Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Review of Americus by MK Reed and Jonathon Hill

Title: Americus
Author(s): MK Reed and Jonathon Hill
Format: Paperback
Release Date: August 30th, 2011
Publisher: First Second
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Pages In This Edition: 216

On the Cover:

Beyond the Cover:

Summary taken from Goodreads:

"Neal Barton just wants to read in peace. Unluckily for him, some local Christian activitsts are trying to get his favorite fantasy series banned from the Americus public library on grounds of immoral content and heresy. Something has to be done, and it looks like quiet, shy Neal is going to have to do it. With youth services librarian Charlotte Murphy at his back, Neal finds himself leading the charge to defend the mega-bestselling fantasy series that makes his life worth living."

I've really been getting into graphic novels lately because they display ideas in a way that print books just can't; they give the reader images to follow along with and explore without the reader themselves having to create the images. They're fun and quick, and I really like the genre as a whole so far.

Americus is definitely one of the best graphic novels I've read. It deals with an issue that sadly has been making the news quite frequently: the banning of books in public libraries. Neal is faced with a conundrum when his best friend's mom decides that his favorite books series is preaching witchcraft to kids.
The fact that people want to ban any book at all from the hands of someone who connects to it horrifies me. That was probably one of the major reasons this book interested me; it got into the brains of both sides of the argument. It even managed to do this in a way that I wasn't personally offended or turned-off by, which can be hard to do as a book with this subject manner.

The plot mainly centers around the fight to save the books, but it's also as much of a coming-of-age story as it is a book about an important political/social issue. Even though I'll never know what it's like to be a 14 year-old boy, I did know what it was like to be a 14 year-old girl, and Reed captures the awkward development of coming into high school age perfectly. This of course made me love Neal as a character, and I was rooting for him the whole time.

The artwork was probably the only thing that I wasn't totally excited about. It was fine, and often times very expressive, but personally I did prefer the style that much. Not to say someone else wouldn't. Personally, they just weren't my favorite. But the story was so great, that it didn't really bother me that much.

Of course the important take-away and moral message anybody would get from this book is that fact that nobody knows what a book can mean to person. Books can and do change people's lives every day, and nobody has the right to take that away from someone. A parent can "ban" a book in their own homes, but to expect everyone around them to follow their definition of what's wrong and what's right is something I don't think I'll ever understand. 

Overall, I thought Americus by MK Reed and Jonathon Hill was a great graphic novel with an important message, and I would recommend it to anybody who likes a good coming of age story that happens to feature an awesome sub plot that includes a witch that may or may not be half dragon...(I didn't mention that earlier huh?) 


What do you think about books being banned in public libraries?


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Hi my name is Alexis and I'm so excited to be heading to Oregon State University in the fall. I will be majoring in English and hope to become an editor or technical writer in my future.

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With Beyond the Cover, I want to help people interested in YA with a resource to refer to. This blog will be composed of reviews as well as other book related subjects.

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