Saturday, June 23, 2018

Cici's Journal: The adventures of a Writer in Training by Joris Chamblain and Aurelie Neyret

Summary from Goodreads:
Cici dreams of being a novelist. Her favorite subject: people, especially adults. She’s been watching them and taking notes. Everybody has one special secret, Cici figures, and if you want to write about people, you need to understand what’s hiding inside them. But now she’s discovered something truly strange: an old man who disappears into the forest every Sunday with huge pots of paint in all sorts of colors. What is he up to? Why does he look so sad when he comes back?

In a graphic novel interwoven with journal notes, scrapbook pieces, and doodles, Cici assembles clues about the odd and wonderful people she’s uncovered, even as she struggles to understand the mundane: her family and friends.
This is probably my favorite contemporary graphic novel of all time. I devoured this in one sitting. It’s been a personal goal of mine to read more graphic novels. And I have been. And I typically enjoy them. Never have I loved them like this though.
I love Cici. She’s sort of this intelligent combo of Hermione, Sherlock, and Harriet the Spy with the heart of Anne Shirley. I saw myself in her. Yet, she’s also flawed and has some of the same serious flaws of Sherlock –overlooking her friends in the face of a good mystery/story to write. And I loved watching her recognize her flaws, learn from them, and try to fix them. A big chunk of this book was her friendship story. And I loved that her friends didn’t put up with being used.
I also loved Cici’s relationship with her author/neighbor. I loved that she didn’t judge people by how old they were or how they looked. She found every person/character to be interesting in their own right.
And then there’s the remarkably cute and fascinating plots. The first one with the zoo made my heart melt with its cuteness. I loved the idea of a zoo, turned art museum in the middle of the woods. And then when I thought the story couldn’t possibly get any more heart-melty, I was taken to a hidden code love story in an old library. Just take my heart, book. Both stories/mysteries/writing topics were just perfect.
And then there’s the art.  It’s both juvenile and complex. The kids look like adorable anime characters, yet there’s seriousness to it too. Maybe the seriousness comes from the neutral color palettes. No bright colors here (well, for the most part). And in case there are any reluctant readers out there that need something more to keep their noses buried in the book, there’s these fun doodles, journal cut-outs, newspaper clippings, and lists through out the book –giving the whole thing a definite journal vibe.
All in all, this was amazing. The characters were wonderful (and flawed). The friendship story was great. The mysteries were heart-meltingly good. The unique format kept me even more focused. And the art was beautiful. I give this a 10/10.

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