A review by pwbalto
Honor Girl: A Graphic Memoir, by Maggie Thrash


I kind of can't get past the fact that Maggie Thrash can't draw. In fact, I'm a little fascinated that the book is readable despite the fact that she can't draw.

Maggie is at sleepaway camp somewhere in Kentucky, an all-girls camp that has been around for generations. This is a super preppy Southern girls camp - white girls from upper-class families shooting rifles and making friendship bracelets. Maggie has been going to this camp for years, as did her mother and grandmother. This summer, she's sixteen - she'll be preparing for her cotillion when she gets home. It's a great time for her to develop a crush on an older girl.

Maggie's story is great. The pacing is good - the writing communicates the languid rhythms of camp days and the suspended quality of all-summer sleepaway camp. Her relationship with the older girl builds by glances and awkward, nonaccidental accidental touches. We've all been there.

But for Pete's sake, why is she drawing her own book? This is not me being mean - I've seen Maggie Thrash speak and she'll be like, "I never drew a thing before I started making this book!" And it's not like she's a natural. Eyes are blank ovals with kind of a hashmark off the top, landscape is minimal, and the only way to tell characters apart is by their hair.

It reminds me of the way the 5th grade girls all drew puppies one year. Every kid's notebook was covered with shaggy pups with blank oval eyes and a hair bow. And I mean, maybe that's going to make the book more relatable. I have been surprised more than once by kids developing great affection for really badly-drawn graphic novels. (3-2-3 Detective Agency - WHYYYYY?)

And I love how there are so many graphic novels set at sleepaway camp or boarding school: Chiggers, Supermutant Magic Academy, Lumberjanes, The War at Ellsmere.