Book By Book
I had a long dry period with no graphic novels because I got behind this year while I was feeling so poorly. But in early fall, I responded to some of the publishers’ latest catalogs and requested a stack of graphic novels. I’m so glad to have them back in my life! I started with a middle-grade graphic novel, Trespassers by Breena Bard, a mystery and realistic novel. I loved it!
Gabby is headed up north with her parents and older sister, Morgan, and younger brother, Simon, for their annual summer vacation. Every year, they go to the same cabin on a lake in Wisconsin (where her mom went as a child), complete with a back deck overlooking the water, canoes and kayaks, a hammock, and a pontoon boat–classic summer fun! One thing is different, though, this year: a new family is in the cabin next door. They are from Chicago, and they have two kids, Paige and Bryan, who are close in age to Gabby and Simon. Gabby prefers to spend all her spare time reading–especially mysteries–but her parents want her to reach out to Paige. Paige is kind of morose, very sarcastic, and definitely doesn’t want to be there, but the four kids start hanging out together. There’s a giant, beautiful house up on a hill with the entire side facing the lake in glass, and when Gabby asks her mom about it, she says that the wealthy couple from Chicago who lived there disappeared one summer when she was a little girl. The house has been empty ever since. It’s a mystery what happened to them, and Gabby loves a mystery! She starts writing a fictional story based on what her mom told her, filling in what might have happened to the missing couple. Paige and Bryan are interested in the house, too, with its big gate and wealthy look, and they convince Gabby and Simon to climb the fence and poke around. Paige even helps Gabby with her story. Sneaking around and trespassing make Gabby feel uncomfortable, but Paige is very convincing and she does want to know what really happened.
|Sample page from Trespassers, as the family drives to their lake cabin|
|Sample page from Treespassers, of the gorgeous lakefront
This is such a fun book! I absolutely loved the setting and the beautifully drawn pictures of the classic lake house and the activities the family enjoys while there–it all felt very real and made me want to go there myself. There are two stories here: the mystery of the wealthy couple’s disappearance and the on-again, off-again new friendship between Gabby and Paige, who are very different from each other. The girls do enjoy working together to solve the mystery and come up with some pretty wild theories about what happened, looking for clues at the old house on the hill. This reminded me of when I was a kid and played Nancy Drew or Trixie Belden with my best friend, Robyn. We would have loved a real-life mystery to solve–there weren’t many mysteries in our quiet suburban neighborhood! The combination of intriguing story and brightly-colored, realistic drawings made this graphic novel a winner for me! I’m sure that middle-graders will love it, too.
250 pages, Graphix (Scholastic imprint)
Listen to a sample of the audiobook here and/or download it from Audible. I always thought listening to an audio of a graphic novel would kind of defeat the whole purpose of the book, BUT this one sounds pretty good, with a large cast of voice actors for each character.
You can purchase Trespassers from an independent bookstore, either locally or online, here:
You can also buy through indie bookstores using Bookshop.
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