Review: Page by Paige
Thankfully there are a growing number of graphic novels for young adults about subjects way beyond fantasy, science fiction, and superheroics. A new generation of creators are sharing their visions or lives (or both) with us and everyone benefits. The latest such offering is Page by Paige, produced by scenic painter Laura Lee Gulledge. Paige is a stand-in for Laura, whose family has relocated from Virginia to New York and being the new teen in high school is a rough experience. There’s the awkwardness of coming in during the school year coupled with navigating the courses, the hallways and the cliques. Fortunately for Paige, she is accompanied by her sketchbook and in private, she pours out her fears, anxieties, and hopes. She finally meets someone who is drawn to Paige, noticing the newcomer is reading an issue of Locas. Jules befriends Paige and introduces her to brother Longo and their friend Gabe. Suddenly, Paige has a circle of friends.
As Paige gets to know them, she creeps towards revealing her true self, that of a budding artist. Watching her crawl from her cocoon to become a beautiful red-headed butterfly is a joy. Better yet, once her friends see how true talents, they become her accomplices in beautifying their surroundings through Paige’s art, which literally leaps off the page.
The book is a lovely mix of Paige’s escapades and her sketchbook, providing insight and commentary into the first months of her new life in the big city. There’s absolutely nothing larger than life, but the canvass is a large one. There’s friendship, some romance, studying in the city’s great art museums, relating to one’s parents, and expressing one’s self artistically. Page by page, ahem, we are treated to inventive layouts and designs as we get insightful glimpses into Paige’s conscious mind.
Gulledge is an honest artist, laying out her fears and dreams out for all of us to examine. She’s very naturalistic in her character designs and makes certain every character has a distinctive voice. Paige herself is loudest, of course, and readers will truly enjoy getting to know this character.
The book may have just been released but it has already been nominated for a deserving spot on the Young Adult Library Services Association’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens list. This comes highly recommend to people seeking something fresh and different.