Monday, March 22, 2010

Graphic Novel Monday: The War at Ellsmere, by Faith Erin Hicks

The War at Ellsmere, by Faith Erin Hicks. Published 2008 by SLG. Fiction. Graphica.

The War at Ellsmere is a fun coming-of-age tale set at an exclusive girls' boarding school, where scholarship student Juniper has just started a new year. Snarky and uncomfortable, she has a little trouble fitting in, first with her new roommate, perky Cassie, and then with mean-girl Emily and her friends. Emily is determined to ruin Juniper's time at Ellsmere and will stop short of nothing to push her buttons; will Juniper (or "Jun" as she likes to be called) survive the year? Or will Emily succeed in making her life miserable?

It's a pretty light book; Jun is an appealing character, her misfit friend Cassie is funny and cute and Emily makes for a very convincing bully. The story itself is a little formulaic and the added fantasy element involving unicorns is a little strange, but I still got into it and found myself worrying about what would happen to the engaging, imperfect heroine. The best part about it for me was the sweet friendship between Cassie and Jun, a pair of misfits who build a sweet private world. I also liked that the girls can be both competitive and supportive of each other academically, and that competition over looks or clothes doesn't figure at all. The characters look cute and sort of manga-like but overall the art didn't make much of an impression on me.

The War at Ellsmere is a quick read and it's pretty clean, so I think younger teen and tween girls would enjoy it. I managed to pass a nice couple of hours with this and a cup of tea; I look forward to reading more from author/illustrator Hicks and I would encourage you to check out her website,, for more examples of her art and writing.

Rating: BEACH

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


avisannschild said...

This sounds like a fun read! (One of the kids on the cover looks like she has a mustache, though!) It's going on my list of comics to look out for.

bermudaonion said...

I think I'd like this one since I'm a sucker for a good boarding school story.

Zibilee said...

I think this would make a great read for both my daughter and myself. It sounds like a good light read and I really like the mention of the close friendship the girls strike up.

Nymeth said...

This does sound light and fun, but then again that's just what I crave sometimes. One more for the wishlist.