Book of the Month: The War at Ellsmere

The War at Ellsmere

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Along with Raina Telgemeier and Hope Larson, Faith Erin Hicks is part of a new wave of female creators making really awesome comics aimed at younger female readers (vaguely “young adult” but their work tends to cover a range from probably 12-16 or so).

I think Hicks’ Zombies Calling is utterly delightful, but this month, I’m going with The War at Ellsmere (but do pick both of them up). Ellsmere follows Juniper, who has transferred to Ellsmere Academy and immediately makes an enemy of the school’s queen bee, Emily. She find an ally in her roommate, Cassie, who is as quirky and awkward as she is. Throughout, Hicks’ bold, cartoony art — her characters are all big eyes and smirky expressions — creates a wonderful portrait of female adolescence and how there’s really not that much separating the popular girls from the unpopular ones. Maybe you didn’t go to boarding school like the characters here, but you’ll find something to relate to.

This is one of those books that I don’t know why more people aren’t talking about it. It’s a wonderful example of an awesome comic for teenage girls. Or anyone, honestly.

Hicks is someone to watch and I’m overjoyed to see she has two works-in-progress for First Second Books. And if her Wolverine short story isn’t enough to make you love her work entirely, I don’t think I want to talk to you anymore.

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