My rating: 5 of 5 stars
What this graphic novel is about:
We’re in 1988, very early in the morning after Halloween. Erin, a 12-year-old girl is out before the crack of dawn to deliver the news papers on her bike when she gets into trouble with some teenage boys. Thankfully, Mac and her two friends, come to the resque and Erin joins their small group of paper girls who have each other’s back during the dangerous hours of paper delivery. When a group of weirdly dressed strangers steals their walkie-talkie the girls have no choice but to go after them. They end up in the basement of an unoccupied house, where a strange looking machine is humming. And suddenly, everything these girls knew about the world is about to fall to crumbles.
This was such a cool graphic novel! It combines together so many small things that make a big fat “wow” come out of my mouth every 20 pages. I don’t even know where to start but this is exactly what I dreamt a sci-fi graphic novel story would be like, taking place in the late 80s. I think this is my first 5 stars of the year!
Starting with the simple and shallow things: Appearance. If you’ve read Saga, Volume 1, you will find the illustrations and art style very familiar. I personally liked the maturity of the style in the sense that it feels more like a graphic novel than a comic book (does that make any sense?). The colours were very pleasing and there was a point in the beginning in which I thought: “Oh, this particular illustration was also used for Saga”. Still, the story of this graphic novel has nothing to do with the story of Saga. If you are worrying that this is going to be a cheap version of your much beloved Saga, this is not the case.
I believe the strongest element of this book was the mysterious atmosphere surrounding the story. Every single issue (from the total of 5 issues in this volume) ends with a cliffhanger and left me wanting to keep going, read more and faster and figure out what the hell is going on with this town!! The cool thing about the story too is that although it strongly belongs to the sci-fi genre, it was very smart of the writers and publishers (and whoever else is responsible for the story’s decisions) to make it Paper Girls and not Paper Boys (which might as well have been). I am a girl that enjoys sci-fi books but most girls feel a bit overwhelmed with the thought of picking up a science fiction graphic novel (four words that stereotypically fit more with guys than gals).
Still, the protagonists here are four girls and the story itself is exciting and interesting from the start. I never felt that the sci-fi element was overpowering the plot or the characters. Instead, many times during my flight through this book I was thinking “Wow!” or “What???” or “What is happening here???” On the other hand, guys who are reluctant to read something called Paper Girls thinking this is a bunch of girly stuff, trust me, you’re going to like this one! Just do yourselves a favour, boys and girls out there, and get your hands on this graphic novel.
One more part that I enjoyed quite a lot were the cultural references and the whole atmosphere of the late 80’s. Although I am a 90s kid myself, the graphic novel provided a subtle but brilliant insight of the 80’s small town feel. While there is a creepy, scarry atmosphere from the first few pages on, the story didn’t lack of humour and witty lines from the characters who felt very realistic and complex. The events are taking place right after Halloween too, which also adds to the thrilling and creepy feel of the plot.
Finally, I’d like to mention two more things that I always appreciate in books. First is the element of surprise, when I don’t expect something to happen or when I don’t see it coming. This happened at least two times in Paper Girls, Vol. 1 and I was so pleased to have experienced this rare feeling of “What the @!$# just happened?”. One more thing that I appreciated was the inclusion of LGBT character/s in the story. Just because it’s sci-fi doesn’t mean that we only focus on the sci-fi stuff!
To wrap up this review, this is an awesome graphic novel that you should all read! Yes, I recommend it for everybody. It’s fun, fast-paced, surprising, adventurous story taking place during an “unusual” time for a sci-fi book, with smart, believable characters that will keep you wanting to read more and more! When is the next volume coming out?? I need it in my life right now!
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I received a free copy of this graphic novel from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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