Monday, 9 July 2012
Review: Winter Town
Writer and Illustrator: Stephen Emond
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: December 5th, 2011
Genre: YA, Realistic Fiction
Evan and Lucy were childhood best friends, but after Lucy’s parents divorced when they were twelve she moved from New England to Georgia with her mom. Every winter break Lucy returns to visit her dad, although she spends most of her time with Evan. The winter of senior year, Lucy is distinctively different. It’s not just her dark hair and makeup and the new nose ring; it’s also how she’s reclusive and seems far away. There is definitely something Lucy’s not telling Evan, but the Old Lucy is still hidden behind the new exterior. Together, Lucy and Evan start working on a comic together, based on their childhood adventures. Even though they started out in the same place, Lucy and Evan couldn’t be further apart, and not just geographically. While Evan works hard and claims to want the life that has been laid out for him, Lucy feels like she’s cut off certain roads. He’s a Beatles fan, she loves the Beach Boys. He’s cautious and does what he’s supposed to, she takes risks. Together, Evan and Lucy remind each other of who they used to be.
Winter Town’s beautiful cover caught my eye, and the fact that it has comics and illustrations throughout the novel made me want to read it. This book is pretty interesting, told from Evan’s perspective for the first half of the novel and Lucy’s for the remainder. Illustrations of places, items and characters appear, as well as the comics that Lucy and Evan make together. These illustrations don’t have quite as substantial a role in the storytelling as The Invention of Hugo Cabret, but they add a lot to the story. The plot is fairly simple, but I enjoyed hearing stories about Evan and Lucy growing up and seeing their everyday adventures. The writing was essentially well done, but for some reason I felt like something was missing. Maybe the style was too detached? The characters felt very realistic; I swear I’ve known so many people who were exactly like Evan and were living for someone else. I loved Tim, Marshall and Gram. At first Evan annoyed me a bit, but eventually I was able to connect with him. For me, his art helped me appreciate him as a character and understand him more. Lucy is the messed up teenage girl we probably all have met at one time or another, and even when I didn’t like the things she was doing I loved her character. Partly due to the illustrations, the setting was vivid and memorable. I think the writer perfectly captured being in your last year of high school and having to make choices about who you are and what you want. Winter Town captures beginnings and ends in winter in a creative way that makes this book unlike anything else.
“It’s different now, Evan and Lucy both thought.”