I have never reviewed a graphic novel before, I’ve read plenty but this would be the first featured on my blog. So I was pleasantly pleased, and even eager, to get a copy of Away Boy when I was presented with the opportunity.
Away Boy is a unique novel as it takes on the task of highlighting multiple touchy subjects. We as readers are presented with a young boy who is struggling through school. It isn’t that he has bad grades but that he faces bullies, isolation, and he’s slowly wading through waters of helplessness as he learns that growing up without his father is more difficult than he imagined. Sheridan’s father isn’t dead; he’s actually serving a deployment overseas. This aspect of the book is my favorite because I have a father in the military who has served overseas on many different occasions so I had a personal connection with Sheridan and the conflicts he faced.
The story itself is very wholesome and family-friendly, its one that parents can read with their children but especially those who are a little more open to faith-based books. In the book Sheridan is given a special gift from the local pastor. Naturally there will be some mention of faith because of this. The spiritual aspect is great, as a Christian I appreciated it and enjoyed seeing such a strong illustration of faith and fiction in a wonderful story.
This book is sweet and the characters are easy to love, the story is one that any person can relate to and the message is clear. I think it’s definitely correct to call this piece a coming-of-age read because of how much growth we get to see from Sheridan. The struggles he goes through are ones that most kids will face—if not something similar.
I think I made it clear that I very much enjoyed the story, Simms is a wonderful author. But the illustration is just as enjoyable. My only complaint is that the illustration seemed empty at times. I don’t mean the actual characters, their facial expressions were realistic and emphasized the different personalities within the book. What I mean by blank is that backdrop was somewhat empty. Given the nature of the story, some of the scenes required very little background so I may be asking for too much.
All in all, this was a great story and the illustration was a perfect match. I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in graphic novels and especially fans of family-friendly material.
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*