Written by: Kwame Alexander
Reviewed by: Kerry Lee
If there’s one thing that I think binds every human being together, it’s that we were all young at some point. We were all preteens taking our first steps into becoming independent adults and failing miserably at it.
The graphic novel Booked follows the story of 12-year-old Nick as he navigates the perils of preteen life, including bullies, a blossoming romance, and a personal life that’s seemingly falling apart. While the story might be aimed at younger audiences, older readers might still like to give it a chance, as it does touch on some adult themes.
The illustration at first glance could be interpreted as simple, but this simplicity is what makes Booked so appealing and such a great read. Its bold illustration, with its clean lines and sparing use of one colour (green), helps draw the eye and makes Nick and his friends really pop off the page and come to life. All of this is thanks to illustrator Dawud Anyabwile, whose style complements the book’s narrative and the characters within.
Speaking of the characters, I have to say I loved them and actually began caring for them like real people. It was the combination of Anyabwile’s illustrations and Alexander’s strong storytelling that evoked this emotional response in me.
As said in the introduction, Booked and Nick’s adventures will be something that everyone can relate to, and I found myself absentmindedly chuckling more than a few times at the situations he found himself in. I mean, who hasn’t had that one teacher they couldn’t stand, or found themselves nervously face to face with their first crush?
While I loved what was going on in Nick’s school, it’s his home life that will really hit home for many readers. This was the part of the story with the most emotional meat. It’s these layers that add to the story, making Booked, in my opinion, worth much more than just a casual glance.