Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Omg it’s definitely a winner. So glad I finally grabbed a copy!! I laughed so many times. Excellent story with humor and depth, and the art was so wonderful! I had a fantastic idea of who the characters were early on, which is so important and often difficult in a shorter graphic novel. Added my vote for this as graphic novel of the year in the Goodreads choice poll!!
For a great example of utilizing the format of a graphic novel, for a whole lot of laughs, for some awwwws as well, for a sweet yet deep story with perfectly matching art
Deja and Josiah are seasonal best friends. Every autumn, all through high school, they’ve worked together at the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world. (Not many people know that the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world is in Omaha, Nebraska, but it definitely is.) They say good-bye every Halloween, and they’re reunited every September 1. But this Halloween is different—Josiah and Deja are finally seniors, and this is their last season at the pumpkin patch. Their last shift together. Their last good-bye. Josiah’s ready to spend the whole night feeling melancholy about it. Deja isn’t ready to let him. She’s got a plan: What if—instead of moping and the usual slinging lima beans down at the Succotash Hut—they went out with a bang? They could see all the sights! Taste all the snacks! And Josiah could finally talk to that cute girl he’s been mooning over for three years . . . What if their last shift was an adventure?
Oh, man. I didn’t think I would love this so much, but here I am, whipping out the five stars. I loved the art style. It had a solidly matching style and color scheme to the story, and they did a fantastic job of telling small stories within the story through the art. Tracking the goat through the park was amazing!
The story was, obviously, wonderful. Before I get to the main points of it, I want to call out that I appreciated that plot points weren’t ignored, like the whole “Isn’t anyone going to comment that they’re supposed to be running a stand right now instead of wandering around eating snacks?” Job abandonment aside, there were moments in the chaos that were unexpectedly profound and yet still very approachable. It’s not every day that you can have discussions about fate versus choice and not be bored out of your skull or sent into a spiral of despair (oh, is that just me?). And back to the overarching story, what starts out as a pretty simple plot develops into a unique and nuanced journey through the Patch.
Honestly, this is so relatable for people of so many ages. It strikes me as the kind of story that you could read every year and have a new take on it because of the experiences you’ve had in the last year. The first time, you have a cute happy story, maybe you’re encouraged to ask out your crush. The second time, you think about your own priorities in life and what you want to change. The next time, you are dreadfully amused by the sub-plot tale of revenge within. Maybe the last example is too specific, but seriously, the revenge is amazing.
Did I mention how much I laughed? Because I was in a coffee shop reading this and I laughed out loud, probably kind of obnoxiously, multiple times. Good thing I was able to stuff my mouth with cake to muffle it. There are so many amazing lines and images! You get a good sense of the characters early on, which is both difficult and critical in a graphic novel since there’s usually less space to develop them. 100% fantastic. Added my vote for this to the Goodreads Choice Awards immediately after I finished.
One of the early ones I spotted is below, and this was also the moment when I knew that I was going to love this one. Also, PLEASE TELL ME WHERE I CAN GET A PUMPKIN BOMB.
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