Saturday, August 3, 2019

Review - Joe Quinn's Poltergeist

Joe Quinn's Poltergeist
by David Almond
illustrated by Dave McKean
Date: 2019
Publisher: Candlewick Press (MA)
Reading level: YA
Book type: graphic novel
Pages: 80
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

There's a poltergeist in Joe Quinn's house, and Davie is determined to discover its source in this lively, hopeful graphic storybook from David Almond and Dave McKean.

Joe Quinn has been telling everyone about the poltergeist in his house, but no one believes him. No one, that is, except Davie. Davie's felt the inexplicable presence in the Quinns' house and seen random objects fly through the air. And there's something else... a memory of Davie's beloved sister and a feeling deep down that it might just be possible for ghosts to exist. Full of thoughts of hauntings and grief and God, Davie hovers on a precipice of uncertainty and possibility, a space that storyteller David Almond occupies comfortably and returns to again and again -- here paired once more with the dynamic, dreamlike mixed-media art of Dave McKean.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I thought I'd like this one more than I did. If the artwork within had been more like what's on the cover, I think I would have. The inside, however, is mostly rough-looking drawings combined with a bit of photographic collage and painted backgrounds.

The story is also a little thin for me. The explanation for the poltergeist, while plausible, isn't that interesting. This book is more about the characters than the story, really.

This appears to be marketed as a "graphic storybook" for children, but it's really more of a short graphic novel for young adults. The themes are heavy, some of the plot points are rather mature, and the inclusion of local slang could make this a tricky book for younger readers.

I suppose I was expecting something more fanciful and supernatural, especially from this duo. I found it neither "lively" nor "hopeful", as was promised by the synopsis; it is instead rather dreary and gritty, with some fairly creepy behaviour on the part of the adults in the story. At its heart, Joe Quinn's Poltergeist is just a coming-of-age sort of story about the chaotic emotions of teenage boys.

Perhaps I'm just not the right audience for this one.

Thank you to NetGalley and Candlewick Press for providing a digital ARC.

Plot: 2/5
Characters: 3/5
Pace: 2/5
Writing & Editing: 3/5
Illustration: 2/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall Rating: 2.38 out of 5 ladybugs

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