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What We’re Reading: Will & Whit

Post by Kathy Stewart
Posted August 19, 2013 in NoveList Bookshelf, NoveList Plus

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Will & Whit

by Laura Lee Gulledge

"This is the story of how I escaped my shadow."

As often happens here, a colleague raved about this book so, curious, I put it on hold at my local library. Full disclosure: I'm not a regular graphic novel reader, so wasn't sure if I'd be similarly enthused. Well, wow. Just wow. 

A visual stunner, Gulledge's beautifully rendered illustrations perfectly mirror the narrative arc. She divides the story into categories (Sparks, Shedding Light, Foreshadowing, OutWhitted, The Dark Side, Will-Powered, Illuminated) that reveal a lot about the main character, a teen girl named Will. There's a lot going on, as Will is battling some inner demons and an impending hurricane (Whitney) looms. Luckily, Will has a fun, supportive aunt, with whom she lives, as well as friends who entice Will into helping them stage a carnival. Will is a delightfully quirky character, one that I immediately liked and rooted for. 

And the artwork? With lovely muted grays and clever use of shadows to emphasize the narrative, Gulledge used interesting techniques such as full-page spreads and cinematic views of particular scenes to call attention to key points in the story. The intriguing endmatter feels like an inside peek into Gulledge's working process and includes a Will & Whit soundtrack plus an inspiration board. Consider this my rave.

-- Kathy Stewart, Juvenile Content Specialist and Editor, Kids & Books