Laura Lee Gulledge – Page by Paige
Length: 192 pages
Genre: Graphic Novel; Contemporary YA
Started / Finished: 06 July 2013
Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? Random browsing.
New girl in school must
open up enough to let
friends know the real her.
Summary: Paige’s family has just moved from Charlottesville, VA, to New York City. Paige misses the greenness and open spaces of her home, but most of all, she misses her best friend, the only person who has ever really understood her. Paige is an artist, so she pours her heart into her sketchbook. And when school starts, she finds friends she likes, and that seem to like her, but they don’t really know the real Paige. But how can they, when the real Paige only comes out on the pages of the sketchbook that no one is allowed to see?
Review: My graphic novels have been all feeling a little same-y recently. This is absolutely because my local branch of the library only stocks the YA graphic novels (adult ones are elsewhere), so my random browsing picks are limited for choice. But despite the fact that this book is very similar to some others I’ve read recently (Peanut, Friends With Boys), I enjoyed it quite a bit. The “girl starts new school and tries to find where she fits in” plot was obviously nothing new, and Page by Paige even had the “secret public art” angle of The Plain Janes, but this book stood out in two ways. The first is that it takes on the concept of trusting someone enough to open up and show them the real you more directly than some of the others I’ve read, which is a great message, and still something I struggle with, even though I’m twice the age of these stories’ protagonists. The real way that this book stands out, however, is in the artwork. There’s a bit of meta-ness about it all, that Paige is drawing about her life and her feelings in her sketchbook, which is presumably what we’re reading (especially considering Gulledge *also* moved from VA to NYC), but that aspect of things was kept nicely subtle. The artwork is all black and white, but it really vividly gives a feeling for what it’s like to be in Paige’s head, playing with panel structure and layout and swapping between various styles, all as appropriate. (You can get a feeling for it in the book trailer, below.) It’s lovely and honest and fits the story perfectly. As I said, the story is not the most original one ever, but in this case, the creative and beautiful way in which this story is told makes this book something more than the typical fare. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: If the sub-genre (or maybe sub-sub-genre?) of “new kid in school” books is your cup of tea, then Page by Paige is definitely worth checking out.
First Line: Sketchbook Rule #1 No more excuses!
© 2013 Fyrefly’s Book Blog. All Rights Reserved. If you’re reading this on a site other than Fyrefly’s Book Blog or its RSS feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is being used without permission.