Penny Nichols

Top Shelf Productions. Jun. 2019. 208p. pap. $19.99. ISBN 9781603094481.
Gr 10 Up–Reed and Means partner with artist Wiegle for a graphic novel that combines feminism with DIY moviemaking and existential angst. Sarcastic 26-year-old Penny is mostly content with her low-key lifestyle of temping, avoiding her irritating roommate, and reading YA novels. On a whim, she agrees to help two strangers with their super-low-budget slasher movie. Penny discovers a natural talent for behind-the-scenes organizing and meets a group of like-minded new friends and begins taking on a coterie of jobs for the film. Under her influence, what was originally the gory tale of a bride with bloodlust starts to incorporate thoughtful feminist themes. This graphic novel is simultaneously fun, funny, gross, and sweet, with a lovely pairing of words and images. Wiegle’s expressive black-and-white illustrations are by turns edgy and tender. Readers with an interest in DIY filmmaking will be inspired by the narrative and the epilogue’s tips on pursuing film as a career path or hobby. Some swear words, an implied sex act, and lots of graphic horror movie–style gore may be a bit much for younger teens.
VERDICT For older teens with an interest in filmmaking, especially horror movies, as well as for fans of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s “Scott Pilgrim” series and the creators’ previous work

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