Paper Girls Vol.1 by Brian Vaughan and Cliff Chiang

In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time. Suburban drama and otherworldly mysteries collide in this smashhit series about nostalgia, first jobs, and the last days of childhood. 

So, Paper Girls is actually the first graphic novel I have ever finished reading and I absolutely loved it!

Before this, I would appreciate the style of the graphic novels I tried to read but would find the story hard to follow. With Paper Girls though, something just clicked. I loved how colourful and detailed the art was, and each panel was relatively simple story-wise so I could follow the action without issue.

Paper Girls starts by following Erin, a newly minted paper girl, doing her route during the aftermath of Halloween. After being cornered by a group of boys, Erin is saved by Mackenzie, Tiffany and KJ – the more seasoned neighbourhood Paper Girls – who decide to take Erin under their wing. The four team up for the rest of their route for protection but inadvertently stumble upon a mystery that seems too crazy to be true.

I don’t want to give away much more of the plot because it really goes in an unexpected direction, but I was fully on board for all the craziness. The meshing of the sci-fi/horror elements with the suburban backdrop was handled brilliantly, and every new twist felt earned and exciting.

If there’s anything to know about my taste in literature and film, it’s that I adore coming of age narratives and that I am all about a story with supernatural elements, so this was extremely up my alley. There’s nothing like a 1980s small town setting to evoke that sense of pre-teen nostalgia (even though I wasn’t born until the 90s), and although some of the cultural references were a little too obscure for me to get, I appreciate a story that really leans into its period.

All the Paper Girl gang were delightful to read, especially the snarky, chain-smoking Mackenzie, whose background i’m hoping will be delved into deeper in other volumes. Their motivations seemed realistic for a group of girls suddenly thrown into an unknowable crisis, and their personalities were varied and distinct.

The only downside is that it ends on a massive cliffhanger and I haven’t had the chance to buy the other volumes yet.

After reading this, I really want to go back and give the graphic novels I struggled with another chance, so hopefully i’ll get to them soon!

Goodreads Rating – 4.5/5

Thanks for reading again, friends. If you have any Graphic Novel suggestions, please let me know!

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My Sister The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

When blood is thicker, and more difficult to get out of the carpet, than water …

“Femi makes three you know, Three and they label you a serial killer.”

When Korede’s dinner is interrupted one night by a distress call from her sister, Ayoola, she knows whats expected of her: bleach, rubber gloves, nerves of steel and a strong stomach. This’ll be the third boyfriend Ayoola’s dispatched in “self-defence” and the third mess that her lethal little sibling has left Korede to clear away. She should probably go to the police for the good of the menfolk of Nigeria, but she loves her sister and, as they say, family always comes first.

I mean… what a title, right?

For such a short book, there’s a lot here to think about. I read this in a single sitting, which the punchy prose and flashbacks really encouraged. There’s an almost cinematic quality to the techniques Braithwaite uses, like the short chapters that feel like rhythmic scene changes, and the heavy use of vernacular dialogue that immediately immersed me in the Lagos setting and the characters who inhabit it. Coming in at only 223 pages, this is a great one to read if (like me) you’re scrambling to meet the halfway point of your Goodreads goal.

The blurb touts the book as taking ‘wicked aim at male impropriety’ and while this is true, it’s the co-dependant relationship of the sisters that interested me the most. Korede, who narrates the novel, is practical and regimented, spending her time split between working as a nurse and trying to keep her home, and sister, in order. Ayoola, on the other hand, is impulsive and hedonistic, with her beauty and charm being her defining characteristics to outsiders. Only Korede knows about her sisters murderous compulsions, and yet she willingly enables her. I don’t want to spoil the intricacies of the relationship, but I think it’s one of the most fascinating depictions of sisterhood I’ve ever read.

“You’re a big sister now, Korede. And big sisters look after little sisters”

I also really enjoyed the novel’s dark humour, particularly around Ayoola’s use of social media, who is distraught after being told by Korede she can’t upload carefree snapchats while being under suspicion of her boyfriend’s murder.

If I had one criticism, it would be that a subplot surrounding Korede confiding in a comatose patient named Muhtar threw the rhythm of the book off a bit, but it did bring up some interesting insights into Nigerian culture and gender politics so it’s just a minor nitpick.

Overall, this was such a strong debut from Briathwaite and I’m looking forward to seeing what she does next!

Goodreads rating – 4/5

Hello Friends

Thanks for joining me!

Before I get started with any actual bookish content, I just wanted to scribble a little about me and also give a thank you for even clicking on my ramblings at all!

I chose the name Highlighted Page for this blog because, as much as I love a pristine cover, there is something so joyous to me about a well loved book with highlighted passages and annotated pages. Apologies if that’s controversial, i’m a responsible reader in other regards, I promise.  I don’t bend the spine or fold the corners of pages, although I admit I used to eat chocolate while I was reading as a child and did ruin quite a lot of books that way (I’m so sorry to my beautiful original Harry Potter series) but we can move past that, right? 

In all seriousness, books have always been a wonderful escape for me and have gotten me through some difficult times, so i’m very pleased to have my own wee place to write about how much they mean to me. 

I’m also about to start a Masters in The Gothic Imagination so there might be some content about that, but it will be fun and unpretentious (PLEASE HOLD ME TO THAT)

I’ve just read some books that I very much enjoyed so I should have some reviews soon! 

until then, friends… 

Diane 

 

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