Cybils Awards for YA Graphic Novels, and this isn't the first time he's had that honor—last year his GN Ghostopolis was also a YA GN finalist.
Reader Gut Reaction: Who doesn't love a story about being shipwrecked and solving the mystery of a weird desert island full of fantastical plants and bizarre creatures? It's like Indiana Jones, but this one's got a few interesting, creative, and unexpected twists to the underlying premise. Although this one seems to skew to a slightly younger YA (or even older MG) audience, that adventuresome setup is pretty appealing to any reader with a love of action and fantasy. This is definitely a plot-driven piece, with two nicely structured parallel stories: one that takes place on a strange planet in an unknown time and place, and one that follows Reese and his disastrous family boat outing.
I really enjoyed the graphic storytelling in this one, particularly the use of color to set a mood, and establish a different atmosphere between the two storylines. The way the panels are laid out and the action is portrayed has a classic comics feel to it and makes everything easy to read. Style-wise, it's a nice blend of funny, scary, and fantastical.
Recommended for Fans Of...: Stories that blend fantasy, sci-fi, and adventure, like Kazu Kibuishi's Amulet books; also, fans of TV shows like Lost or Terra Nova, in which humans must use their wits to survive in an alien and sometimes hostile environment.
Themes & Things: Bad Island is loaded with themes appropriate to an adventure story and a shipwrecked-on-an-island-with-your-aggravating-family-possibly-forever story: most notably, though, it's a story of forgiveness, courage, and trust.
Review Copy Source: Publisher (Cybils review copy)
You can find Bad Island by Doug TenNapel at an independent bookstore near you!