Garden State meets Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist in this funny and poignant illustrated novel about opposites who fall in love.
About the Author
Stephen Emond is the creator of Emo Boy, which ran for twelve issues and two collections with Slave Labor Graphics. He also won a national contest for his comic strip series Steverino, which ran for several years in his local Connecticut newspaper. His first novel, Happyface, was published in March 2010. You can find him at www.stephenemond.com.
- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (December 5, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0316133329
- ISBN-13: 978-0316133326
Evan has lost his best friend, Lucy, in more ways than one when she moves away from New England to Georgia to live with her mother after her parents divorce. They still see each other once a year during Christmas vacation when she comes back to stay with her father, but in the last year or so, Evan has noticed Lucy has begun to change. She isn’t the “Old Lucy” anymore and he finds her difficult to connect with as well as some other physical changes. Evan has always been the perfect son, striving in school and extra curricular activities so he can get into an Ivy League school for college. The story mostly covers a two week period over their latest holiday break and is told through a combination of cartoon strips, drawings and words. Both Evan and Lucy are gifted artists, but while Evan has tried to downplay his, Lucy has stopped caring about everything in her life.
Without being judgmental, Emond depicts a fact of life for most teens these days; that their parents are divorced, they must shuttle from one household to another and at times, their parents don’t even notice them. Evan sees what is happening to Lucy, but is clueless as to how to help her. She is in such a dark place because neither of her parents take them time to make sure she is ok. This pretty much broke my heart. Evan tries everything to get her back to the “Old Lucy” but he only sees glimpses of the happy girl he used to know. He also has his own issues at home, with a father who only wants him to get into a good university and not whether he is happy in his life or not.
Overall, this is a very classic look about how childhood friends try to stay close while growing apart and the sad fact of life that not everyone has the perfect family unit and most are quite dysfunctional. The illustrations go a long way in providing the feel for this book and provide some much need humor to a story that could be extremely sad. Lucy and Evan do end up losing touch with each other by the end of the book and I only hope that they reconnect in better circumstances. There are mentions of alcohol, alcohol abuse and sex, but not in any graphic form.
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