October 24, 2012 by shepla
The Amelia Rules! graphic novel series by Jimmy Gownley was recommended to me by my tween son, and he didn’t steer me wrong. As far as I’m concerned, it’s pretty much a masterpiece of tween literature, and I recommend it to anyone–male, female, tween, even adult, because frankly, I enjoyed these books as much as any other books I’ve read recently.The fact that the series features a spunky female character makes it perfect for tween girls. While main character Amelia suffers a crush on pal Reggie–and a rivalry with Rhonda, who also has crush on Reggie–she’s not reduced to a lovesick pile of angst; in fact Reggie irritates her as much as attracts her. Amelia experiences emotions, misadventures, and realizations that make her seem much more three-dimensional than the typical comic-book character. She has complicated friendships, missing friends she left behind when she moved from New York, and forging new relationships with the kids in her new neighborhood in Pennsylvania, where she’s moved with her mom to live with her aunt. She also has to navigate a long-distance relationship with her father.
The stories are handled with grace as well as humor, and in contrast to classic comics like Peanuts or Calvin and Hobbes, Amelia grows and changes over the series, starting as a feisty 9-year-old, and ending up as a maturing 11-year-old in the final book. Though Comics Buyer’s Guide called the series “a Peanuts for the 21st century,” it actually reminds me more of Beverly Cleary’s Ramona or Katy Kelly’s Lucy Rose books–but Gownley’s creative presentation adds an extra dimension of awesome.
Oh, and I’ve mentioned elsewhere in this blog that I don’t like superheroes, but I make an exception for G.A.S.P. (Gathering of Awesome Super Pals), a crime-fighting team led by the mighty Captain Amazing (aka Reggie) that Amelia and her friends belong to. Instead of boring drawn-out action scenes, the superhero passages in Amelia are about childhood fantasy, rivalries, and friendship.Greetings from Gracieland and a book about making books), as far as I know he hasn’t said definitively that the series is over for good. In the meantime, I implore you to check it out. And let me know what you think!