Giant Days Volume 1, created & written by John Allison, illustrated by Lissa Treiman, colors by Whitney Cogar and letters by Jim Campbell, RL: TEEN
Several months back I started an Instagram account (@books4yourkids) with the intentions of sharing my book reviews there. It turned out to be very time consuming and it has morphed into posts about what I want to read, what I'm deciding between and fun stuff from my school library. Being a very visual person, I have found a few feeds with really stunning pictures of books as well as books and illustrators new to me. I discovered Giant Days by John Allison and Lissa Treiman at Laci Long's feed, @bookpairings, where she listed a character from the series as her fictional crush of 2016. I was feeling a bit tired of kid's books but not wanting to dip a toe into the serious world of adults, and Giant Days hit the spot, precisely. In fact, the moment I finished reading Volume 1, I bought Volumes 2 & 3.
When the graphic novel begins, we meet Daisy Wooton, Esther deGroot and Susan Ptolemy, three weeks into their freshman year at university in England. All different - Daisy was homeschooled and is innocent and naive, Esther is edgy and a bit mysterious and Susan is practical, if often disgruntled - but the immediate acceptance and strong bond that is created amongst strangers at college is evident and instantly believable.
Of course this graphic novel series is going to be about relationships, romantic and platonic, and relationships that start (and end) at university are always interesting. In Volume 1, the person Susan hates most in the world shows up on campus, the girls get the flu, Esther finds herself on a college "lad" website where she ranks third hottest first year and Daisy turns eighteen, making her legal for all things in the UK.
One thing that John Allison does amazingly, especially well, is create a rich, compelling story populated with characters you want to know more about in a quick, short time. Of course, he has Lissa Treiman's superb illustrations bringing the characters to life and moving the story forward. Sure, in this first volume (which is comprised of issues 1 - 4) the cast of characters are more types, promising to evolve, but it's a shorthand that draws you in and keeps you reading and wanting more. Of all the characters, McGraw (the fictional crush of 2016) is the most curious and unexpected. With his mustache and love for (reverence for?) women as well as his unflappability in the face of Susan's rants, he is intriguing...
With Volume 2 of Giant Days, Welsh illustrator Max Sarin takes over from Lissa Treiman and I can't wait to see the changes!
Giant Days, Issues 1 - 21
Don't miss this special one-shot holiday issue for 2016 which poses the question:
What if Susan, Esther, and Daisy hadn’t become friends on their first day of university?? The world as we know it would be completely different! Or at least...moderately different! It’s the darkest timeline for our favorite students. Daisy is an Enya-blasting hermit, Susan violently dislikes her, and Esther falls in with the awful League of Former Head Girls. Original artist Lissa Treiman returns for this oversized special with 40 pages of story and art!