There are many reasons you should read Tillie Walden’s On a Sunbeam. The pitch-perfect plot, characters, pacing, and color palette combine to deliver a feels-worthy sci-fi epic.
But because On a Sunbeam is so good (and you’ll likely fly right through it), you might not notice how much characterization Walden’s lettering adds to the story. The dialogue throughout On a Sunbeam does a ton of work, letting readers in on characters’ emotional states and cementing their personalities.
Jules, for example, gets a LOT of all-caps dialogue, because she’s such a hothead (and my personal fave). You can sense Jules’s excitement- and/or anger-level before looking at her, because her dialogue reads as incredibly excited or angry, thanks to Walden’s lettering.
Jules is also sarcastic in ways most of the other characters are not, and even that tough-to-express-through-text emotion is conveyed through her dialogue. Check out this sequence from pg. 164, in which a spot of bolding conveys Jule’s sarcasm perfectly:
Of course, it’s not just Jules that Walden’s lettering does work for. In situations where characters find themselves low or feeling timid, Walden shrinks their dialogue to represent that feeling visually:
And most times, when characters express a quick emotion or thought, Walden will drop either the capitalization at the start of that “sentence” or the punctuation at the end, to show that that dialogue is not the same as a normal, thought-through sentence:
These might seem like little flourishes that don’t mean much, but they’re really not. They’re intentional lettering choices that add extra depth to this emotionally-rich book, and help it read far more intuitively.
So yes, be sure to pick up On a Sunbeam. It is as good as everyone has said it is. But also be sure to pay a little extra attention to Walden’s lettering choices as you read, now that you know they’re there.