Author: Bryan Lee O'Malley
Genre: Young Adult Graphic Novel
Published: December 22nd, 2003
Synopsis: Raleigh doesn't have a soul. A cat stole it -- or at least that's what she tells people -- or at least that's what she would tell people if she told people anything. But that would mean talking to people, and the mere thought of social interaction is terrifying. How did such a shy teenage girl end up in a car with three of her hooligan classmates on a cross-country road trip? Being forced to interact with kids her own age is a new and alarming proposition for Raleigh, but maybe it's just what she needs -- or maybe it can help her find what she needs -- or maybe it can help her to realize that what she needs has been with her all along.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
“Out here where the world begins and ends, it’s like nothing ever stops happening.”
This graphic novel was so pretty. I love Bryan Lee O'Malley's art style. I mean, look at the cover. Even though my copy of the book itself was black and white, O'Malley's aesthetic really does it for me.
Now, it's not fair to review this book before I tell you how I bought it. I originally went to the bookstore to buy Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life, a different graphic novel by the same author. When I found this was the only O'Malley book available, I decided it would tide me over well until I could get the book I actually wanted. Really I just needed a graphic novel fix. So going into this book I wanted it to be good, but it was a completely different vibe than the book I actually wanted.
I've read some reviews of this books that say it's pure teen angst in graphic novel form. This is 100% true. The whole book is mostly the main character, Raleigh, thinking sadly to herself while some of her new friends pull her along for a roadtrip through that part of America where nothing really happens. Some people love the book for it, some people hate it. I, quite honestly, did neither.
I rated the book 3 stars because I did enjoy it. It's an easy read, as most graphic novels are, I liked the art style, and I did want to know what would happen with the characters. Yet, the reason I didn't love it was because I felt it broke the cardinal sin of stories: it was often boring. As a young girl, I felt like if I wanted to experience a young girl being introspective I could just go off in a corner and think about my future. The novel is short, but even so so little happens. It focuses on a romance that is already over, and we only get to meet one of the participants. The characters are on a roadtrip, but we spend most of our time staring sadly out a car window.
I can see how this would hit a string with some people, but it fell a little flat for me. There is a very special type of person you must be to appreciate this book: you must be at the crossroads of your life, with only failed relationships and not-yet-fully-developed friendships. Even if I'm young and unsure, I'm not Raliegh. If I was more like her, I'm sure I would have loved this book.
Also, for some reason I was expecting some sort of supernatural plotline. Probably from the part of the synopsis about cats stealing souls. Let me tell you, there are no magical cats.