Will & Whit
Author and Illustrator: Laura Lee Gulledge
Published May 17th, 2013 by Abrams
Goodreads Summary: 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.
My Review: This book was NOT what I thought it was going to be! I had read Gulledge’s last graphic novel, Page by Paige, so I knew that it was going to be unique, but if you look at the cover you assume Will & Whit are the main characters and there is going to be some sort of romance. That is so off track of what the book is actually about. Will is actually Wilhelmina, our main character, who is dealing with some darkness in her life and fights it by making lamps (some of them are really beautiful and I wish I could buy them). Whit, on the other hand, is not her love interest. Whit is Hurricane Whitney who hits Will’s town and causes Will to really face some of the darkness. So, where does the romance come in? There is a little bit, but you will be so surprised as to what the cover means! I was.
There are also a wonderful set of supporting characters who make the book even more special. I also love the inclusion of art (visual and performing) and antiques within the novel.
Teacher’s Tools for Navigation: The themes in this graphic novel are definitely worth talking about in the classroom. I also loved the nuances throughout that Gulledge uses to set the mood (the novel’s mood and Will’s mood). Gulledge is a skilled artist and Will’s darkness holding her back is so beautifully put into the story (like the summary says–visual metaphors).
Discussion Questions: How does Gulledge use images throughout the novel to show Will’s emotional state?; How does Whit help Will overcome her darkness?
Read This If You Loved: Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge, Friends with Boy by Faith Erin Hicks, Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol, Smile by Raina Telgemeier