Wow. Just: wow. I have been wanting to read this one since I saw the book trailer for it about a year ago. You know what? You should watch that book trailer before you continue on reading this post:
Okay. Do you have chills like I did? No? Go back and watch it again. DO YOU SEE THAT ARTWORK? Every page is like that. There’s just SO much. Okay, on to the review.
You basically got the story from the book trailer, but Paige Turner (her parents are writers. They thought it’d be cute. It’s not.) is a high schooler new to the big city. She’s very much an artistic introvert, who grew up in the country to boot. I’d say she’s an ISFP on the Myers-Briggs test. She’s pretty alone, and is also pretty sure she’ll always be that way and she hates that her family moved and why was it in the middle of the school year and. . .okay, there’s a little bit of angst in there. But someone does notice Paige, thanks to a comic she was reading. And there is hope for her yet. Follow her along as she draws in her sketchbook (which, in a meta book postmodern sort of way is actually the book we’re reading), finding herself by losing herself to herself. Or something witty sounding.
I put this book down a grand total of three times while reading it: once because I had to sleep, once because class was over, and once when I finished it. Along the way, I felt lots of strong emotions, often in dichotomous pairs: hope and despair, fear and love (yes, I believe those to be opposites; if you disagree, just go with it), acceptance and rejection, and though not necessarily an emotion: introverted and extroverted. The story is nice. It’s enjoyable. It’s fun. The artwork takes it to a hugely next level.
If this book were not a graphic novel, I would not have much use for it. It’s a story told and re-told by just about every teenager who has a creative streak trying to get out at every turn. But the art in this book. . .oh my GOODNESS! It just jacks up the story a thousand fold. It’s not like most graphic novels, where the art helps tell the story. The art actually doesn’t help the story all that much here. What it does is even better: it gives us the emotions, raw and undisturbed by words.
In case it’s not obvious by this point, I LOVE this book. I recommend it to anyone who is looking to get into graphic novels, but finds them a little too video-gamey or childish or cartoonish. This one’s different. And it’s worth it.
Quick aside: there are a few (as in, literally, 4) instances of some language or themes that would make this probably not okay for middle grade readers, but I have no qualms about handing this to 7th graders and up, especially girls.