SUNNY SIDE UP by Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm

From the groundbreaking and award-winning sister-brother team behind Babymouse comes a middle-grade, semi-autobiographical graphic novel. Following the lives of kids whose older brother’s delinquent behavior has thrown their family into chaos, Sunny Side Up is at once a compelling “problem” story and a love letter to the comic books that help the protagonist make sense of her world.

sunny

Thanks Scholastic for sending an advanced reading copy of this serious yet funny middle-grade graphic novel.  The book definitely has the look and feel of Raina Telgemeier, and she is actually quoted on the front cover, “Heartbreaking and hopeful, SUNNY SIDE UP is just the thing to chase away the clouds.” I agree, Raina!

Ten-year-old, Sunshine (Sunny), is sent to spend the summer with her Gramps in a retirement complex in Florida. Through flashbacks, readers learn the reason for her visit. Sunny’s brother, Dale is struggling with substance abuse and had accidently punched Sunny when she tried to intervene. Rather than keeping secrets, Sunny realizes it’s better to discuss her feelings, and is able to do that with her Gramps.  It’s a good lesson to learn and I think it was done appropriately for the target age group.

While there are serious moments, there are plenty of funny bits with her Gramps and her new friend, Buzz. I laughed when “the girls” are introduced, and gift her with the Barbie toiler roll holder.  I also enjoyed that Sunny and Buzz bond over a shared love of comic books.  Full page spreads of popular comic heroes are featured; in fact, my favourite illustration is on page 176, of Sunny imagining her brother Dale turning into the Hulk!

Pick up this quick read on August 25, 2015.

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