This graphic novel is heavier on the graphics than the novel, but the drawings and story are so sweet I really didn’t mind.
Paige Turner (yes, really) is a country mouse moving to the big city. She’s worried how she’ll fit in with so many new people, but at the same time wants to use the opportunity to develop her true self.
She falls in with a small group of creative kids at her school, and they bond over comics and other artsy endeavors. Jules is a singer/songwriter, her brother Longo is a cartoonist, and Gabe is a writer (and maybe a love interest for Paige).
Paige devotes time daily to her sketchbook, and Gulledge uses the opportunity to show the reader what it looks like inside the mind of her introverted artist.
I lived in New York for a couple years, and I always marveled about how cool it would be to grow up in the city. Paige and her friends take advantage of it – decorating buildings with paper artwork attached with wheat paste, performing in shows, exploring the city. They do enjoy substantial priviledge – as Paige’s father points out, what they are doing may very well border on illegal. Some kids in New York can get away with that. Others, not so much.
I was excited to see Paige’s old friend Diana some to visit her in New York. Diana wasn’t jealous of Paige’s new friends. She fell right in with them. In fact, I was hoping there would be a little something between her and Jules. We know Jules is a lesbian, and Diana’s portrayal makes me wonder if Gulledge was trying to imply something about her sexuality. (Not that how one dresses or looks necessarily means anything about their gender identity of sexual orientation. In fact, Jules is pretty darn “girly” looking.) Of course, they could both be lesbians and just be friends, which would be awesome, too! Not every lesbian in a book has to be attracted to any other lesbian that wanders across that pages. (Okay, I’m probably flubbing this up. Bottom line: I like that there was a lesbian in the book, and it was no big deal, and I want more of that. The end.)
Tiny quibble: I do wish the book would have been in color, but I understand that isn’t possible with many graphic novels. We know that Paige is a redhead, but in black and white she reads blonde to me.
Overall, a nice, if a bit idealist, coming of age story.