Gulledge, Laura Lee. Page by Paige. 192 p. Amulet Books. 2011. Hardcover $18.95. ISBN 9780810997219.
Being the new girl in town is hard. In this charming graphic novel, sixteen-year-old Paige has moved from Virginia to New York in the middle of a school year, and isn't sure she's going to like it at all. A budding artist, she buys a sketchbook to help cope with the changes. While Paige navigates her new surroundings, the reader is treated to inventive visuals as she illustrates what's going on inside her mind- for example, taking mental snapshots of scenes around the city and filing them away in a cabinet that extends from the back of her head for artistic inspiration. As Paige faces her own weaknesses and challenges herself to open up to others, she discovers that self-doubt is universal, even among her cool new friends in the city, and learns that everyone needs a little help and encouragement.
Anyone who's ever felt like a fish out of water, anyone who's ever felt like they don't measure up, anyone who's ever felt alone will relate to Paige. She is so fully realized, with all of her teenage highs and lows, it makes you want to cheer when she ultimately works up the courage to share her art with the world. With appealing black-and-white art, sympathetic characters, and a plot that will feel familiar to any teen (or those who have already endured the teen years!), Laura Lee Gulledge has crafted an utterly heartwarming story about a girl finding her place in the world.
Look for Page by Paige in bookstores starting May 1, 2011. ARC for review provided by the publisher.