Review Blog

Sep 24 2019

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell

cover image

Illus. by Faith Erin Hicks. Macmillan, 2019. ISBN: 9781529008630.
(Age: 14+) Recommended. Graphic Novel. Themes: Friendship, Transitions. This graphic novel's initial impression suffers a little from its American origins as the concept of a pumpkin patch as a theme park was confusing at first so it took a few pages to get a feel for the setting. Hick's use of 'pumpkin-tinted' colours in the book serves to set the scene and Rowell's reputation of developing believable characters has been built on her other novels, Eleanor and Park and Fangirl. She has written an engaging story about friendship, beginnings, endings and taking chances. This book should resonate with teens and young adults who are about to embark on their own life changes. While it is exciting to be starting something new it also often becomes a time of uncertainty, reluctance and sadness and this book celebrates both this and the role of friendship in taking these steps.
Josiah and Deja are good friends and are on their last shift at their holiday jobs at the Pumpkin Patch before heading off to college. The story follows Deja's attempts to ensure Josiah resolves his long unrequited crush on another girl who works in the park before the nights ends. Set against the backdrop of the theme park we see the friends savouring their memories and saying goodbye to this stage of their lives as they mentally prepare themselves for something new.
Rowell's story rejoices in the bonds of friendship while Hick's charming and expressive panels draw the reader in, building the main characters and their surroundings. Deja's strength contrasts with Josiah's uncertainty and this is obvious in the words as well as the drawings.
In all, the book is non-judgemental and matter of fact with love and relationships the underlying important theme.
Gaye Howe

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