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Artist and teacher Gulledge's debut graphic novel features young Paige Turner, who, like Gulledge, is a Virginian transplanted to New York. Unexpectedly stripped of her comfortable social network and dropped into an unfamiliar context, Paige finds herself reconstructing her disrupted life; New York provides her with a rich source of novel experiences, new friends, and even her first romance as Paige explores who it is that she wants to become. Paige's story is a familiar, perhaps universal, tale of self-discovery and transformation. Although New York is quite different from the region where Paige grew up, Gulledge eschews an antiurban approach, preferring to see in New York that quintessentially American city, a grand, intricate setting fit for a coming-of-age story. Gulledge's b&w illustrations are simple but well-suited to their subject matter; the work as a whole is a good-natured, optimistic portrait of a young woman evolving toward adulthood. Ages 12-up. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
When she moves with her parents to Brooklyn from western Virginia, teen artist Paige learns how to respond to an array of anxieties in her adolescent life. Not only does she begin to take her art seriously; she steps out of her habitual shyness to make friends, confront her mother about her disguise of contentment, and relax enough to respond to romantic overtures from a new peer. Flowing in dynamic unity with the text, Gulledge's art is a delight: metaphor and simile are intertwined visually with realistic scenes of Paige at the museum, in school, and hanging out in the park and in coffee shops with her new buddies. Although the book is in black and white, the many references to color light the mind's eye rather than frustrate through its physical absence on the page. Paige serves as a reflection of and inspiration to readers who might see themselves as nascent artists, shy introverts ready to blossom, or youths on the brink of maturity. An excellent crossover suggestion for a wider range of readers than just graphic-novel fans.--Goldsmith, Francisca Copyright 2010 Booklist
School Library Journal
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Gr 7 Up-When 16-year-old Paige is transplanted from Virginia to Brooklyn, her sketchbook is her only friend. She commits to draw a few pages each week, "No more excuses." This is her vehicle for self-exploration as she finds her place in a new environment. Her sketchbook spans a period of eight months and is divided into a set of nine "rules," and includes images of herself and her quest to answer the question, "Who am I?" The journal chronicles her developing friendships, a budding romance, her relationship with her mother, and her increasing ability to take risks and to explore new means of expressing herself. The book's trim size allows for ample visual expression and development of concepts. Realistic black-and-white drawings and excellent use of panel size, placement, and pacing add to the book's appeal. Gulledge is a master of both words and images. She brilliantly portrays poignant emotions: twisting ink falling from Paige's head as she searches for ideas, carrying her heart through an expanse of banana peels, her sneakers in a crowd of Ugg boots, a mouth stitched shut, and her silhouette from the rooftop with the Big Dipper appearing to fall from her hand-all make her loneliness palpable. Gulledge's turns of phrase are equally intriguing. Terms such as "agents of whimsy," "clickage," and "fluent in Paige" give equal weight to both imaginative text and image. The illustration for "I am a redhead island" is spot-on. This self-deprecating, humorous, and heartfelt story will resonate with readers.-Barbara M. Moon, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.