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Monday, March 5, 2018

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Losing the Girl: Life on Earth Book 1

Mari Naomi 
Graphic Universe 
Pub Date: Jan 1, 2018
ISBN 978-1541510449
280 Pages 
Available Now

Claudia is missing. While they wait to find out what happened (runaway, hiding, alien abduction), her friends from Blithedale High are carrying on with their teenage lives. While they struggle with love, belonging, failure, and complicated family life, these four teenagers constantly wonder why their lives are so confusing. Eisner-nominated MariNaomi has created earnest characters who face the reality of the teenage years. Emily is trying to handle surprising changes in her life, Paula is looking
for a way to fit into her life and find acceptance. Nigel, a cool skater wants to connect with someone who gets his sense of humor. And Brett continues to push people away for fear of letting people know his family’s secrets. While the mystery of the missing classmate looms, and all the characters connect with that story thread, it doesn’t always seem that important to the story. Instead, the weaving of real and complicated teenage issues plague this group of students with tough decisions and complex family issues. This book is only the beginning and it is rich with potential to wrap real-world teenage issues with the arcing mystery of the missing girl.

This graphic novel is unique in its style and rendering. The artistic style is often minimal and experimental, but always advancing the story in creative visual ways. Each character in the story has a different artistic approach – so with each shift in point-of-view, there comes a shift in visual presentation. This is a complex and woven story that is sometimes confusing because of the wild and experimental artistic style. The risks that are taken are commendable, but they often add too much complexity to the already rich woven story. This is a smart and stylized graphic novel focusing on older teenage themes and issues. Intended for a high school readership, may not be the right fit for some middle schoolers. MariNaomi, a nominated Eisner-nominated cartoonist, has started a fascinating teenage mystery filled with twists and turns. This is a great read for graphic novel fans who want something different in their vision of storytelling.