Friday, July 27, 2012

Year of the Beasts by Cecil Castellucci

In alternating chapters of text and graphic novel, Tessa slowly reveals events that have left her damaged.  During a trip to the fair with her best friend Tessa is forced to bring along her younger sister Lulu.  When the three girls meet up with several boys, including Tessa's crush Charlie, the teens decide to go into the sideshow together.  Charlie and Lulu emerge from the darkness holding hands and begin dating seriously, making Tessa jealous.  Her life is further complicated by her secret relationship with loner Jasper.  The narrative chapters take the reader through events as they happen while the graphic novel sections show Tessa after the tragedy that changed her life, a tragedy that leaves her feeling like Medusa.  Often I think that graphic novels are gimmicks intended to supposedly increase interest in a book.  The illustrations here are used to foreshadow events in the book and add to the story, although they are best understood in hindsight.  A nice mix of two different art forms.