Review: Will & Whit by Laura Lee Gulledge

Will & WhitTitle: Will & Whit

Author: Laura Lee Gulledge

Publisher: Abrams

Release Date: May 7th, 2013

Interest: Author / Graphic novel

Source: Purchased

Summary (From Goodreads):

Wilhelmina “Will” Huxstep is a creative soul struggling to come to terms with a family tragedy. She crafts whimsical lamps, in part to deal with her fear of the dark. As she wraps up another summer in her mountain town, she longs for unplugged adventures with her fellow creative friends, Autumn, Noel, and Reese. Little does she know that she will get her wish in the form of an arts carnival and a blackout, courtesy of a hurricane named Whitney, which forces Will to face her fear of darkness.
Laura Lee Gulledge’s signature visual metaphors will be on full display in this all-new graphic novel, a moving look at shedding light on the dark corners of life.

Laura Lee Gulledge is both a talented author and artist, which Will & Whit is further proof of.

It’s hard not to compare Will & Whit to Page by Paige since I loved it so much.  Gulledge’s beautiful artwork is present in Will & Whit, especially her use of visual metaphors.  The characters are quirky and fun to read, and I enjoyed the storyline.  I do, however, feel like something is missing from the story.

Page by Paige read like a complete story and the imagery is breathtaking.  I wasn’t awed by the art in Will & Whit, and I often felt like I was missing something while reading.  I love how Laura Lee Gulledge uses light and dark to further develop Will’s fear of the dark and her past.  There’s an entire section of black pages in the book to really get the mood across; it’s a very impressive graphic novel.  Unfortunately, I had to stop and look back a few pages a number of times to see if I missed something.  The story kept jumping and events happened and things were said without me knowing enough to follow it.  For instance, it’s never explicitly stated what happened to Will’s parents.  It seems like she feels responsible or something–based on how she acts–until the end when only a little bit of the back story is cleared up.  Also, Will works on a big project towards the end, and when it’s revealed I didn’t understand what it was and exactly why she made it or what it meant to her.  Maybe I’m not paying enough attention to the pictures, but I purposely slowed myself down when I read this.  I’m not sure if the panels need something different or if more dialogue needed to be included, but I think some extra editing or something would have helped me get more from the story.

Regardless of the gaps in the story, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Will & Whit.  Some of the language is inappropriate for younger readers, so I wouldn’t hand this off to one without reading it first.  I’m looking forward to sharing this with my students in the fall because I really want to discuss it with them (or anyone).

Also, this is not really related to anything, but I have to mention that I am completely jealous of Will’s hair.  I never thought I’d be jealous of a fictional character’s hair, but I am.  I’m sure you’re happy to know that 😉

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