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.

 

Straight Punch

cover artStraight Punch by Monique Polak is a novel about a girl who gets expelled and has to attend an alternative school for troubled teens. The moral of the story is that appearances and first impressions can be deceiving. Everyone has a history that explains how they’ve ended up where they are. All of the youth at her new school seem intimidating and below her at first, but Tessa comes to see good in all of them.

Tessa is squeamish about all violence in the beginning and has anxiety about boxing being the primary physical education at her new school. The students learn different things in boxing class, depending on what’s going on in their life. Some learn discipline, some learn to channel their aggression, some learn how to stand up for themselves.¬†Art, especially street art is another main component of the story. Expressing themselves through art is important to many teens.

Alcoholism, gambling addiction, bullying, and teen pregnancy are all topics that arise in the novel.

*spoiler alert*

Trigger warning for women who have suffered a miscarriage. There is a descriptive scene that could bring back bad memories.

Graffiti Knight

Graffiti Knight

It’s not too often I hear about World War 2 era stories that are from the perspective of Germans. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into it, but I really enjoyed it. Graffiti Knight is an interesting view of life in Germany following the war. The kids deal with hunger, violent oppressive police, mistreatment of their older sisters, and depressed or alcoholic parents. Young reader’s will enjoy the protagonist with a rebellious streak and good heart. The balancing act of keeping his independence, standing up for his people, and staying out of trouble creates a suspenseful tale that exposes the grittiness of the past.