I have enjoyed the artwork and odd little stories in the graphic novellas about Emily the Strange, and when I was browsing through my library's downloadable audiobook site (we use Overdrive - I highly recommend it!), I noticed a full-length novel, the first in a new series about Emily, was available as a download. What a lot of fun!
The book is ostensibly Emily's diary. She has suddenly found herself on a bench in the small town of Blackrock with no memory of anything that happened before. She can't remember her name, where she's from, or what she's doing there. She has a slingshot and a diary, and there are some pages from the diary that are mysteriously missing.
What follows is a most unusual and intriguing adventure. Emily gets a job at a nearby cafe called the El Dungeon, working with a very odd girl named Raven. The more Emily learns about Blackrock and the bizarre people who hang around at the El Dungeon, the more mysteries there are to solve. Such as, why is the entire town painted beige? Why are there no birds in the town of Blackrock? Why is the Medicine Show always hanging around? Why does she look so much like the town's founder? Why are there no black rocks in the town of Blackrock? What's behind the looked door at the El Dungeon? And what's with the boy who can read her mind?
I like Emily a lot. She is intelligent and eccentric, and she follows her own path. She admits to being rather antisocial - being around people for long stretches of time drives her crazy. But she is kind and does her best dealing with people, and her antisocial nature gives her a definite edge when she's dealing with unpleasant characters. She has a great (if dark) sense of humor - and she accepts herself for who she is, which I particularly appreciate in a teenage female protagonist. She is a kindred spirit to Courtney Crumrin, and fans of Courtney will likely enjoy this series as well - and fans of Franny K. Stein will be happy to know that Emily's waiting for them as they move toward books for older readers. There is a sense of Goth magic realism to this tale, which is full of bizarre occurrences and unrealistic coincidences, but the way in which the story is told makes it an easy matter to suspend disbelief and enjoy the ride.
The Lost Days (#1 in the Emily the Strange series) by Rob Reger and Jessica Runer; narrated by Angela Goethals (Harper Audio, 2009)
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Carrie's YA Bookshelf: "It's definitely interesting. It's full of crazy characters and even crazier occurrences. I got into it right away, but in the middle it started to lose me a little. It picks back up though and is worth sticking with."
Sarah's Random Musings: "This book was really different and odd. I really liked the artwork in the book and Emily's snarky and funny attitude. The plot was mysterious."
Shooting Stars Mag: "The Lost Days is one crazy book, that’s for sure, but it’s also a lot of fun. Readers need to lose their belief in reality and just go for the ride with Emily and her cast of companions."