Thursday, August 13, 2015

Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L.Holm and Matthew Holm

Summary (from Goodreads):
From the groundbreaking and award-winning sister-brother team behind Babymouse comes a middle-grade, semi-autobiographical graphic novel.

Following the lives of kids whose older brother's delinquent behavior has thrown their family into chaos, Sunny Side Up is at once a compelling "problem" story and a love letter to the comic books that help the protagonist make sense of her world.

By sister-bother team Jennifer and Matthew Holm. A 200-page, full-color graphic novel in the vein of Raina Telgemeier's Smile.
This was not what I was expecting at all. I was expecting a light-hearted tale from the creators of Babymouse. Instead, I got something totally different, a lot more emotional, and completely heartfelt. I can’t talk too much about the plot without giving something major away, but I have to say it was so refreshing to get this perspective (from the younger sibling) in regards to this issue.
Sunny is shipped off to live with her grandfather in Florida for the summer. She was going to spend the summer at the beach with her best friend, but because of something that happens with her big brother, all the plans change. Poor Sunny is stuck in a retirement center, on an uncomfortable sleeper sofa. She’s surrounded by senior citizens and just isn’t having the summer she wanted.
But, then she meets a boy named Buzz, who introduces her to comic books. And the two friends make the best of the situation. The find golf balls, save cats, and even save a person too (like the heroes they read about). And Sunny slowly comes to turns with what happened with her family.
If you’ve read these authors before, the illustrations will come off as kind of familiar. Though, they’re bright and sunny (like the character). And the facial expressions of the characters are spot-on. The illustrations really make this book fantastic.
This book seriously spoke to me. I related to Sunny on so many levels. I have an older brother who went through something similar. And I remember being sent to spend time with my cousins (who I love and am so glad I was able to grow up with). But this sense that things aren’t meant to be talked about, rung true to me. Also, the need to blame yourself for things that aren’t your fault. And then of course came the comic books. I didn’t get into comics until way later in life, but when I was Sunny’s age, I found YA books.
I loved this book. I’m not sure everyone will. It spoke to me on a personal level and I get that it won’t be that way for everyone. I don’t think other people will expect its level of seriousness either. It’s a wonderful intergenerational story. The relationship that grows between Sunny and her grandfather is so sweet. I love her friend for the summer too. I love that reading comics helps Sunny be who she needs to be. I give it a 9/10.

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