Saturday, August 3, 2013
Will & Whit by Laura Lee Gulledge
I really liked this. Laura Lee Gulledge is author of Page by Paige, also a graphic novel I very much enjoyed. I thought her story-telling improved in this one, and I love her artistic style.
Will is sad. That is clear. We know she's only lived with her aunt for about a year, so clearly something has happened to both her parents. But like the dark she fears, Will pushes unpleasant thoughts aside by working on her lamps.
She has two wonderful friends, Noel and Autumn. Noel has a crush on Autumn but can't bring himself to tell her. Autumn is a bit insecure when it come to boys and can't believe that anyone could like her. Before the hurricane strikes, Will and her friend become involved in a town carnival some other kids their age are putting on. But then the blackout hits, and Will gets recruited to figuring out how to light the now dark space.
The hurricane forces a lot of things out into the open. I liked that contrast - the lack of lights force things out into the light. With no electricity for days, everyone is outside and interacting with each other. Relationships are made and broken. Will has a chance to face her fears, and to be honest with both her friends and her aunt about how she's really been coping this last year. She's asked to create an original art piece for the carnival. Will has only ever created from other objects before, and it gives her a chance to express her thoughts. What she creates is truly beautiful.
The art is done in black and white, with lots of shading and shadowing. I liked how Will's fear of the dark, and her other fears and sadness, were portrayed. They were all shown in the shadows of other objects. Will might be riding a bike, and in the bike's shadow we see a bicycle built for three with only one rider. When Will has to turn off her flashlight, in its shadow we see a sword, something she wished she had to protect her from the dark. It was beautifully done. It tied in so perfectly with Will's finally art instillation, where she uses shadow to create something herself. Intentionally.