I really enjoyed Brenna Thummler's first original graphic novel, Sheets, a middle grade/early young adult story about a lonely girl trying to keep her family's failing laundry business alive and the ghost boy who helps her. She illustrated the recently published graphic novel adaptation of Anne of Green Gables and I absolutely adored the art work, so I was excited to check out her original story.
Marjorie is a 13 year old girl who is going through a very difficult time. Her mother recently drowned in a tragic accident and her father has fallen into a deep grief that even the care of his children cannot seem to shake. Marjorie spends all her time after school working at her family business, a laundry service, and taking care of her 5 year old brother. The story is sweet and heart-warming while also touching on some deep and dark subject matter. Watching Marjorie deal with all her family struggles and trying to keep the family business running after her mother's death was difficult, especially because I felt frustrated with her dad's behavior. There's another character who is trying to sabotage her business in an effort to get the property for himself. Enter Wendell, a young, lonely ghost, who ends up making quite a mess of things for Marjorie on accident. When he realizes what he's done, he decides to help her and goes back to the Ghost World to ask for support. After this, the story becomes so much more hopeful. A small friendship between a ghost and a girl can change things for the better.
I love how accurately working in a service industry role is depicted, as well as grief and loneliness. Thummler takes dark elements of a very human story, mixes in a little supernatural fun, and illustrates it with a Wes Anderson-esque color palette. A quick read and something I'd recommend for readers of Raina Telgemier who want something similar for older kids.
🌟🌟🌟🌟 -- Mary gives this book 4 out of 5 stars
Sheets comes out August 28, 2018! You can pre-order with Foggy Pine Books or come pick it up on release day!
Mary Prewitt: Owner, Ruthless Reader