High school is tough. For Jackson, starting senior year is overwhelming. In Jackson’s Diary, the teen tracks his return to his hometown and joining a new school, which turns out to be stranger than he ever imagined.

Written and illustrated by Paola Batalla, the webcomic set in 1989 has a little bit of everything. For those who love ‘80s fashion, there’s plenty of nostalgia. There’s also heart, as you learn more about Jackson’s story and how he got here. From the first panel, you get a glimpse of how he lost his mom at a young age, which is why he is now living with extended family, but there is a time gap that has yet to be explained. Where was he after his mom’s death and before returning to his hometown?

As he tries to navigate the labyrinth that is high school, he encounters your usual suspects: athletes, bullies, creeps, and academics. There is also a popular kid named Exer who seems to have a few secrets of his own. Could it be magic? Superpowers? Whatever it is, the teen can do some pretty unusual stuff.

The art in the series is clean and fluid, and each character is distinctive enough in both look and personality. Jackson is likable and anyone who has ever been the new kid (or even just a teenager) will sympathize with his fear, awkwardness, and frustration.

Jackson’s Diary updates every Sunday on Webtoons. Click here to check out the first few episodes for free.

Jackson's Diary