I’ve been on a bit of a graphic novel kick recently (both fiction and nonfiction) trying to catch up with several books that seem to be making consistent appearances on best book lists.
I’ve enjoyed the following graphic novels and highly recommend them.
Anya’s ghost by Vera Brosgol (823 B793A FIC)
What adolescent girl doesn’t feel self-conscious about something? Anya starts with typical teenage concerns, body image, embarrassing mother, ethnic food, boy issues but a misadventure in a park brings her into contact with Emily, a ghost. Initially, the relationship seems ideal but quickly deteriorates when it becomes apparent Emily is looking to control Anya and live the life that she never had. When Emily threatens Anya’s family as a way to manipulate her, Anya takes a stand and control of her life once more. Love the illustrations. Suggested for grades 7 and up.
Bad Island by Doug TenNapel (823 T256B FIC)
A disastrous family vacation is the background for this story of two different boys/young men (or boy/man and boy/alien) growing up and finding their place in the ‘world’. When Reese is stranded on an island with his parents and younger sister, life takes a bizarre turn as they struggle to survive the many weird, dangerous and deadly creatures that reside there. Eventually, the family discovers that the island is the body of a young alien who was kidnapped when he rebelled against his father. This is a really fun, humorous, adventuresome read. Suggested for grades 5 to 9.
Manga Man by Barry Lyga (823 L986M FIC )
This is what happens when a character (Ryoko Kiyama) from a manga comic strip crosses over into the real world. Unfortunately, all the personal (big eyes, super wavy hairy) and story telling characteristics (thought bubbles, speed lines, etc.) of manga are apparent to the people from the ‘real’ world resulting in a fair amount of humour for the reader. Falling for the most popular girl (Marissa) in high school (which Ryoko attends to help pass the time until he is able to return ‘home’) results in some conflicts with jilted boyfriends and confused best friends and a couple of lovey-dovey scenes, too. I recommend this book for the high school level.
Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge (823 G951P FIC)
Another one best suited for secondary students (grades 7 and up) about a girl finding her place and learning to feel more comfortable with herself --in other words, a ‘coming-of-age’ novel. Paige has recently moved to a new city and feels pretty isolated, recognizing that she’s not even sure who she really is. She records her thoughts and ideas visually in a sketchbook. Her journey is not without conflict but ultimately rewarding.