Thursday, March 03, 2022

Took- The Graphic Novel

Hahn, Mary Downing, Peterson, Scott (Adapted by), Vaughn, Jen (Ilustrations)
Took (Graphic Novel): A Ghost Story 
March 1st 2022 by Etch/Clarion Books
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

This graphic novel faithfully follows the story of the original, so I have tweaked my review of the original. 

When Daniel's father loses his corporate job in Connecticut, his family decides to move to rural West Virginia where the cost of living will be lower. Neither Daniel or his younger sister Erica are thrilled with this, especially when the children at school make fun of their east coast ways and also the fact that they have moved into a "creepy" house. Erica spends a lot of time talking to her doll, Little Erica, and the parents have trouble finding jobs. Daniel is in a bad mood, and when he gets picked on and children torment him about the disappearance of a young girl, Selene, years ago, he decides to investigate. With the help of Brody, a local who is at least sympathetic, he finds Old Auntie's house on the top of the hill. It has been abandoned, but Brody claims that at night Old Auntie, a conjure woman, reappears with her nightmare, skeleton hog, Bloody Bones. Erica retreats further and further into herself, talking to her doll, and after a fight with Daniel, disappears into the woods. No one believes Daniel that she has been taken by a creepy spirit, but when he manages to bring back a dirty and disheveled Selene, the O'Neill's recognize her as their daughter's friend who disappeared fifty years ago. Daniel is afraid that Old Auntie will keep Erica for fifty years, so he tries everything he can to rescue her, but he is up against powerful magic and powerful evil.

Erica undergoes a dramatic change once they move. The parents are too caught up in their own misery at moving and working unstaisfying jobs that they don't seem to notice at all. Daniel knows there is a problem, based on what he is seeing, but is he really imagining it? He doubts himself, and thinks that Erica is just making up things like hearing voices. 

The West Virginian setting also unsettles Daniel by introducing him to local legends and history unlike anything he has ever encountered in his life in Connecticut. The fact that most of the students don't accept him gives him few allies to back him up, but relying on Brody, as well as the O'Neills and a kindly bus driver (who once again made the story for me), gives him just enough information and support to save his sister. The graphic novel is a much more unflattering and unsympathetic view of West Virginia.

I much prefer Hahn's Deep and Dark and Dangerous or All the Lovely Bad Ones,or the newer The Girl in the Locked Room, and would have liked to see those recieve graphic novel treatment before Took. The drawings of Bloody Bones and the witch are unsettlingly, but not in a good way. The color palette seemed at odds with the story, and the drawings weren't in a style that I particularly enjoyed. 

My students seem to prefer original graphic novels to retellings, with the notable exception of the Stormbreaker and The Lightning Thief graphic novels. It's good to see more genres represented in this format, but I may pass on purchase.

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