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Chiggers (mix) Paperback – June 17, 2008


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 9
  • Series: mix
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (June 17, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416935878
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416935872
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #322,997 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8–Abby is back for another summer at camp. Her friend, Rose, three years older and now a cabin assistant, cannot spend much time with her so she seeks out new friends. Deni, a city girl who produces a constant stream of conversation about boys, soon comes down with a case of chiggers, and no one is sorry to see her leave. Shasta, a raven-haired girl, replaces her. She was late to arrive, she says, due to being struck by lightning. As is common, the cabinmates cannot all get along, and the others turn against Abby for befriending Shasta. Throw in summer crushes and particle-board camp food, and reading Chiggers provides a ticket to summer fun. Larson delicately handles both the usual middle-school angst and the additional pressures that come with being somewhat different. The style is more Craig Thompson (Goodbye, Chunky Rice [Pantheon, 2006]) than Shojo Beat, and the content is perfect for upper elementary and middle school students.–Sarah Krygier, Solano County Library, Fairfield, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Nerdy, naive Abby can’t wait to return to summer camp and see Rose, the older girl who was her friend last year. But this year Rose is busy, and Abby, irritated and hurt, must find someone else to hang out with. Will it be Shasta, the new girl who nobody likes but who shares some of Abby’s interests; or punky Zoe (whose language reflects her desire to be supercool) and Beth, Zoe’s hanger-on? It’s the familar friendship story, unfolding in somewhat jerky episodes done up in sturdy black-and-white artwork reminiscent of scratchboard. The background will be familiar to any girl who ever went to camp, as will the story’s emotional content: the hurtful backbiting, the jealousy, the fear of being ostracized, the rage at being duped, and the complete preoccupation of a first crush. There’s even a sweet scene of a first delightful kiss. This may be well-trod territory, but it’s traversed with a freshness, sureness, and understanding that speak very well for Larson, who was recongnized with a 2007 Eisner Award for new cartooning talent. Grades 6-8. --Stephanie Zvirin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jamie S. Rich on August 4, 2008
Format: Paperback
Hope Larson's comic book CHIGGERS is a wonderful tale of a transitional year in the life of her protagonist, when the longstanding tradition of summer camp starts to change from pure frivolity to a place where oncoming adulthood is beginning to seep through the cracks. The realization that friends are not perfect, the first blush of love, and the discovery that different, though not always openly accepted, is good. Adolescence is treated delicately, though it is seen by the younger children as something like an infection, the central metaphor of the story being the tiny bugs (chiggers) that burrow under one's skin. How does one deal? Do you cower in shame, or do you openly deal with what ails you? Do you quietly accept, or stand up for what you feel?

Hope Larson is an amazing visual storyteller. Her soft drawings are often wispy like ocean waves, pulling the reader in their current. The panels are full of side notes, pointing out details that might otherwise be missed or giving further explanation to pieces of the overall narrative. In this way, Larson not only creates within her young readers an excitement of discovering all that the world has to offer, but also in the comic book form as a medium for said discovery. It opens up the reading experience to be about more than just the people who are at a book's center, but the naturalistic world they inhabit.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By R S Cobblestone VINE VOICE on July 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I don't have a lot of experience with graphic novels. Serious graphic novels, like Persepolis and other books in that ilk, are interesting for their blend of literary merit and use of art to capture a sense of action, mood, or place.

Chiggers, by Hope Larson, falls in that category, with a young adult focus.

Abby goes to summer camp, again. Her older friend is too busy for her (now an employee of the camp), her bunkmates talk behind everyone's backs, and the new girl, Shasta, is full of... stories? Hit by lightning? Has a long-distance internet boyfriend? Has "problems" getting oxygen to her cells?

Abby finds herself torn between wanting to fit in, having adventures, avoiding nerds, meeting boy nerds, and more. She is a "tween," sensing that she has the spirit of the child, but the social needs of the teen.

Hope Larson's sketches are wonderfully suited for the text. She is a master at the "dramatic pause" with the correct sketch. Highlights include:

- Two girls salivating over a mental image of rocker Ricky Vee without his shirt (p. 14).

- Egyptian Rat Screw card game instructions (p. 16)! I know this game as "Egyptian Rat Killer," adding the rule that you can slap on the play of any 10 card. No jewelry wearing allowed. Play it once, and you'll know what I mean.

- Chigger description (p. 24). However, they really don't burrow under your skin. The intense itching is your allergic reaction to their saliva.

- The reaction of Shasta to the idea of a home without a computer (p. 43).

- Instructions for making a friendship bracelet (p. 57).

- Discussion of chicken parts sandwiches and jell-o from horse hooves (p.65).

- Total bliss then profound sadness in the shower (p.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Suzanne Amara VINE VOICE on July 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I haven't read a lot of graphic novels, probably because I'm older than the generation that reads them, but I love a good camp story (although I hated camp and got homesick and left after 2 days!). Chiggers is just that, a classic camp story. Abby is a somewhat innocent, somewhat shy return camper who comes back for the season and finds many of her fellow campmates have changed and matured, and she feels left out. Then an unusual camper arrives, Shasta. Shasta has a somewhat mysterious past and is a little unconventional. Abby is assigned to help her get settled, and they become friends. This causes predictable problems, like the other girls associating her with Shasta and making fun of them both. Throw in a little camp romance and scary stories and you have all the makings of a camp tale!

Maybe it's because I haven't read enough graphic novels, but at times I found it hard to tell the characters apart using the pictures. Two of the campers looked a great deal alike to me, and I kept having to go back and figure out who was who. I also found myself wanting a little more depth of story than this format allows. But in general, I really enjoyed this read. I liked the things you CAN do in a graphic novel you can't do as easily in regular books, like break out and give illustrated instructions for making a friendship bracelet or include small details in pictures that advance the story if you notice them.

There was a good deal of character depth to Abby for a short book---I felt I understood her and she was very realistically drawn---literally and figuratively.

I'm going to give this book to an avid 10 year old reader I know who hasn't really read graphic novels either, and I think she will be pleasantly surprised by it!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Greg McElhatton on August 4, 2008
Format: Paperback
Hope Larson's basic story -- teens at summer camp and the friendships and struggles they have -- is a pretty familiar one. What made it stand out for me, though, was the particular methods that she used to tell it. She's got a great gift for character voices, making Abby, Shasta, and the rest all really sound like teenagers. Little moments, like Abby's glee about chicken burgers and eating things at are breaded just sounds perfect. I also really appreciated that she's not afraid to make her characters a little geeky, something atypical in books about teenage girls. The fact that Abby's into fantasy and role-playing games, or that Shasta has a boyfriend that she knows through instant-messaging, really stands out as something different and interesting. Best of all, though, is the bits of the magical and unexplained that Larson weaves throughout Chiggers.

I love that Larson never explains the stranger moments of the book, from the sparks of electricity flowing out of Shasta's hair one night, to the dramatic conclusion of the book and its unreal happenings. A dream, a natural phenomenon, or something entirely different? It's not entirely clear, and Larson wisely doesn't delve too deeply into it. All you really need to know is that it happened, and move onwards.

The way Larson draws the book is great as well. There's something about the way her characters have deep eyes and heavy locks of hair that makes it unmistakably Larson's creation. She's got such a handle on expressions that her characters can bring so much to the story without actually needing their dialogue. From Abby's awe-filled smile as she finds out that Shasta knows her boyfriend through IMs, to Shasta's almost tranquil expression as her hair floats up into the air, it's a beautiful creation.
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