Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash is a graphic memoir of one summer of the author’s life spent at her annual camp. I really loved this book! The relatively simple drawings portrayed an enormous amount of feeling, and even though this is not usually the style I am drawn to, it is the absolute perfect fit for this story. Maggie was able to create amazing facial expressions with a small number of lines, and I really felt the emotion through the pages.
I think this book is a great way to get teens interested in memoir if they aren’t already – for one thing, the graphic novel format is so accessible and engaging. For another, the story is sweet (and a little bit bittersweet) and very relatable. This book would also be a good introduction into writing memoir; showing how you can take the events of one period in your life and weave them into a story.
Honor Girl is a wonderful example of a graphic novel – the words and images work beautifully together and the panels flow well from one to the next. I think it is especially important in the case of this particular one that Maggie Thrash both wrote and illustrated it. Since it is autobiographical, it seems she was able to infuse so much of herself into the words and images, and that helped to make them go together seamlessly. There is a lot that is conveyed in images alone.
The colors and palette of the images also complement the story well, and give the whole thing a sort of dreamy haze of memories, while still letting the reader feel present in the story.
I am a huge fan of graphic novels, and this one has quickly become one of my favorites. I would definitely recommend this as part of any teen library collection (and think it’s fantastic for adults, too!).