Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Falling In Love at a Coffee Shop by Landon Pigg (great song by an unknown artist).
My reviews are a bit different than most. As an undercover superhero (ordinary girl extraordinaire), my purpose is to try and uncover hidden gems lost from the familiar radar. Because of this, I have set up some guidelines for myself (just like the pirate code). :)
I will focus on YA and Children's literature (with very rare exceptions).
I will not review any book that is one of the top 25,000 bestselling books (based on Amazon ranks).
I will try and aim for books 100,000 or larger.
I will review recent books or books of great merit (preferably both).
Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge
Published: May 1, 2011
Publisher: Amulet Books
Current Amazon Rank: #279,172
Want it? Find it here.
The First Line:
Sketchbook Rule #1 - No more excuses! Buy a sketchbook and draw a few pages each week.
Proportionally, if you haven't been able to glean from my reviews, you can tell I like graphic novels. Everything from Flight to Crogan's Vengeance to The Arrival and everything in between. It's like a love-fest between two great mediums and the best graphic novels know how to stretch to the limits of both their mediums. Page by Paige is no exception.
Paige Turner (pun intended. Her parents are writers and hoping she will be too) has just moved to New York City from Virginia and is trying to adjust while feeling lost on almost every level. The graphic novel is her sketchbook as she draws her way through and tries to make sense of her life, who she is, what she wants to be, and forge a new path for herself.
The story is most lacking in serious conflict. Even the conflict between her mother has a quick resolution, but overall, I didn't really mind. It isn't what this story/sketchbook is about. It is her journey through the inner pieces of herself and that sets a different pace. So don't expect an Attack of the Squid Monsters From Space! (though actually, that sounds like a fun graphic novel. Please someone, tell me if such a work exists). It made this story refreshing, in that sense (also, a couple instances of mild language for my gentle readers).
I was most taken with the illustrations and how she blended art and story into one. The art becomes an integral part of grasping deeper levels and meanings as Paige draws out her inner and outer self, often coexisting side by side (or upside down). Laura Lee Gulledge's way of manipulating the panels is wonderful and it was often through these extraordinary displays of creativity that I found myself, understanding perfectly what Paige was saying in a way that words were not needed.
I quite enjoyed this book and its foray into a young girl's mind and her journey to discovering herself. And right after I finished reading it, my sisters swiped it from under my hands and read it within the same day.
The Final Word:
Not fast paced or even full of any kind of intense conflict, but the creativity of the illustrations is something not to be missed. Watching this young girl struggle to find herself, I often found pieces of me instead.