Click by Kayla Miller, 192 pp, RL 4
Click by Kayla Miller
Purchased from Barnes & Noble
It's a good time to be a girl if you read graphic novels and are looking for life lessons told with clarity, compassion and wisdom. I wish I had had roadmaps to friendship like those found in Click, the debut graphic novel from Kayla Miller, and those listed at the end of this review. The story of fifth grader Olive, a friend to everyone who finds herself left out when a variety show inspires kids to pair up for performances shows what it's like to "click" with all kinds of people but not fit into any one clique. Actually, I wish I had Click fifteen years ago when my daughter was in fifth grade and her teacher told me she was concerned that Zoey, friend to all who clicked with everybody, didn't have any one best friend or group. This caused me to worry - as a kid I had always struggled to have a best friend (Shannon Hale's autobiographical Real Friends struck a few chords with me) - was something wrong with mu daughter for not having one? Now that she's and adult, I can tell you that her ability to click with everyone is one of the most amazing things about her and has resulted in great college, travel and work experiences.
Olive feels left out when the acts start pairing up for the variety show, but she knows her mom's offer to call other mom's or even the teacher in charge of running the show are not good solutions. Fortunately for Olive, she has an intuitive, caring adult in the form of her mother's sister, Aunt Molly. Clearly, Olive's mom was the sister who wanted to fit in while Molly was happy to stand out, or at least stand on her own. With a special sleepover that includes watching old variety television shows, think Ed Sullivan, but with a hip (fictional) African American female host, Molly gives Olive the inspiration she needs to stand on her own. Even when she does, finally, get invited to join a group, Olive sticks to her idea to ask to host the variety show.
Miller tells Olive's story perfectly over the course of Click. From her easy flow from friend to friend to the range of emotions she experiences when she realizes she has not been included in a group and her struggles to make sense of this, it is easy to relate to Olive. Miller's use of dreams as a way for Olive to make sense of her feelings and things she is learning is also a great device, as well as humorous. To me, it felt triumphant when Olive discovered a way to be herself, click with everyone and channel those talents into creating her own place in the variety show. And, I especially LOVE LOVE LOVE how Miller makes uses of the title throughout the novel, especially at the end when, about to take the stage, Olive turns on her mic with a "click."
Coming April, 2019!
More excellent graphic novels
for girls about the challenges and rewards friendship, finding yourself and being yourself!
Smile Sisters Guts
The Baby-Sitters Club
Real Friends & coming soon - Best Friends
The Sunny trilogy