The wedding(s) was super fun, and I'm so happy for them both.
Also, they are moving to Madison! So if you live in Madison, you should be their friend.
In Vera Brosgol's Eisner-winning YA graphic novel Anya's Ghost, Anya Borzakovskaya is a teenage Russian immigrant who is trying to fit in as best she can by losing her accent, not associating with the only other Russian kid in school, and generally acting as American as she can. One day she falls into a well and meets the titular ghost. After she's rescued, however, she finds that the ghost has come along with her, and she wants to help her with all of her life problems! This is great! At first.
Anya's Ghost touches on a bit of the same issues that Gene Luen Yang does in his work regarding growing up as an immigrant—or with immigrant parents, at least—in America, but Anya is not defined by her ethnicity. She has other typical teenage problems like fights with her best friend, crushes on boys, getting picked on by other girls, etc. Her experience with Emily (the ghost) helps her realize how she's been acting and how she should change. Anya and Emily are both great characters, and the ghostly antics are a lot of fun. Their evolving relationship is compelling.
It's a swift, well-paced read that juggles several bits of Anya's life along her journey of understanding.
In Raina Telgemeier's cute comic memoir Smile, Telgemeier tells the story of how she got braces. A story that is complicated by her tripping and falling and losing her two front teeth, which results in years of improvised dental surgery and treatment. As if being a teenage girl isn't bad enough, right? Telgemeier keeps the story focused on her teeth and everyone's reactions to them, and by everyone I mean her terrible friends. Seriously, they are terrible. The storytelling is swift and engaging, and the art is expressive and delightful, enhanced greatly by Stephanie Yue's colors, which pop off the page. As a bonus, the story is set in San Francisco, and she plays a lot of Nintendo. Telgemeier saves the introspection and coming-of-age message for the end, allowing Raina's journey to speak for itself.
Smile was pretty good, but the improvement Raina Telgemeier shows in Drama is remarkable. I was, of course, predisposed to love this book since the main character is a huge theater geek and the story revolves around putting on a musical, but what's truly wonderful about it is that it focuses mostly on the crew and—because it's based on Telgemeier's own experiences—it gets all the details right, from the terminology to the inevitable mishaps that must be overcome in pre-production and sometimes during the show itself. She also nails the character relationships and the bonds forged through a theater experience. There's some romance, and there's some drama, and—because this is theater—there's some gayness, and it's all handled well. Finally, I loved the art. So pretty and colorful and expressive, with some very creative panels. I highly recommend this book to anyone who's done theater. It's like Slings and Arrows for middle-schoolers.