Nautilene is a city in a country at war. The men are off at the war and women are filling in at the shipyards and other essential jobs. Blue is an orphan taken in by the mayor and his wife, and helps with selling the Bugle newspaper along with the other boys in the household. One day, Blue discovers what looks like an abandoned warehouse and meets Jack - an eccentric inventor. Blue seems to have a knack for making friends. There are the other orphans, the canary (Goldie), Jack, and even an odd boy who seems to disappear whenever grownups are around (Crow). When the oldest orphan, Hector, comes home for a visit, he tells Blue he is working on a big news story. A scientist working for the war effort has gone missing and may be hiding in Nautilene. Hector wants Blue's help in searching for clues and getting the story that will prove Hector is a real newsman. If the story puts Blue's friends at risk, will old loyalties or new win out?
This is a debut graphic novel praised by Kazu Kibuishi (creator of the Amulet series). The ending makes it clear that readers can expect a sequel, or even a longer series set in this world. Themes of friendship, loyalty, and the courage to be yourself are all included along with action, humor, and mysterious inventions.