Monday, February 22, 2010

Graphic Novel Monday: Token, by Alisa Kwitney and Joëlle Jones

Token, by Alisa Kwitney and illustrated by Joëlle Jones. Published 2008 by Minx/DC Comics.

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Minx is a line of graphic novels aimed at teen girls and started by DC Comics in 2007. The imprint has since been discontinued, but in the year or so that it was active, 12 books were published featuring a diverse cast of girls, including girls who were disabled, girls of different races and girls of different socioeconomic backgrounds. Hard to find these days in stores, Minx books should still be readily available in libraries.

I started collecting Minx books after finding two galleys at 2007's American Library Association conference, the year the imprint was launched, and have begun reading through the line. Token, by Alisa Kwitney and Joëlle Jones, is the story of Shira, a fifteen-year-old living in 1980s South Beach with her dad and her grandmother. She's Jewish, and attends a Jewish high school where she feels like she doesn't fit in. She likes to wear vintage clothes and spend time with her grandmother's friends and sometimes does things she shouldn't. Sparks fly when Shira's dad starts dating his secretary and Shira meets handsome Rafael on the beach.

All of the Minx graphic novels are characterised by a similar black and white artwork. What I really love about Token is Shira; with short dark hair always dangling in her eyes and a curvy, 1940's poster girl figure, Jones has created a real-looking beautiful girl. Kwitney gives her an unmistakeably teenage personality to go with her looks. She's rebellious and sullen sometimes, sweet and adorable at others. She agonizes over her love life but is shy around boys. Her rapport with her father is tender but possessive and she has a teenager's push-and-pull relationship with her faith, insisting on keeping kosher but dating the definitely not-Jewish Rafael.

Token is a quick read and a fun one that I think teen girls and lots of young women would enjoy. It's perfectly appropriate for its teen audience and deals with themes that they will be able to relate to. I wish that there had been a little less skin showing and a little less emphasis on Shira's body from time to time but overall I think the book has enough positive messages to make up for the tendency to objectify her. I particularly liked Shira's warm relationship with her elderly grandmother and friends, something not often portrayed in books. It's a sweet coming of age story for many readers.

Rating: BEACH

FTC Disclosure: I did not receive this book for review from the publisher.


jewwishes said...

I like your review and the vivid details within your prose.

bermudaonion said...

It's too bad they canceled that series - it sounds like a great one for girls.

naida said...

These sound like interesting graphic novels with a good message.
Great review ;)

Mrs. B. said...

This sounds enjoyable. I've never heard of it. Thanks for the review.

Zibilee said...

I think this would make a good series for my teenage daughter. She adores graphic novels, so I bet she would appreciate this one, as it sounds as though it would really fit her tastes. Thanks for this review, I'll have to check the library.