March 30, 2017

Cybils Finalist Review: LUCKY PENNY

Synopsis: I love getting to catch up on graphic novels during the Cybils season! This one was a finalist in the YA Graphic Novels category--a funny, surprising, heartwarming story about a young woman with the worst luck who figures out that, in the end, sometimes what seems like bad luck works out for the best after all. The cover copy:
If Penny Brighton didn't have bad luck, she'd have no luck at all. She lost her job. And her apartment. In the same day. But it's okay, her friend has a cozy storage unit she can crash in. And there's bound to be career opportunities at the neighborhood laundromat―just look how fast that 12-year-old who runs the place made it to management! Plus, there's this sweet guy at the community center, and maybe Penny can even have a conversation with him without being a total dork. Surely Penny is a capable of becoming an actual responsible adult, and if she can do that her luck’s bound to change! Right?

click to embiggen
Observations: I should quickly note that this one will be more interesting for the older YA set—the protagonist is 18 and working and living on her own. But Penny's general hilarious unluckiness and the obstacles she faces on the cusp of adulthood definitely are appealing—her attempts to deal with middle-school-aged bullies are weird and comical, and her awkward navigation of a new relationship is relatable. She is quirky, but so is her love interest, and their quirks complement one another.

Lucky Penny's got very well done and very funny art—it reminds me of Raina Telgemeier's work, in that the emphasis is more on action and humor in the storytelling, and things are kept generally simple, depending on what the specific scene or panel demands. The characters are the focus, of course, and they are depicted in an endearingly silly way.

Conclusion: Ultimately, this is a great story about a character who feels like an outsider—her bad luck is a good ongoing gag, but really, it's Penny's personality and heart that shine through and give the story weight. She forges ahead and doesn't give up when faced with obstacles—instead, she finds creative (if sometimes misguided) solutions. And she wins out in the end.

I received my copy of this book courtesy of my library. You can find LUCKY PENNY by Ananth Hirsh and Yuki Ota at an online e-tailer, or at a real life, independent bookstore near you!

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