My heart is glowing after reading this. Seriously—I will probably read it at least 2-3 more times before I surrender it to the library. There’s just something so sweet and innocent about this and I cannot wait to read volume two: Sticks and Scones.
I found this after Sarah over at Sarah Reads to Much released the list of the Morris Award finalists (which she helped select). The blurb and the cover pulled me in so I added it to my list to check out at some point and then it appeared on someone else’s blog and I was like alright I’m in.
Luckily, my local library had a copy and I got it within two days. Then, showing my usual lack of restraint, I started it on the bus ride home from work and finished it before I went to bed.
What is wonderful about this book and Ukazu discusses it in the preface, is that the she is a first (or second—I don’t have the book with me) generation Nigerian-American woman who grew up in the south and she tells this wonderful store of a gay white teenager (from the south) in New England. I honestly could not fault it from the story to the subject matter, she talks about all the research that she did and incorporated into the story. I also really appreciated the diversity she brought to the cast of characters. So many authors/artists would go, “oh, hockey, white.” and that would be it with maybe a token character, but Ukazu had a spectrum of players.
The other thing that I really enjoyed was Bitty. I could see where he could really grate on people, but his interactions, his growth, and that final scene, were just perfect. There’s a youthful naïveté and joy in his character that Ukazu brought out without making him a caricature. This is where I think the tweets would’ve further reinforced this if they were placed in the actual time of the vlog/story versus being bundled at the end.
Overwhelmingly, if you can’t tell yet, I LOVED this graphic novel. There was just enough humor, romance, dude-bro-ness, and New England to make it so enjoyable, but a few things stood that didn’t quite work for me. The biggest thing that didn’t work for me was the separating the tweets from the action of the story. I think this was a creative decision to put the vlogs and the actual story happenings in batches, but to put all of the tweets from the two years in one chunk at the back of the book just didn’t work for me. The other piece was the “extra comics” section. Adding those at the end wasn’t as disruptive as the tweets, because context clues, but they were disjointed at the end and could’ve been left out.
Recommendation: READ THIS BOOK! If someone hasn’t bought the film rights for it, they’re missing out on a wonderful young adult/teen rom-com. I’m seriously debating going out and buying a copy. I may buy them after Sticks and Scones comes out, but I doubt I’ll be able to wait that long.
Opening Line: “HELLOOOOOOOOO INTERNET LAND!”
Closing Line: “I’ll text you.” “Okay.” (Whited out to avoid spoilers, highlight to read.)