I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Honor Girl: A Graphic Memoir by Maggie Thrash
Published by Candlewick Press on September 8th 2015
Genres: Graphic Novel
All-girl camp. First love. First heartbreak. At once romantic and devastating, brutally honest and full of humor, this graphic-novel memoir is a debut of the rarest sort.
Maggie Thrash has spent basically every summer of her fifteen-year-old life at the one-hundred-year-old Camp Bellflower for Girls, set deep in the heart of Appalachia. She’s from Atlanta, she’s never kissed a guy, she’s into Backstreet Boys in a really deep way, and her long summer days are full of a pleasant, peaceful nothing . . . until one confounding moment. A split-second of innocent physical contact pulls Maggie into a gut-twisting love for an older, wiser, and most surprising of all (at least to Maggie), female counselor named Erin. But Camp Bellflower is an impossible place for a girl to fall in love with another girl, and Maggie’s savant-like proficiency at the camp’s rifle range is the only thing keeping her heart from exploding. When it seems as if Erin maybe feels the same way about Maggie, it’s too much for both Maggie and Camp Bellflower to handle, let alone to understand.
I do not think I could ever be as brave as Maggie Thrash, who has literally laid bare her soul in this graphic novel. A glimpse into first loves, coming to terms with possibly being gay, and the change a child into adolescence, Honor Girl really packs a lot into a well crafted graphic novel. It’s seems Maggie is about my age because I obsessed over Backstreet Boys, while trying not to seem too into them at the same time. I went away to camp a couple of times, not an all-girls camp but I have found memories all the same.
I love that the artwork is a bit rough, not perfect but tells the story beautifully. I really felt like I was there with Maggie, or that I was her at camp. The way the pages were designed lent themselves to the story. The way the book was drawn felt more real. The story itself was so vivid. I felt sucked right into Maggie’s head as a teenager just beginning to lose her innocence. All the characters were so well layered and full of life that I felt like they were people I knew.
There are a lot of tough topics in this book, first love, losing innocence, lesbian tendencies, and different types of relationships. I loved that even the ‘mean’ girl was multi-faceted. She drew out a part of Maggie that no one else could and really had her own reasons behind what she did. I loved seeing how all the friendships evolved and changed over a short period of time. The jokes within the book broke up the serious nature that loomed in the background. I thoroughly felt engrossed in this book until the very end. I was sad to see it end the way it did, but that’s the honest truth sometimes. Not everything ends up happily ever after.
A very honest graphic memoir that reveals a lot about growing up and falling in love for the first time.