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Will & Whit
     

Will & Whit

3.0 4
by Laura Lee Gulledge
 

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  Wilhelmina “Will” Huxstep is a creative soul struggling to come to terms with a family tragedy. She crafts whimsical lamps, in part to deal with her fear of the dark. As she wraps up another summer in her mountain town, she longs for unplugged adventures with her fellow creative friends, Autumn, Noel, and Reese. Little does she know that she

Overview


  Wilhelmina “Will” Huxstep is a creative soul struggling to come to terms with a family tragedy. She crafts whimsical lamps, in part to deal with her fear of the dark. As she wraps up another summer in her mountain town, she longs for unplugged adventures with her fellow creative friends, Autumn, Noel, and Reese. Little does she know that she will get her wish in the form of an arts carnival and a blackout, courtesy of a hurricane named Whitney, which forces Will to face her fear of darkness.
Laura Lee Gulledge’s signature visual metaphors will be on full display in this all-new graphic novel, a moving look at shedding light on the dark corners of life.

Praise for Will & Whit
STARRED REVIEW
"This sophomore offering shines as bright as the lamps Will surrounds herself with... Quirky, clever and insightful."
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Gulledge creates engaging characters (especially Reese, Noel’s precocious younger sister), and draws them with believable expressiveness… Gulledge’s values are wholesome, and her energy is up-to-the minute fresh."
Publishers Weekly

"The most striking feature about Gulledge’s second graphic novel is the organic nature of the layouts. Action and dialogue flow smoothly from panel to panel, barely acknowledging their confines. Thick, sumptuous lines separate characters from richly detailed backgrounds, and this is all done in black and white. Gulledge populates her story with unique and likable characters who relate easily and naturally to one another."
School Library Journal

"Across the reaches of YA-targeted media, it’s rare to find a work with such a relentlessly upbeat tone and sense of uncompromising positivity as those found in this graphic novel."
Booklist

"The shape and pacing of panels expertly capture the narrative’s tone; occasionally the panels disappear altogether, giving the images a dreamy feel. Eloquent pointillist shadows reveal Will’s emotions—especially her fears and insecurities—and her expansive imagination."
HornBook

"Rendered in black and white panels, this graphic novel provides a surprisingly light-hearted story with a strong emotional core. Detailed backgrounds draw the reader into the scene, while the mixture of group shots and individual faces guides the narrative through social and introspective moments."
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Willhemena learns to deal with the shadows from her past and take a big step toward adulthood. This is a satisfying coming-of-age story with a good plot and strong images."
Library Media Connection

Award
YALSA's Great Graphic Novels for Teens List 2014 (Top Ten Title)
Texas Library Association Maverick Graphic Novel 2014 list
Kirkus Best Book of 2013

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
There are three things to know about 16-year-old Willhemena Huckstep: she always describes people by saying there are three things you should know about them, she’s smart and funny, and something has made her afraid of the dark. Fortunately, some quirky friends—Autumn, who makes puppets, and Noel, who’s secretly in love with Autumn—and the diversions of tropical storm Whitney and a community art event offer Will the support she needs. Gulledge (Page by Paige) creates engaging characters (especially Reese, Noel’s precocious younger sister), and draws them with believable expressiveness. The shadows that haunt Will are visible to readers and drop plenty of hints about her story, like the gray image of a destroyed car that appears as the shadow of an ordinary one as Will cycles by. Trauma and creativity, strength in community, and truth-telling are all thoughtfully examined, and the jokes are good, too: “This cookie’s ruined!” Autumn announces to Noel. “Someone licked it,” she says, licking it. “How tragic!” Gulledge’s values are wholesome, and her energy is up-to-the-minute fresh. Ages 12–up. Agent: Daniel Lazar, Writers House. (May)¦
Children's Literature - Heather Christensen
For sixteen-year-old Wilhemina "Will" Huckstep, the dark is full of shadows and terrifying reminders of her past. Using treasures she finds in her aunt's antique shop, she makes lamps to keep the dark at bay. But when hurricane Whitney knocks out the power to the whole town, Will—with the help of some creative friends and a hometown arts carnival—confronts her fear of the dark. Gulledge's black and white panels play with light and dark before, during, and after the big storm. Eerie, shadowy figures provide clues about Will's history, but become less threatening once Will addresses them. The black and white panels nicely capture the interplay between light, dark, and shadow. Snappy dialogue keeps the story lighthearted and just slightly quirky. Will's friends are supportive, but far from perfect—struggling with their own fears and problems. The storm and ensuing loss of electricity creates different dilemmas for each of them. The spotlight shines on Will, though, whose resilient and natural voice will quickly endear her to teen readers. Her use of art as a creative outlet to face her fears sheds light on her own inner strength. A little bit of romance, nicely woven into the story, caps this sweet graphic novel. Reviewer: Heather Christensen
VOYA - Amber Brown
This graphic novel is about a girl named Wilhelmina trying to adjust to her life, and a storm named Whitney that gets into everyone's way. This book was not bad, but also not the best. The pictures were necessary to explain some of what was said, but it might have been more interesting with fewer pictures and more written detail. 3Q, 3P. Reviewer: Amber Brown, Teen Reviewer
VOYA - Marla Unruh
Will is seventeen, but she likes old things so much that she makes lamps out of objects from yesteryear. Lamps chase the shadows away, and Will says this is the story of how she escaped her shadow. Wordless panels suggest that there had been a car wreck. On the bright side, Will and her friends, Autumn, Noel, and Reese, are good-natured teens who like to raft the river on air mattresses, put on puppet shows, or cook for each other. After three teenagers on a scavenger hunt persuade Will and Autumn to perform in their arts carnival, Will is the one who saves the show from Hurricane Whitney's blackout. Since she can no longer sculpt with light, she sculpts with shadow, and in the dark she realizes she might as well face her fears. Gulledge's black-and-white illustrations wonderfully convey her theme of light banishing darkness. Her touches of light illuminate Will and her friends, yet fearsome shadows plague Will—under the basement steps, peeking around doors, or following in her footsteps. It is when Will finds the courage to create a shadow show for the arts carnival that she also reaches her breaking point, and her healing is symbolically shown in black-on-white silhouette. Woven seamlessly together, story and art portray a girl's journey from dark to light in a graphic novel many young people will enjoy. Reviewer: Marla Unruh
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Sixteen-year-old Will is afraid of the dark, so she creates light. More specifically, she creates things that emit light: lamps. Since her parents died in a car accident about a year earlier, she's busied herself with her craft in addition to helping her aunt with the family business, Foxxden Antiques. When a storm comes to town (the titular Whit) and causes a blackout, Will is forced to deal with her greatest fear without the benefit of her most important coping mechanism. How she chooses to do so enables her to redefine herself with courage and hope in the light of her tragic loss. The most striking feature about Gulledge's second graphic novel is the organic nature of the layouts. Action and dialogue flow smoothly from panel to panel, barely acknowledging their confines. Thick, sumptuous lines separate characters from richly detailed backgrounds, and this is all done in black and white. Gulledge populates her story with unique and likable characters who relate easily and naturally to one another. Will and Whit is a big step up from Page by Paige (Abrams, 2011), showing a little more narrative range and, perhaps, a taste of things to come.—J. M. Poole, Webster Public Library, NY
Kirkus Reviews
After the untimely death of her parents, an artistic girl living with her aunt must face her fears. Willhemena Huckstep--Will for short--is planning on spending a perfectly quiet summer working at her aunt's antiques shop, making lamps and spending time with her friends. Two fateful events quickly steer her plans off course: a chance meeting with a group of teens who are putting together an eclectic carnival and a savage summer storm named Whitney that will plunge her town into a prolonged blackout in its wake. Offbeat Will is scared of the dark (her lamp-making skills came from her grandfather, who taught her how to make her first night light). In confronting the darkness, both literal and figurative, though, Will finds herself stronger and happier than she could have imagined. Peppered with pop-culture references from Doctor Who to The Hunger Games and supported by Gulledge's stylish black-and-white illustrations, this sophomore offering shines as bright as the lamps Will surrounds herself with. Will is an intensely likable character, as are her funky group of friends. With its emphasis on a world wonderfully unplugged, maybe this will jar some readers' memories about how excellent and exciting a life without Facebook and Twitter can be. Quirky, clever and insightful; a must-read for fans of Raina Telgemeier. (Graphic fiction. 12 & up)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781419705465
Publisher:
Amulet Books
Publication date:
05/07/2013
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
607,073
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
13 - 12 Years

Meet the Author


Laura Lee Gulledge is the author of Page by Paige, which was nominated for the prestigious Eisner Award. She has worked in art education, scenic painting, textile design, and event production, among other pursuits. Visit her online at whoislauralee.com, where she regularly posts new and in-progress art.

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Will & Whit 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Ashley_Belletristic_Books More than 1 year ago
This review was originally posted on my blog Belletristic Books. I’ve been attempting to read a lot more graphic novels recently. I found Laura Lee Gulledge’s debut, Page by Paige, while I was looking through the graphic novels section of my local library. I thought that the art in it was really quite lovely and the story of Paige coming out of her shell was quite inspiring! Because of how much I enjoyed it, I decided to read Gulledge’s second book, Will & Whit. The artwork in it is done in black-and-white and I believe it was a really good medium considering that the main character, Will, is afraid of the dark. The author does a great job at showing how Will’s shadow follows her around and that she can’t seem to overcome her fears. There are a few allusions to a family disaster that has lead Will to have her Aunt Ella as her only family member. It’s not completely tragic though! Will has wonderful friends – they’re an artsy and dynamic bunch of characters who all seem to have really cool talents. Will has a knack for putting together fancy lamps, her friend Autumn makes puppets, and her friend Noel is an aspiring chef. Will just wants to have a relaxing summer but a couple of events manage to actually liven up her life and push her closer to getting over her frights. One day while Will’s working in the family antiques store, a couple of characters come in who introduce her to an upcoming summer arts carnival while they’re looking for props for it. After telling her friends about it, Will and the gang head to check it out and get involved in preparing for it. As the summer goes on, there’s a lot of talk about an upcoming storm that people are getting nervous about. Will’s friends and her aunt are a bit worried since the storm could leave them in a blackout for a while. Both the carnival and the hurricane are good plot devices that help propel Will forward to start creating more art instead of just lamps as well as to get her comfortable enough to discuss the family accident that occurred. My absolute favorite part of this book were all the nerdy references made! Will says a quote from Doctor Who and there are various other pop culture mentions. I quite enjoyed how Gulledge is able to convey so much about each character through the minimal dialogue and well-drawn graphics. Even though I liked this story, I didn’t feel super attached to it. Because of this, I’m giving it a 3 of 5 stars. But if you’re interested in reading some fun yet moving graphic novels, I’d recommend both Will & Whit and Page by Paige!
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