My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publication Date: January 31st, 2016
Point of View: /
Recommended Age: 10+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Historical Fiction, Steampunk
Blue is an orphan who disguises herself as a newsboy. There’s a war going on, and girls are expected to help the struggling economy by selling cookies. But Blue loves living and working at the Bugle, the only paper in town that tells the truth. And what’s printed in the newspapers now matters more than ever.
But Blue struggles with her secret, and worries that if her friends and adopted family at the Bugle find out that she’s a girl, she’ll lose everything and everyone she cares about. And when she meets and befriends Crow, a boy who is also not what he seems, together they seek the freedom to be their true selves… and to save each other.
I quite like Ru Xu’s art, especially the colours she uses. She fills the layout of the graphic novel – every panel has beautiful detail – which is not something every graphic novel artist does. Some don’t take the time to draw a background, but Ru Xu does.
So this story is definitely pleasing to the eyes. It makes reading it not dull, tedious or repetitive. Wonderful vibrant colours.
Therefore, the art is not at all a problem. Even the story isn’t awful. I mean, it’s been done before, what with this war happening somewhere we can’t see and young men going off to fight. It’s a historical, steampunk work, with elements that are predictable.
Blue, the newsboy, who is actually a girl, is very charming. She looks more like a boy than a girl, so it’s not hard for her to pass as a boy, but she feels as if she is hiding an important part of her; she just wants to say it for everyone to hear that’s she’s a newsgirl. This dilemma brings a salient theme to the graphic novel – identity.
Feminism is also a rather present theme. But about the other characters, they’re not actually original. They’re nice, in the sense that they all have a different, quirky personality, and together they make a great team, but they’re obviously recycled from other pieces of work.
This is the kind of graphic novel that would make for a good read for people who are new to graphic novels.
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