Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday Graphic Novel Review: Lou! Secret Diary

I know that Mondays are supposed to be for picture books, but I like to throw a graphic novel into the mix every so often. Since graphic novels are a picture centric form of storytelling, I think Mondays are a good day for them.

Today's title is the first in a series of books that Lerner Publishing (USA) is putting out. The first volume in the Lou collection came out in France in 2004, and since then the books have been translated into fourteen languages. The main character is a tween who struggles with many of the kinds of problems that most tween girls face. She is sympathetic, and she is also wonderfully funny. 

Julien Neel
Translated by Carol Klio Burrell
Graphic Novel
For ages 9 to 12
Lerner, 2012, 978-0-7613-8868-5
Lou is not your typical twelve-year-old. She and her mother Emma have a very close bond, and they often behave as if they are good friends instead of a mother and daughter. Unlike many children who are being raised by their single mother, Lou has no real interest in finding out who her father is. He has never been a part of her life, and she sees no reason to change this state of affairs.
   Lou does not want to be like everyone else, which is unusual for a school girl of her age. She designs her own clothes, and she doesn’t care if the other girls snigger at her behind her back. Let them. Lou is perfectly happy having one close friend, Mina, and she doesn’t feel the need to fit in and be popular.
   One thing Lou does long for is for her neighbor Tristan to notice her. Lou has had a crush on Tristan for years, but she has never been able to muster up the courage to tell him how she feels. Both Mina and Emma have encouraged Lou to speak her mind, but Lou does not feel able to do so.
   Lou isn’t the only one who cannot speak her mind when it comes to boys. Emma is the same way. A very cute man called Richard moves in next door, and Emma really likes him, but she can’t seem to get the words out. On Valentine’s Day, Lou, Tristan, Richard, and Emma arrange to go out for dinner, but then Tristan and Emma start playing a video game and the evening turns into a disaster. To say that Lou is angry with her mother is an understatement.
   Graphic novel fans are going to enjoy the funny, incredibly honest, and poignant stories in this book. For years the Lou comics have delighted readers in Europe, and now they are have been compiled into a series of books for American readers. Many of the situations that Lou finds herself in will resonate with young readers who are experiencing growing pains of their own.



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