off for a dragon’s lair in The Hobbit or the two nameless heroes finding all the colored crayons in the picture book Quest by Aaron Becker, there’s nothing like a good quest to keep your spirits up, eh? Trouble is, a quest has a built in end ...more
Reading_ Tamishly
Nov 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
One of the most beautifully illustrated and penned middle grade graphic novels I would ever read, this one tells the story of a group of friends who wanted to bike their way until they discover where a certain river ende planning to follow floating paper lanterns without the knowledge of their families.

Of course, it's an adventure which wasn't planned well because they thought it would be easy and they would make it before anyone else finds out about it.

But yes, not everyone sticks with you wh
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics, favorites, fantasy
This book knocked my socks off. The starting scene, of a group of kids on bikes setting off down a dark road might suggest Stranger Things but a closer emotional match is probably Spirited Away. Ben is one of five boys from his school who decide that this year, after the autumn festival, they will follow the paper lanterns released into the river below their town to see where they go. An old folk song says they turn into stars and rise into the sky, but that can't be true, can it? Tagging after ...more
Mar 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Actual rating: 4.5

A little bit The Goonies.
A little bit Stranger Things.
A little bit Miyazaki.
A lotta bit magical, heartwarming, and beautiful.

Through some of the most imaginative and gorgeously illustrated pages I’ve seen, Ryan Andrews takes us on a journey of friendship and belonging. The magical realism really gave me Spirited Away vibes, and I’m left in awe. (Side-note: Fisherbear is the freakin’ BEST!)
destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
This is a fairly lovely graphic novel with a sweet, interesting story, but it's way longer than I feel like it ought to be, and I actually put it down at the halfway mark when I realized I hadn't cared about anything that had happened in a while. It doesn't help that the artwork is all pretty monochrome, so things start to blur together after a time.

Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
Nay Keppler
Aug 22, 2019 rated it liked it
The illustrations were super adorbs, but this read like one of those Facebook threads where you use your phone's autocomplete feature to create stories. ...more
I don't get it. Like, I really don't get it.

Give me the kids on bikes trying to find the end where the lanterns settle after sending them down the river. Give me the dares and don't look backs, but talking bears and fish that might be stars was too much. And I like magic and magical realism. I just didn't get this one.

I could legitimately stare at some of the pages, so beautifully drawn, but the story I could leave.
francis moore
There have been few times in my entire life when I’ve felt the need to hold a book to my chest after reading it and simply contemplate what just happened. That just happened with this book.
The story was so freaking beautiful, it’s impossible to explain. Sometimes times I lose hope in kid’s books, frowning at the fact that there seem to be no modern stories for young kids that have any depth to them, no new stories to take kids on magical journeys. Thank you for restoring my hope in good fiction
This is a fantastical, joyous ode to little weirdo's having wild adventures that made me get all teary like the big weirdo I am. Ryan Andrews is a marvelous story teller with a gift for capturing young boys in all their glory, wit, and occasional cruelty. His artistic style is just as kinetic and just a little choatic as his heroes who are determined to learn the fate of the paper lanterns they let lose every year at their autumn festival. What begins as a quick bike ride down the road swiftly b ...more
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another excellent middle-grade/coming-of-age comic about friendship. I had no idea there was a fantasy element involved in this book, because I didn't bother to read the blurb. I really love when modern-day books have a splash of magic in them - it makes me think that maybe someday I'll meet a talking bear or come upon a barge full of magical creatures or a friendly troll living under a bridge. The themes of friendship, self-acceptance, accepting others and bullying seem to be big for me this mo ...more
Two boys share a magical adventure when they attempt to follow some paper lanterns on a trip down the river. Andrews packs this graphic novel with all sorts of sciency tidbits about astronomy, but there's also a wonderful message about daring to take chances.

"Ben, no one is going to force you to, but if you don't jump in, you'll always think back on this moment and wish that you had."

As you can probably tell by the cover, the artwork is gorgeous.

Jan 11, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 stars, because I really enjoyed the beautiful artwork and unique storyline.

My only gripe is that I wish Madam Majestic had made another appearance, she was my favorite character next to Nathaniel :(
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
The must read graphic novel of the summer starts off like with a realistic premise of a group of boys out to see whether a fantastical story they've heard all their lives is true or not and then veers off into Miyazaki/ Studio Ghibli territory! What I also liked is that this was pretty substantial text-wise. ...more
Rod Brown
Jul 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Two boys ride their bicycles down a road filled with increasingly fantastical characters and situations. What seemed a pretty standard story won me over with its charm, humor and simplicity.
Melanie  Brinkman
Oh, the many things you'll never know if you turn away from the unexpected.

Legend has it that the night of the Autumn Equinox Festival the paper lanterns the town floats down the river turn into stars and soar into the milky way. This year Ben and his friends make a pact to find out. There's only a few simple rules: No one turns for home. No one looks back.

They plan to follow the river on their bikes as long as it takes to find the truth, but it isn't long before it's just Ben and Nathaniel, a b
I kinda loved this. I picked it up not knowing anything about it, I just found the cover art intriguing - the group of kids on their bikes, pedaling off into the night. And it started simple enough, with a boy struggling through a bit of peer pressure - Ben's friend from his younger days, Nathaniel, is now too "nerdy" for him to hang out with for fear of also being labeled a nerd, so Ben leads his new group on an adventure. They make a pact to follow the lanterns down the river. Nathaniel overhe ...more
Jul 11, 2019 added it
Shelves: graphic-novels, 2019
THIS WAS OUR PACT is a wild, fun, magical ride. It scratched that itch of mine for stories where our world is tilted to reveal a rich, fantastical macrocosm--this one is filled with a gentlemanly fisherbears; sassy potion-makers, and giant dogs who love Rice Krispies bars. A must-read for fans of mythology and OVER THE GARDEN WALL. My only complaint? I wanted to dive deeper into this starry, moonlit world.
Feb 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics, fantasy, favorites
Every year, on the Autumn Equinox, lanterns are placed in the river to, according to the legends, make their way up to the sky and become stars. This year, Ben and his friends vow to follow a pact they made to follow the lanterns all the way down the river to witness their fate, no matter what. However, the allure of home proves too strong and Ben is left with no one -- no one except Nathaniel, an outcast who was once Ben’s friend. Determined, the two embark on their quest, meeting all kinds of ...more
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics, fantasy, childrens
this was absolutely gorgeous. the artwork, the story, the atmosphere, everything was perfect. definitely one of my favorite graphic novels that have come out this year.
Oct 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I went into this book not knowing too much about it, and I don’t want to give too much away or build it up too much because I want everyone to be able to take their own journey with it. For me, it was a truly magical, entrancing journey that I wish I could take again & again with the same fresh eyes.
Elizabeth A
Jan 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphix, kids-ya, 2020
That opening scene reminded me of Stranger Things, but this lovely middle grade graphic novel isn't a dark tale of the upside down world. It's a quest story with magical elements and wonderful illustrations. A story of adventure, friendship, and riding off into the unknown. I was delighted from start to end. ...more
Ben Truong
Jul 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
This Was Our Pact is a graphic novel written and illustrated by Ryan Andrews. It centers on a group of boys going on an adventure and the unexpected friendships they make on the way.

Creepy yet benign, this leisurely graphic novel opens on the autumn equinox, when a community sends paper lanterns down a river. Five boys and a bullied tagalong science fanatic named Nathaniel make a pact to find out where the lanterns go. They pedal their bikes along a deserted road, but the vow proves daunting, an
So I read this over a month ago and I wish wish wish I had reviewed it then (I thought I had up until now, honestly). It was so magical and so unique and so offbeat and unpredictable and wonderful. And at the ending my heart just caught in my throat. Somehow this book captures, perhaps even without meaning to (which makes it all the more wonderful), the longing (on some level, somewhere, and don't tell me you don't feel it sometimes) for an adventure that simply never ends. There's danger, but y ...more
laura (bookies & cookies)
One of my FAVORITES of the year. Ben wants to fit in with the cool kids, but his childhood friend Nathaniel (who's not so cool anymore) keeps tagging along. Throughout the story, it brings up the subtlety of not liking people being made fun of, but not standing up for them because you don't want to be made fun of, too.

Every year, their town sends lanterns down the river for the Autumnal Equinox and they'll eventually arrive in the stars. The boys make a pact No one turns for home. No one looks b
Jun 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
In this delightful graphic novel a group of young boys set off into the night to follow the lanterns that their town releases into the river during the Autumn Equinox Festival with the goal of finding out what happens to them. Before too long only two boys remain, all the others breaking the pact they all made, “No one turns for home. No one looks back.” What follows is a whimsical adventure full of magical realism, humor, and fantastic art. The story reminded me so much of a Hayao Miyazaki film ...more
Villain E
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This needs to be a Studio Ghibli movie. Like, now!

A group of boys set out to follow the paper lanterns that their town floats into the river every year. But when they get to the bridge their parents have told them never to cross, only two are brave enough to continue. They enter a fantastical land of talking bears and dogs that can walk on water.

The characterization is perfect, the dialogue is great. The characters are visually distinct. Though many of the pages are monochromatic and the whole t
Aug 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a perfect cosy Sunday read, the art is fantastic, the colours are handled beautifully and the story is so endearing ❤️ I highly recommend it!

There are small pieces of wisdom all along the book but I'll just quote this one that particularly resonated with me:
"No one is going to force you to, but if you don't jump in, you'll always think back on this moment and wish that you had."
Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
SO pleased to finally, FINALLY own this!

It surpassed every expectation I had of it, every single page was gorgeously and lovingly illustrated, the characters were compelling and interesting, and the world Ryan painted was whimsical and fun and unique and I didn’t want it to end!!

Such love for the fisherbear!! 🐻🐟
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“No one is going to force you to, but if you don't jump in, you'll always think back on this moment and wish that you had.” 2 likes
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