I’ve been reading a few graphic novels lately and wanted to share two of my recent favourites.
Sixteen year old Tamrika Fuller is happy with her life. With good friends and good grades, she’s content to keep her options open for her future. But when her parents reveal they’ve been saving for several years to send her to their Alma Mater for her final years of high school – an old-fashioned boarding academy miles from her home in Vancouver – she’s thrown out of her comfort zone.
With no friends and a taciturn new room-mate, Tammy feels unmoored and deeply out of place. What’s more, her new school is heavily science-focused, with little to no thought for arts students. In an attempt to take control of her life and make something positive happen, Tammy starts an art club, while new relationships make her ask what it is she really wants out of life – and how to make it happen.
Tammy never thought of her parents as traditionalists so she is more than a little surprised when they reveal they have been saving up to send her to their Alma Mater – an old-fashioned boarding school – for her last two years of high school. She makes the most out of the last days of summer with her friends back home before going away to start her new school year: and if she can’t have her hair dyed the colour she wants, at least she gets to be non-conformist and wear the school’s boy’s uniform. At first Tammy feels like a fish out of water – friendless, lonely and with no creative outlet – but time passes and she develops friendships and an art club where to congregate.
Atomic Sheep (Markosia Enterprises, September 2013) is a fun Graphic Novel with a foot firmly set on Contemporary YA territory. Tammy’s arc is one of self-awareness, where she learns to develop a voice, to express herself, slowly getting comfortable with her artwork and realising that people express themselves differently. I loved the relationship she formed with different folks but I was especially into the friendship with her taciturn and lovely roommate Jasmine. Although Tammy is the main character, the novel allows for Jasmine to develop beautifully as well – her relationship with boyfriend, the choices she has to make and how she remains firm about them (PLUS the story also shows the boyfriend’s douchecanoe reaction to those choices AND his redemption arc).
It’s no ground-breaking work but lovely all the same for its coming of age tale of growing-up(and growing close) and I loved the art too with its simple, gentle colours. You can read chapter one free online HERE.
Rating: 7 – Very Good
Some mysteries are too dangerous to leave alone . . .
Nate’s not happy about his family moving to a new house in a new town. After all, nobody asked him if he wanted to move in the first place. But when he discovers a tape recorder and note addressed to him under the floorboards of his bedroom, Nate is thrust into a dark mystery about a boy who went missing many, many years ago. Now, as strange happenings and weird creatures begin to track Nate, he must partner with Tabitha, a local girl, to find out what they want with him. But time is running out, for a powerful force is gathering strength in the woods at the edge of town, and before long Nate and Tabitha will be forced to confront a terrifying foe, and uncover the truth about the Lost Boy.
Nate just moved to a new house in a new town. After discovering – and listening to – a tape recorder under the floorboards of his bedroom, he is introduced to the sad, dark story of a boy who disappeared years ago. When strange shadowy creatures start following him – the same weird creatures that he heard the missing boy talk in those tapes – he becomes entangled in an ancient battle against a terrifying foe. With the help of Tabitha, his new neighbour and local sleuth, he needs to find out what exactly happened to the lost boy. Before it is too late.
Fantasy meets Horror in The Lost Boy (Graphix, August 2013), an atmospheric mystery that takes place in two different timelines. The art here is beautiful: dark and eerie, all black and white panels that reinforce the sense of fear, loss and danger. Beyond the Fantasy arc – your run-of-the-mill “the dark is rising and we must stop it” – it is the human element i.e. the lost boy’s own personal/emotional make-up that set things in motion in the past as well as the pretty sweet alliance/friendship between Nate and Tabitha in the present that makes this well worth a read.
Rating: 7 – Very Good
Buy the Books:
(click on the links to purchase)
Atomic Sheep: buying options.
The Lost Boy