This week, Lerner Publishing Group’s Graphic Universe imprint is set to release Night and Dana, a new middle-grade graphic novel from cartoonist Anya Davidson. The coming-of-age story follows a pair of high school-aged filmmakers working on a climate change-inspired horror movie. Today The Beat is pleased to present an exclusive excerpt of the graphic novel.

Here’s how Graphic Universe describes Night and Dana:

Dana Drucker fights boredom in her Florida beach town by crafting special-effects makeup—the more gruesome, the better. But when a messy prank with Dana’s best friend Lily gets the wrong kind of attention, the girls have two choices: find a new creative outlet or leave high school without graduating.

To save their shot at diplomas, Dana and Lily join a community college film class. It gives Dana a chance to keep practicing her monster makeup, as she and Lily start work on a horror movie inspired by local ocean warming. And a search for filming locations puts Dana in the path of Daphne Ocean, an activist and self-proclaimed water witch—the perfect kind of inspiring outsider. But when filming starts, Dana finds herself growing apart from Lily, who doesn’t seem to need her closest friend much anymore.

Soon, tempers are flaring, and Dana’s pushing away old friends and her new mentor. But as everything starts going up in flames, Dana also begins to forge her voice. Night and Dana is a creative coming-of-age story for the climate-change era, a graphic novel about making art and growing up when it feels like the world is on fire.

“I started the story as a way to process my own rage and grief surrounding the climate crisis,” cartoonist Anya Davidson told The Beat, “but also to celebrate the subversive power of art. It made sense to set the story in a coastal region, as they are currently among the worst affected. I was born in Sarasota, Florida and spent the first few years of my life on Boca Grande, which has been developed as a resort community, and now that whole region has been severely affected by the red tide, so much so that many of my family friends have been forced out.”

As for grounding the larger story in the characters, Davidson said the characters themselves made that easier for them than expected. “Once I started scripting, the characters took on lives of their own,” they said. “Their personal squabbles, dreams and traumas became just as important as the overarching storyline, and their goals started to diverge. I stopped worrying about whether the story was too “preachy” and enjoyed letting it surprise me.”

Check out the exclusive preview of Night and Dana below. The graphic novel, available in hardcover, softcover, and eBook editions, is due out in bookstores tomorrow, September 12th.