Friday, January 17, 2014

Will and Whit by Laura Lee Gulledge

I really loved Page by Paige, but for some reason I just couldn't get the teens into it. I think maybe because we just don't have a lot of teens who are into the arts or...something. I don't know.

I loved this one too, even though it made me cry, but I'm sadly probably not going to buy it. Sigh.

Wilhelmina, Will for short, loves old things. This is a good thing, since she lives with her aunt who runs an antique shop and helps out by repurposing old things, as well as specializing in creating lamps. She has two good friends; Autumn, who loves puppetry although her parents would like her to have more ambition, and Noel, who isn't sure he wants to follow in his parents footsteps and be a chef. Will's lamp art is a good thing, since she's scared of the dark and there are always shadows creeping up about her. It takes some new friends, who are putting on a community art show and a major storm (Hurricane Whit) for Will to face her shadows and step out into the light.

The art is different from Page by Paige - it has thicker lines and a sort of wavy feeling, as if every panel is an antique portrait, framed by an elaborate wooden frame. Will's shadows are beautifully drawn, and the reader is caught up in her struggle against the grainy, dark shadows that threaten to take over her life until she faces her grief and allows herself to feel again. The second half of the book, when the storm takes out the electricity, is bordered in black, showing not just the lack of light, but the darkness that is threatening to take over Will's life, until she accepts the shadows and grief  and leaves the darkness behind.

Verdict: I really don't understand why teens won't pick these books up. Maybe it's the lack of artistic types - I know several teens who enjoy art, but I can't see anyone putting together a community art show or something like that. Anyhow, I really enjoy them and I think most libraries will have an audience, just not mine *sulk*.

ISBN: 9781419705465; Published 2013 by Amulet/Abrams; ARC provided by the publisher at ALA Midwinter 2013

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