Monday, September 28, 2015

Book of the Week: Honor Girl

Honor Girl

by Maggie Thrash
Published by Candlewick Press, 2015
267 pages
ISBN: 978-0-7636-7382-6
Age 13 and older

The summer she’s fifteen, Maggie falls for Erin, an older teen and senior counselor at her summer camp. It takes Maggie by surprise—she hasn’t considered her sexuality, or relationships in general—but she senses the attraction is mutual. The times Maggie and Erin see each other become increasingly weighted with possibility but Maggie doesn’t know how to act on her feelings, and she’s worried the other girls will figure them out. For Maggie, the camaraderie and the competitiveness, the boy craziness and hijinks of her fellow campers is something that generally puzzles her. But she finds a supportive friend in Bethany, who is younger, a little less mature, and a lot less self-conscious, not to mention refreshingly open-minded. When Maggie and Erin finally connect it is heady and charged as they hold hands and eventually kiss. Then the camp director finds out. It’s clear she tells Erin to keep her distance, and this distance—physical, emotional, crushing—remains through summer’s end. The main story at camp is framed by opening and closing chapters set two years later, when Maggie and Erin reunite and their four-year age difference proves to be a chasm. Thrash’s understated graphic novel is an emotional masterwork, conveying through myriad small details what it’s like to be young, and falling, and flailing, and feeling so deeply in a memoir that is not without humor but is also aching and bittersweet. ©2015 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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