I think I’ve said here before that I don’t like graphic novels–I respect them as an art form, I respect those who read them, but no matter how I try, they’re just not for me. Wonderstruck may be an exception to the rule, partly because it’s half a graphic novel and half a regular novel. The illustrated story follows a deaf girl living in New York City in the 1930s, while the written story follows a little boy in Minnesota in the 1970s, and the narrative moves back and forth between the two. Without giving away too much, the joy of the book is watching how these stories parallel each other and move closer and closer together, until they ultimately intertwine. The drawings are fairly simple black and white pencil drawings (I think? I am so artistically-challenged that Draw Something is beyond me, so who knows what someone with art knowledge would call these) but they’re beautiful and very evocative. And a lot of the book is set is New York City and I’ve mentioned how much I like reading about New York.
Brian Selznick also wrote The Invention of Hugo Cabret, which the movie Hugo was based on, and when I was reading Wonderstruck a school librarian stopped to rave about how good it was, and how good the Hugo book was, and I how I should see the Hugo movie, etc. I feel like school librarians see lots of books, so I should listen when they say something is worth my time.
I should say here that Wonderstruck is more of a middle reader than a young adult book–it’s aimed at pretty young kids. So although the book looks giant and long, it took me less than two hours to read, so don’t go expecting something at The Hunger Games level. It’s not that complex, which is probably why I don’t have too much to say about it, but it was cute and charming and it served a a nice break from some of the heavier, Nazi-filled things I’ve been reading lately.