by Hope Larson
I recognized this one immediately when I saw it on the library shelf, having noticed it on a few book blogs. So I picked it up out of sheer curiosity for something more realistic than the other graphic novels I\’ve brought home. Chiggers is about a girl\’s experience at summer camp. Abby is missing her best friend, who as a counselor this year has little time for her, and not sure about the girls who share her cabin. She likes a new girl Shasta who arrives late, but the other girls don\’t like Shasta at all; they think she\’s lying about having an older boyfriend and getting struck by lightening. Abby has to deal with the other girls talking behind her back, the awkwardness of finding who to sit next to at meals, the excitement and insecurity of liking a boy, then finding out he might like her friend instead…
This book had great potential, but didn\’t quite work for me. In the first place, I had some trouble telling the characters apart. The faces are all the same, and the hairstyles not different enough. I was often confused who they were talking about, and felt like pertinent information was frequently left out. The characterization didn\’t quite come through to me, either- I could never figure out why the other girls didn\’t like Abby. She didn\’t seem at all stuck-up to me. The parts where Abby daydreams added a nice fantasy element, but the parts about lightning and electric balls of fire was just kinda weird. I also missed that there was never a real explanation for Shasta\’s illness- was she just making it up? did she have migraines from the lightening strike? I thought at the end she was going to tell Abby about it and there would be a moment of understanding or explanation, but that never happened. It left me feeling annoyed and unsatisfied.
Rating: 2/5 …….. 170 pages, 2008