Paige by Paige

8928004Laura Lee Gulledge has created one of the most expressive and artistic graphic novels I’ve read.

In Page by Paige she illustrates emotions beautifully and hauntingly. Complex feelings and thoughts of impostor syndrome, being an introvert, anxiety, homesickness and more are brought to life in art that defies the frames of the comic and is worthy of being framed on a wall.

It’s a sweet book appropriate for young teens but that can appeal to older teens. If you are looking for a realistic graphic novel about growing up and figuring out who you are this is a good one.


The Plain Janes

313162The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg is an exciting graphic novel geared mostly towards teen girls.

Rebellion, art and friendship are explored through the familiar “new girl” trope but go beyond typical high school drama. The story is framed by a terror attack. Jane’s character evolves because of the trauma.

I thought the mother’s overprotective anxieties were realistically smothering and anxiety inducing for Jane. Jane’s obsession reminiscent of  While You Were Sleeping    makes sense given her need to connect with someone who shared her experience.

A quick, enjoyable read for teens looking for realistic fiction in graphic novel format.

Signs of Martha

*I received Signs of Martha by Sarah Raymond as a submission for YABA

One problem with this novel is that the back cover tells you just about the whole story, so there are zero surprises. There are no twists, which is a shame because an artistic character like Martha should have some twists in her life. I think Raymond did a good job at portraying the frustrations of rural teens. Martha feels trapped by her boyfriend’s plans, and I think is justifiably wigged when he makes a big purchase without consulting her. Martha doesn’t have much opportunity to explore her options or develop a voice of her own, so I understand why she lashed out with her art. I felt like the plot made for an interesting start to a story, but not a story in itself. I wanted more to come of everything. I wanted more emotion from John. I wanted Martha to speak up. I wanted more…