Friday, May 24, 2013

Gum Girl! Chews your destiny by Rhode Montijo

My first thought when I saw this cover was "Andi Watson's Gum Girl has come to the US! Shriek!!" But no, this is a gum-themed superheroine but quite a different story (and author).

First, this is a chapter book with illustrations, rather than a graphic novel. It's aimed at a slightly younger audience and I'd call it a beginning chapter book although it's a little over 100 pages. This Gum Girl has a very different origin and personality as well...

Gabby Gomez is obsessed with gum-chewing and after a very hairy accident, her mother declares "no more gum!" Gabby disobeys her and chews one last piece of very special gum...but the bubble blows into an electric wire and to her horror she finds herself turned into Gum Girl! Literally. She figures out the trick to turn back into her normal self (You know what gets gum out of hair?'s a good thing she's not allergic to peanuts.) and decides to fight evil as the super-stretchy Gum Girl.

Unfortunately, as many a superhero has discovered, it's not so easy to balance superheroing and school and Gabby finds herself getting into more and more trouble. In the end, she has a decision to make - tell her mom the truth or keep getting into trouble. But there's a mysterious villain on the horizon who might cause even more trouble...yes, this book ends on a definite cliffhanger!

The art wasn't finished in the galley I saw, but I was told it would be in color similar to the cover (I think, I might be remembering something else?) It has very thick lines and a Cartoon Network look - makes me think of the Powerpuff cartoons.

Verdict: While I would really prefer Andi Watson's Gum Girl, I think this will definitely have appeal too, probably to the same crowd that likes Bad Kitty and similar titles. It feels much more American of course, and has some of the typical stereotypes - big and strong equals bad and stupid bully, etc. It plays with some superhero tropes, but not enough to be really amusing. In short, it's a title quite a few kids will like, but adults won't be much interested in - and that's ok!

ISBN: 9781423157403; Published June 2013 by Disney/Hyperion; ARC provided by publisher at ALA Midwinter 2013; Purchased for the library

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