I am kind of surprised at the relatively low (3.71) Goodreads rating on this title. Many reviewers said that not enough happens in the book, and I will agree that it is more of a “slice of life” than an action-packed adventure. This is such a beautiful book with the underlying theme of friendship and dealing with grief. I loved this book; it’s a must for any middle and high school library.
AUTHOR: Laura Lee Gulledge
PUBLICATION DATE: May 7, 2013
SOURCE: my library
GENRE: realistic fiction, graphic novel
SETTING: Charlottesville, VA, present day
GIVE IT TO: MS, HS
SUMMARY: A year ago, Wilhelmina’s parents died in a car accident. Now, Will lives with her aunt and helps run the family’s antiques store next-door. Since her parents’ deaths, Will has been haunted by dark shadows and is afraid of the dark. In the aftermath of a hurricane, Will must go several days without electricity and ultimately learns to face her fears and her grief.
REVIEW: This is the second graphic novel by Laura Lee Gulledge that I’ve read, and I am officially a huge fan. The stories in both Will & Whit and Page By Paige are solid, but the gorgeous artwork just blows me away. I love how Will’s shadows follow her anywhere there is darkness. For example, in one scene, Will goes to the basement of their antiques store, and there are hands reaching for her from the shadows. Will knows they aren’t really there and ignores them, but she understandably avoids dark spaces.
I first thought this would be a romance–just look at the cover–and that Will and Whit were a boy and girl. In reality, Whit is a hurricane that knocks out the power and forces Will to face her fears. There is romance, but it is just one part of the story and does not come together until the very end.
Friendship is powerful in this book, and Will has several friends who rally around her when she can’t deal with the darkness. I loved how one of the friends, Noel, has nursed a crush on another friend, Autumn, for a very long time but hasn’t had the nerve to ask her out. So sweet and realistic! I also loved how Noel’s 13-year old little sister is also an important part of the gang, even though she is a couple of years younger than the others. I also found this to be realistic–my own sister is two years younger than I am, and we had many of the same friends in high school.
THEMES: grief, fear, friendship, family
THE BOTTOM LINE: Will & Whit is a great addition to any middle or high school graphic novel section. Highly recommended.
STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: We have it, and I recommend it often.
- Overall: 5/5
- Creativity: 5/5
- Characters: 5/5
- Engrossing: 4/5
- Writing: 5/5
- Appeal to teens: 5/5
- Appropriate length to tell the story: 5/5
- Language: none
- Sexuality: mild; some kissing
- Violence: none
- Drugs/Alcohol: none