Nola's Worlds trilogy, #1
Finished: Nov. 18, 2010
First Published: 2009 France (Aug, 2010 English trans.)
Publisher: Graphic Universe
Genre: Graphic novel, manga, YA, science fiction
Welcome to Alta Donna.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Lerner Publishing Group.
Reason for Reading: This is a Cybils '10 nominee and required reading for me as a graphic novels panelist.
Nola is a typical middle schooler, not popular, a daydreamer, who is consistently late for school. She's a latch key kid who lives with her mom, who is career driven and hardly ever at home with Nola; while her dad is busy with a new family and brings her gifts to make up for never seeing her. Nola's town, Alta Donna, is a slow boring place where nothing happens and Nola's life is mostly spent alone when not with her best friend, two years older than her and an outcast herself. But two new kids come to school and Nola picks up right away that something is not quite right about them. Then when she hears the brother and sister mysteriously arguing in the hall one day she determines to find out what it is that makes Damiano so agile and such a good baseball player and why Ines is able to charm anyone into getting anything she wants.
It's been a few days now since I've read this and it is lingering in my mind. My enjoyment of it is more the longer I think of it. This book is the first in a trilogy with it's purpose obviously a set up for the rest of the series whose plot barely gets off the ground here in Book 1. Instead the characters are all introduced and well portrayed; Nola is fully developed and a real, flawed character that the reader cares for. All the plot points are put in motion in this book, and near the end the science fiction theme is put into play, we get some reveals and the book ends with the certainty that things will never be boring for Nola again. Book 2 in the series is anxiously on my mind. All 3 books have been published.
The art is decidedly French and yet also interestingly, manga. I've read French comics before but this is the first French manga I've come across. There are plenty of typical manga elements used including little chibi scenes and yet there are distinct French elements combined which makes for an interesting graphic and artistic style which is very pleasing and appealed to me on an aesthetic level that normal Japanese manga does not.