Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Page by Paige

This book caught my eye at my library - I'd never seen it or even heard of it before, but what an appealing cover!  I picked it up and flipped through it, and was immediately charmed.  Once I brought it home, my thirteen-year-old daughter scooped it up and started reading it right away, and she was so taken by the artwork that every few minutes she'd come over to show me one of the panels. Here is the first one she showed me:

Gulledge tells the story using metaphoric images, such as the one above, that beautifully depict the feelings of the main character, along with concrete, realistic panels that describe the actual events of the story.  The graphic novel is actually the diary of teenage Paige, who moves to New York City, leaving her friends behind.  She is enchanted by the big city, but it's a big change, and she feels very alone and unsure how she is going to fit into her new life.

Paige buys a sketchbook for her diary, where she draws and writes, trying to sort things out on paper.  She uses her art as a way to explore her feelings, and as she meets people at school and becomes involved in new activities, she records everything, as honestly as she can, in her sketchbook.  She makes some mistakes along the way, and learns a whole lot of new things about herself, her new friends, and even her family.

Gulledge captures that feeling of intense passion and uncertainty that are so characteristic of the teen years, and relates Paige's experiences with humor and empathy.  I love the risks she took with the artwork - it is such an arresting and effective way of telling this story.  My daughter and I loved the book so much I ended up buying her a copy so she'll have it to read through again and again, both for the engaging story as well as the gorgeous art. Just sitting here, flipping through the book as I wrote this review, I ended up getting lost in the story all over again.

Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge (Amulet Books, 2011)

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