Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge

Last year, when I became aware of the fact that there was no way in hell that I was going to finish my reading challenge for the year, I tried to pump up my numbers by starting at the front of my TBR notebook and reading my way through the graphic novels I had listed.  For a couple of years I had been noting graphic novels in the list and I checked out the ones that I could get my hands on and sighed in frustration at the ones that just weren’t available through the library.  One of my little projects recently has been going through my TBR and getting rid of some of the stuff that really doesn’t interest me as much as I thought it would.  I came across this book on the list, having apparently skipped over it last year.  Lucky me, it was available.

Because I really liked it.

Was it super YA?  Yes.  That didn’t devalue it for me at all.  Gulledge did a really good job of capturing the emotion of that particularly volatile stage.  Reading through Paige’s sketchbook was a lot like reading through my own journals from the time.  Page is frustrated.  Her father recently got a new job in New York and she has moved from Virginia to the city.  From the start she realizes that this could be a chance to really grow into something new.  It doesn’t take long for her to make some new friends and really start to come out of her shell.

What I found to be so honest about this book was that Page is frustrated.  She’s frustrated at her mother who always wants to pretend that everything is perfect.  She’s frustrated with herself because she never opens up.  She is really just a kid, trying to figure herself out.  And, you know, having recently read through a few of my old journals I can promise you that the frustrations are right on point.

The style here is also very nice, very readable.  The text doesn’t get lost in the art even when it is mixed in with the art, like words written on a torn page.  I love the simplicity and depth of the drawings, which managed to feel both lifelike and cartoonish and somewhat high minded.

I think that possibly the best result from this book was when I woke up this morning thinking about how much more I wanted to journal, like I used to in high school when I drew and wrote poems and short stories all on the same pages.