cover image Honor Girl: A Graphic Memoir

Honor Girl: A Graphic Memoir

Maggie Thrash. Candlewick, $19.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-7636-7382-6

Newcomer Thrash’s graphic storytelling style, with its blank-eyed, manga-esque characters, might surprise readers accustomed to more polish. The good news is that her dialogue is so smart and snappy that a few pages in, they’ll find it doesn’t matter. Thrash portrays her 15-year-old self as a cynical Atlanta pre-cotillion deb who has been attending the same Appalachian sleepaway camp for years. Everything changes when a random caress from an older counselor, Erin, awakens a storm of desire. Maggie is unprepared for the turmoil of first love, and the camp is, to put it mildly, unwelcoming to teens questioning their sexuality. “Apparently they were on the tennis court,” two campers gossip. “Blythe said they were pretty much doing it with a racket.” Thrash writes with an intoxicating mix of candor, irony, and fresh passion. Much of the memoir’s piquancy comes from the collisions between the camp’s ideal of Southern womanhood, the campers’ clannishness, and Maggie’s faith in herself as she becomes, incongruously, the camp’s best rifle shot. This is the kind of memoir that stays with readers for days. Ages 14–up. Agent: Stephen Barr, Writers House. (Sept.)