Saturday, January 8, 2011

White, Tracy. How I Made It to Eighteen

White, Tracy How I Made It to Eighteen
Roaring Brook Press see macmillan children's pub 2010 151p 16.99
978-1-59643-454-7 ms/hs Graphic novel E-BN
In graphic novel format, the author recounts her admission and stay at a mental health facility. Excellent graphics extend the narrative showing viewpoints from friends, family, fellow residents, and doctors. Unsettling yet hopeful. Outstanding! For grades 7-12.
Tracy White recounts her admission and stay at a mental health hospital. Stacy became a party girl using pills to self-medicate while at boarding school and knows she will surely die if she continues her current path. Told in a timeline format, readers meet “Stacy” as a 17 year old boarding school student through the voices of four friends: two longtime friends, a boarding school roommate and a fellow resident of the treatment center. Each friend has her own problems. The pages are divided into distinct “comic frames” however the dialogue bubbles and even the graphics in the frames often extend into another pane. Memories are related in frames that have a gray background and thoughts float at the top of a frame. Excellent graphics, uncluttered in black and white, add intensity to the narrative. The reader slowly comes to realize the trauma Stacy experienced as White reveals the death of her father, her distant mother, an inappropriate encounter with an apartment employee and her own choice of friends. Never quiet truthful, Stacy finally reveals her bulimia. The reader experiences Stacy’s turmoil firsthand as well as receiving information from patient charts, therapy session discussions, and interviews with her four friends. The reader will long remember Stacy and her struggle to become a “happy” person. Strongly recommended for grades 7+ Strongly recommended for grades 7-12. Students struggling with depression and self-abusive actions will recognize themselves in Stacy. Students who know someone who is depressed will gain insight into their friend’s behaviors and state of mind. McNicol,Lois

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