June 18, 2015

Thursday Review: EXQUISITE CORPSE by Penelope Bagieu

Summary: This graphic novel isn't technically a YA book, but since it's about a 22-year-old young woman trying to muddle along in early adulthood, it makes a great crossover title. And because I loved it so much I want to hug it, I'm going to review it here. (How could I not like a book that references the Simpsons on the first page? Let me just say..."Canyonero!")

Zoe, the protagonist, has a rather underwhelming career as a booth babe at car shows and the like, and when she's not fending off the ham-handed advances of trade show attendees, she's at home "enjoying" the company of her somewhat loser-y boyfriend. So, one day, when she meets a rather odd, reclusive, but intriguing man who says he's a bestselling author, her life gets a little more interesting. And then it gets a LOT more interesting when she finds out what he's hiding and why he's so reclusive...

Click to embiggen
Peaks: This book was not only hilarious and charming, but the plot had fun twists, and the ending...the ending was just PERFECT. I can't go into too much detail with spoilers, so I'll keep it brief. Zoe is a wonderfully relatable protagonist whose life has that jogging-in-place feel that nearly all of us are familiar with, and her inability to resist a tiny infusion of adventure sets the story going in an all-too-believable way. The portrayal of author Thomas Rocher (and the authorial lifestyle) is highly entertaining, and the banter among the characters is so well-written and made me laugh out loud. There is something indefinably very French about it, something I also enjoyed. And the artwork is simple, cute, and down-to-earth, and also very funny. If you like Vera Brosgol or Faith Erin Hicks, you'll want to check this one out.

Valleys: I don't really have any valleys to report, per se, except that this one's probably best for older YA readers (there's a bit of mature content, i.e., sex and the F-word) unless you are French and lack our American puritanical hangups, in which case, go nuts.

Conclusion: This is another funny and all-around excellent contribution from the world of French comics, which, I have to say, has a lot of amazing stuff going on for all ages. My last review of Last Man: The Stranger was another originally French-language publication, and I've been impressed for a long time by animation coming out of France, too. Don't miss this one--it's a laugh, and I look forward to reading more from this clearly very talented author.

I received my copy of this book courtesy of First Second Books. You can find EXQUISITE CORPSE by Penelope Bagieu at an online e-tailer, or at a real life, independent bookstore near you!


tanita✿davis said...

Ooh, this sounds fun. I love the artwork; the whole thing looks weirdly French. Must be the big eyes and the up-do? (Or I'm susceptible, since you SAID French?)

Sarah Stevenson said...

I'll happily lend it to you! Maybe it is the big eyes and the up-do... :D It's something about the humor, though, too.