Tessa and her younger sister Lulu always had a sibling rivalry, but it turns to outright jealousy when Lulu starts seeing Tessa’s secret crush, Charlie. Tessa starts to feel like an outcast and a monster and finds herself drawn to Jasper, a troubled loner. Jealously builds resentment and resentment builds to a tragedy that could destroy them all.
Told in alternating chapters with one being a realistic fiction and the other being a graphic novel that shows Tessa and all her friends as mythological creatures, the book starts a tad jolting. There isn’t an immediate explanation for the difference and it through me for the first few chapters. “So is she a medusa lady or not!?” I guessed at first that it was all to do with the idea that “we all feel like monsters at one time or another as teens,” or something like that, but it has a deeper meaning that reveals itself as the book goes on. This is definitely a “not for everyone” title. It mixes realistic fiction and graphic novel storytelling in a unique way to tell a story in an original way. It really does pay off for readers that stay with it. It makes the tale both modern and timeless and explores the nature of tragedy in an utterly believable way. I found myself really believing Tessa’s’ character and feeling her pain, even though throughout I wished she’d make different choices. Of course, that’s the very essence of tragedy, Also Nate Powell is one of the most expressive and interesting artists working in graphic novels for teens today. He does haunting looks at the pain of adolescence like nobody’s business! I highly recommend it to any reader that wants to branch out into more adult and mature graphic novels, or to try books that tell stories in new ways.
You can check our catalog for The Year of the Beasts here.