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August 17th, 2009

Books in 2009, #20

#20. Chiggers by Hope Larson

Let's start with a bit of honesty: I was reluctant to purchase Chiggers because the cover art greatly reminds me of Babysitter Club covers, and well, that's just not the sort of story I'm interested in. Granted, I'm a big fan of Larson's artwork and so I decided to give this a chance.

Boy oh boy, I'm glad I did.

Chiggers is the story of Abby returning to a summer camp to find things not as they used to be. Her good friend Rose is now a camp counselor and too busy to hang out with her, and her new roommate Shasta is a bit...odd. Claims she's been struck lightning and talks feverishly about her Internet/college boyfriend. That sort of odd. Anyways, there's camp stuff, but the surprise comes in the form of a speculative element, namely that Shasta was struck by lightning and will-o-the-wisps are drawn to her (and Abby's) bunk. Love, friendship, D&D roleplaying--it's all here, and you'd never expect it.

By far, Larson's artwork outshines her writing. The entirety of the graphic novel is done in black and white--there's no grays to shade things out. Her best pages come towards the end, with Abby and Shasta out in the dark of night, running from lightning that zaps down across the page. In the beginning, I had trouble telling some of the girls apart, and there's even one girl I had problems identifying as a girl. A guest appearance from Bryan Lee O'Malley was a nice touch though he was only really around for a moment or two. This is Abby's story, and while it concludes, there's some mystery still left in what actually happened. I like that, as well as Abby with elfin ears.

So yeah, that whole "don't judge a book by its cover" thing? This is an excellent example of that.

The proof is in the fanart

Okay, I guess this means I'm really liking the show since I'm spending time doing fanart:


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