Sunday, August 25, 2013

ONLINE: Princess Princess by Strangely Katie

winsome ...  I’m trying to come up with synonyms for “sweet”. 

“Sweet” just doesn't sound right when considering the webcomic Princess Princess. The story is just so that saying too much gives the whole dang thing away, but I would most definitely describe the webcomic as charming and thoughtful. Two delightful Princesses, Sadie and Amira, go off in search of adventure all in winsome shades of pink, purple, and burgundy.

I found this comic through a lucky click on The Mary Sue in a post by Isabella Kapur, Brooke Jaffe, and Susana Polo on 40 WEBCOMICS YOU NEED TO READ. Specifically, Princess Princess came recommended from Isabella Kapur.

I have always loved Webcomics; right now I’m in the middle of reading the ongoing Strong Female Protagonist by Brennan Lee Mulligan and Molly Ostertag, (also on the The Mary Sue’s list) and the also ongoing Monster Pop! By Maya Kern. And as I continue to explore the 40 new suggestions I am guaranteed to have started many more by the end of tonight.

Before you think I’m about to send you off into the vortex of some webcomic that will drain away your entire afternoon. (As many a webcomic are known to do) Princess Princess is unique as it is a completed stand alone story that is only 44 pages in length. Short & darling just doesn't have the same alliteration to it.

The art of Princess Princess is probably what will get the most attention. From the masterful colouring to the character designs that express everything unsaid in just 44 pages. I could not have loved this more. It reminded me a lot of the graphic novel Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol in that the art is very expressive and colourful. If you enjoyed that tone of art and story you should check out Princess Princess.

Packed with a narrative punch and tons of blunt humor, Princess Princess is so nice you will most certainly read it twice!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Review: Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt

Sean Griswold's Head
Description: According to her guidance counsellor, fifteen-year-old Payton Gritas needs a focus object-an item to concentrate her emotions on. It's supposed to be something inanimate, but Payton decides to use the thing she stares at during class: Sean Griswold's head. They've been linked since third grade (Griswold-Gritas-it's an alphabetical order thing), but she's never really known him.

The focus object is intended to help Payton deal with her father's newly diagnosed multiple sclerosis. And it's working. With the help of her boy-crazy best friend Jac, Payton starts stalking-er, focusing on-Sean Griswold . . . all of him! He's cute, he shares her Seinfeld obsession (nobody else gets it!) and he may have a secret or two of his own. 

Stats: Young Adult Contemporary, 288 pages, First Published by Bloomsbury USA Children's Books, March 2011.

My Rating: 3 Stars

“I would be lying if I said I didn't get a kick out of the assignment. Here I am, a "troubled youth," and my self-chosen treatment is to become a stalker. Okay, not stalker. Research Analyst.” 

Sean Griswold's Head is more then what I expected it to be. I expected a cute, romantic, chick-lit, comedy about a quirky teen girl and the head of the boy who sits in front of her (all of which it undoubtedly was) but it was also much more then that. Sean Griswold's Head was about more then just a boy, but the experiences Payton goes through after tragic family news. 

Payton is just starting high school, she has a colour coded highlighter system for English, is psyched to buy a premium day planner, and likes to keep things orderly. So when her life gets surprisingly derailed, things being orderly is the least of her problems. Needless to say, I loved Payton. Her voice was equal parts truthful and neurotic. I also appreciate a girl who can write a properly organized list. Sisterhood!!

All the characters in this including Payton's family, her best friend Jac, and Sean Griswold himself were all well written and charming as hell. No one was perfect, but everyone had at least one really good giggle worthy line of dialogue. Incredibly cute I tell you!

However, what really got me hooked was how realistic the emotions were that Payton experienced throughout the story. She has the entire range of what a young girl trying to handle everything all at once experiences, from sadness, to anger, to defeat, to happiness. It's a bumpy ride and that made the core of the book feel very honest. One of my biggest book-peeves is when a character is experiencing something horrible but doesn't respond by getting angry, or crying, or having some sort of emotional outburst, like a perfectly normal human being does. Payton doesn't just grin and bare it, she is forced working at things and in doing so focus on something else. 

Which brings us to the set up of the entire story. Firstly, multiple sclerosis and secondly, Sean Griswold's head.

Before reading this I didn't know a whole lot about MS. Right now I'm more of a cancer specialist and although I pride myself on being well informed on all things, MS is a bit of a downer. I was happy to see that this book doesn't go into pages of medical jargon or explanations. Instead, the characters spoke for the diagnose in how it affects daily life and how each case is different. Which is what I found so scary about MS, it doesn't just go away, it can't be cured and can't be fixed. I think the story really got across what it was and what it does to the body without being clinical. 

Sean Griswold's HeadMoving on to Sean Griswold, I liked him more then I thought I would have as the story progressed. His blooming relationship with Payton was well paced. Although there were a few moments that didn't completely sell me I liked that he was a developed character and not just a head. 

The only reason I can think of for why this book doesn't get a higher rating from me is that I don't see this as being something that sticks out. It's a great book in the moment, but I can clearly see this as something I won't totally remember this same time next week.

With that being said, this book was incredibly cute with some really unexpected heart warming moments. I also see this as some sort of odd fate that I read this now because I have been pining for a bicycle over the last few days. I really, really, really, really want one! Unfortunately, I don't have cute boys giving me free wheels so I'll have to keep looking in the non-fictional world. Did I mention how much I want one? I'm like a little girl wanting a pony, only this pony can get me to the nearest book store.