I’m showing some more graphic novel love with Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge, and this is one so good that I want to throw it a party and shower it with presents.
The Story: Paige Turner (yes, that is her real name) just moved to Brooklyn with her parents, away from her BFF and into a huge city with thousands of people. Sadly, she has never felt so alone. She recalls some words of wisdom from her grandmother, buys a brand new sketchbook, and starts drawing again, something she thought she was never good enough to do. Through gorgeously drawn illustrations, we see Paige’s journey as she struggles to break free of her parent’s expectations and become the person she wants to be. She makes some uber cool friends along the way, finds courage through her art, and discovers a new person who has lived inside her all along.
The Low Down: OMG I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH! *ahem* Yea. Truth be told, this is a phenomenal book. Each chapter is headlined with one of nine “rules” for Paige’s new sketchbook, which actually are inspiring in themselves. Gulledge’s artwork is stunning, and very detailed. She not only displays great artistic talent, but also manages to capture Paige’s teen angst through pictures, which is quite a feat. Paige’s confusion and struggles as she tries to make a new life in New York are legit and I’m sure any teenager (or young adult… or older adult, for that matter) facing a bit of an identity crisis can totally relate. She’s unsure, nervous, and a little fearful, but she ventures out on her own to carve out a place for herself where she can be happy. The friends she makes are incredibly likeable characters, and are very understanding and supportive of her. The subject matter isn’t heavy and/or deep, but it certainly is thought provoking. By the time I got to the end, I thought to myself, “if Paige can, then I can, too!” And since we’re discussing a novel for young adults, I’m guessing that’s probably the point. Heck, it made me drag out my old sketchbook and art pencils again!
Extra Goodies: Here’s a link to one of Gulledge’s blogs for Paige, with samples of some of her artwork and snippets of info about her technique and process. For an artist-wannabe like myself, Gulledge just got even cooler.
The Bottom Line: I can’t say enough wonderful things about the artwork, and it is such an inspiring come-of-age novel that it made even ME feel like I could conquer anything. A beautiful graphic depiction of self discovery, and something that anybody, not just teens, can relate to and feel inspired by.
OFFICIAL RATING: 9.5/10 (Yup. I totally went there.)