Congratulations! The winner of the unsigned copy of All Summer Long is:
Congratulations as well! My review for today is below.
For MMGM, I am recommending the graphic novel Swing It, Sunny by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm (the sequel to Sunny Side Up, which I reviewed previously).
Sunny Lewin is not having a good time. She hates middle school, she has to get allergy shots every week, and her delinquent older brother Dale is now at boarding school, leaving her family down a member. Sunny tries to enjoy the things she usually loves: watching TV with her friend Deb, dressing up for Halloween, and talking on the phone with Gramps, her grandfather (a main character in Sunny Side Up). However, a shadow seems to be hanging over her entire life, and it certainly isn't helped when an angry, bitter Dale comes home for vacation. It's up to Sunny to come to terms with her new family situation and attempt to enjoy her year; with the help of Deb, Gramps, and new neighbor Neela, she just might be able to.
I love Swing It, Sunny for several reasons. Sunny has a kind heart that will make any reader root for her, and anyone can relate to her feelings as she works through the stresses in her life. The book is set over the course of an entire school year (although school only plays a background role in the story), and the plot moves briskly through the different months, each bringing holidays, family visits, and more. Like Sunny Side Up, Swing It, Sunny is set in the 1970s, and it does a great job of staying grounded in the decade (pet rocks play a part in the story, for example, and having 4 television channels is considered amazing). The TV shows that Sunny and her friend Deb enjoy watching also play into the story in many ways: the idealistic family of The Brady Bunch contrasts with Sunny's imperfect one, the isolated Dale is compared to characters stranded on an island in Gilligan's Island, and (on a more superficial level) the nurses of General Hospital inspire Sunny and Deb's Halloween costumes. As a person who was born decades after the 1970s, it was fascinating to see such a vivid glimpse into the decade. Some of the other storylines in the graphic novel (such as a visit from Gramps or Sunny and Neela's budding friendship) are fun to read as well. Finally, the art style of the novel is unique as well; it is uniquely unkempt and very expressive, with a feeling of motion present in every panel. Readers who enjoyed Sunny Side Up will adore Swing It, Sunny's blend of meaningful struggles, humor, history, and excellent art, and readers who have not read Sunny Side Up should rest assured that the second book holds up to the high standard set by the original!