I love graphic novels, but it's extremely rare for one to grab me in the same ways that novels often do. I don't know why - maybe because there is less left to the imagination, or maybe because there is often little to no narration or verbal mood setting - but I'm hard pressed to think of a graphic novel that has really stuck with me or hit me in the gut.
But only a few pages into Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge, I was in love... and I haven't stopped thinking about it since.
On the outside, it's a fairly simply YA tale of a girl who moves to the big city and has a hard time finding herself. Of course, along the way, she makes friends and, more or less, discovers her place in the world. Doesn't sound all that exciting. But Gulledge's art allows the reader into Paige's head, filled with all the fears and insecurities of being a teen. The story starts with Paige buying a sketchbook, and the book is at its strongest when dealing less with the plot and more with Paige's emotional sketches.
As someone who makes a fair deal of art, I loved the aesthetics of the book and truly appreciated the call to teens to be creative. I wish I had had such an encouraging book when I was a teen.
Note: You can see more of Gulledge's beautiful art on her blog.