Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Despite the fact that Laura Lee Gulledge has published only two graphic novels so far, she is at the top of my list of favorite graphic novel authors. Her books are beautifully illustrated, surprising, creative, quirky, funny, moving, and just all-around delightful. I first discovered her with Page by Paige, which I adored. In fact, I was almost worried to pick up this second one because I felt my expectations may have been unrealistically high. But I needn't have worried.
From the cover I expected this to be a traditional love story, but it wasn't that at all. Not that there isn't romance - that's certainly a part of it - but as with Page by Paige, there was so much more. Our heroine is teenager Will (Wilhelmina) Huxstep, who is wrestling with some demons - trying to come to terms with a family tragedy that has left her fearful of the dark. She is a creative person, and she battles her fear through her art: she makes beautiful, whimsical lamps. She enjoys getting away from the plugged-in aspects of life and out into the world, doing fun things with her friends (also creative, artistic people). When the threat of hurricane Whitney - and the accompanying blackout - is bearing down upon them, Will will need to muster all her bravery - and creative outlook on life - to make it through.
I just loved this book. Gulledge uses metaphors in her artwork in such amazing ways (this one is populated by very interesting shadows that give the careful reader insight into thoughts and feelings that lie beneath the surface), and the artwork and the words flow from page to page in a natural way that lends itself perfectly to the story. The characters are engaging and funny and feel very real, and they interact in ways that often had me laughing out loud. This is a moving story that teens (and adults) will certainly find appealing, and if you have been thinking of taking the plunge into graphic novels, this one would be a wonderful one to explore. Highly recommended!
Will and Whit by Laura Lee Gulledge (Amulet Books, 2013)