Will & Whit

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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 ...
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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

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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)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781419705465
  • Publisher: Amulet Books
  • Publication date: 5/7/2013
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 176,646
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

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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Customer Reviews

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