Thursday, March 3, 2011

Good as Lily, by Derek Kirk Kim & Jesse Hamm

Good as Lily, by Derek Kirk Kim & Jesse Hamm. New York: Minx, 2007. Unpaged. ISBN 9781401213817

Being stuck with three other versions of yourself every day is quite a challenge.  How will Grace survive the embarassments they're causing her, and why are they here?

Graphic Novel, Fantasy

"What would you do if versions of yourself at [ages] 6, 29 and 70 became a part of your already awkward high school life? Grace Kwon is about to find out the hard way after she breaks a haunted pinata on her 18th birthday and her "other selves" appear. But it just may be the dark secret she's kept hidden about her younger sister, Lily, that stands between Grace and her past, present, and future." (Syndetic Solutions, Inc. summary)

Kim and Hamm do an incredible job of balancing two stories in this novel.  On one hand, the novel is about Grace's everyday life at high school, with friends and bullies, ups and downs.  But simultaneously, Grace must manage the three other versions of herself at different ages, the physical manifestations of a family issue which is gnawing at her.  Both the dialogue and the illustrations in this graphic novel are filled with humor.  The illustrations are black and white, but convey the full range of characters' emotions in an engaging way.  The only critique I have is that the illustration style on the cover is different from that inside the book.  Yet overall, this is both a thought-provoking and heart-warming graphic novel which is a superb example of all of the amazing potential of this form;  it's the kind of work which would be a great introduction to the form for anyone. Potentially controversial element: graphic novel format.

This novel could help teens who are being bullied at school or who have unresolved family issues.

I liked the illustration style and thought the premise sounded fun.

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