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Will & Whit Paperback – May 7, 2013

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Amulet Paperbacks (May 7, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1419705466
  • ISBN-13: 978-1419705465
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #276,786 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up-Sixteen-year-old Will is afraid of the dark, so she creates light. More specifically, she creates things that emit light: lamps. Since her parents died in a car accident about a year earlier, she's busied herself with her craft in addition to helping her aunt with the family business, Foxxden Antiques. When a storm comes to town (the titular Whit) and causes a blackout, Will is forced to deal with her greatest fear without the benefit of her most important coping mechanism. How she chooses to do so enables her to redefine herself with courage and hope in the light of her tragic loss. The most striking feature about Gulledge's second graphic novel is the organic nature of the layouts. Action and dialogue flow smoothly from panel to panel, barely acknowledging their confines. Thick, sumptuous lines separate characters from richly detailed backgrounds, and this is all done in black and white. Gulledge populates her story with unique and likable characters who relate easily and naturally to one another. Will and Whit is a big step up from Page by Paige (Abrams, 2011), showing a little more narrative range and, perhaps, a taste of things to come.-J. M. Poole, Webster Public Library, NYα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Across the reaches of YA-targeted media, it’s rare to find a work with such a relentlessly upbeat tone and sense of uncompromising positivity as those found in this graphic novel. As with her Eisner-nominated debut, Page by Paige (2011), Gulledge uses relationships, dialogue, font choice, and, most significantly, the bold lines of her figures and solid, forthright faces of her characters to fuel a world suffused with sunshine (though she uses the image of her protagonist’s shadow to compelling effect, too). This is all the more remarkable given the story, in which Wilhelmina Huckstep faces the recent death of her parents, an abiding fear of the dark, and a storm headed for her small town. Though the storm causes a blackout, Will and her friends bond with a group of visiting performers. As troubles both romantic and personal come to a head, Gulledge’s dialogue can occasionally feel saccharine and stilted, but the situations and emotions are all highly teen-relevant and hope is never less than a palpable presence. Grades 7-10. --Jesse Karp

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Andy Shuping on July 10, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
ARC provided by NetGalley

Wilhelmina "Will" Huxstep is a creative teenage girl trying to come to terms with a dark family tragedy, with the help of her sister, whom she now lives with. Will also has a secret. She's afraid of the dark. She knows that it's silly to be afraid of the dark at her age, but she just can't help it. So she makes lamps out of anything and everything to help her with her fear. As another summer comes to a close she and her friends (who are also creative) Autumn, Noel, and Reese hope to have some fun adventures. But the adventures that happen maybe more than Will can handle thanks to a hurricane named Whitney that will force Will to face her fear of darkness in the most creative way yet.

Laura's "Page by Paige" was one of the best books I read last year and I couldn't wait to read "Will & Whit"...and I wasn't disappointed in the slightest. What I love about Laura's books are the characters. I know that sounds trite, I mean you have to like the characters to enjoy a book, but Laura gives them life, she makes them feel real. I feel like I could find Will and her sister running the antique shop in this small quaint town without trouble and they would act just like they do in the book. Even more than that when I read the story I recognize aspects of myself in the book, that lingering fear of the dark, wanting to combat it, and trying to figure out a solution to it.

Even more than the characters and the story, Laura's artwork is beautiful and in some places deceptive. Take a look at that cover. You see it and you think, "Oh it's a book about teenage romance between a guy named Will and a girl named Whitney, ho hum." But then...you pick it up and find out there's so much more to it.
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Format: Paperback
Will, short for Willhemena, is an insomniac who creates artistic lamps because she’s afraid of the dark and coping with unexplored grief. She lives with her aunt Ella, who runs the family antique store in a small Virginia mountain town.

Will’s friends are equally creative. Autumn is a blue-haired puppetmaker whose parents are pressuring her to pick the right college. Noel cooks, and his little sister Reese is addicted to electronics. It’s the end of summer, and they’re pondering what will come with the fall, whether they want to admit it or not. Another set of young people are putting on an arts carnival, and as the two groups interact, hearts get bent. At the same time, hurricane Whitney is predicted to hit the area hard.

There are so many wonderful and unusual themes in this book. The obvious is the play of light and darkness and what those things can symbolize, but I also greatly enjoyed the way the characters repurpose and appreciate older things and how they support each other’s artistic pursuits. Plus, how can I not love a heroine who quotes Doctor Who episodes?! (Specifically, “Blink“, which of course is perfect for a story about what you see in the dark.)

Will & Whit is more conventionally formatted as comics than her earlier book Page by Paige, but that just shows off how strong Gulledge’s storytelling is. I adored the character expressions and gestures. The love between Ella and Will, for example, as they sit in the kitchen too early in the morning talking about the details of the day is so visible in the active drawings. Her grasp of how young people interact is great, too.

Gulledge also uses a pointillist technique for the shadows (some of which populate Will’s imagination and symbolize her feelings) that’s quite gripping. It contrasts with the solid, firm lines of her characters, making the shadows look insubstantial and a bit scary, just as Will sees them. (Review originally posted at ComicsWorthReading.com.)
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Format: Paperback
This review was originally posted on my blog Belletristic Books.

I’ve been attempting to read a lot more graphic novels recently. I found Laura Lee Gulledge’s debut, Page by Paige, while I was looking through the graphic novels section of my local library. I thought that the art in it was really quite lovely and the story of Paige coming out of her shell was quite inspiring! Because of how much I enjoyed it, I decided to read Gulledge’s second book, Will & Whit.

The artwork in it is done in black-and-white and I believe it was a really good medium considering that the main character, Will, is afraid of the dark. The author does a great job at showing how Will’s shadow follows her around and that she can’t seem to overcome her fears. There are a few allusions to a family disaster that has lead Will to have her Aunt Ella as her only family member. It’s not completely tragic though! Will has wonderful friends – they’re an artsy and dynamic bunch of characters who all seem to have really cool talents. Will has a knack for putting together fancy lamps, her friend Autumn makes puppets, and her friend Noel is an aspiring chef. Will just wants to have a relaxing summer but a couple of events manage to actually liven up her life and push her closer to getting over her frights.

One day while Will’s working in the family antiques store, a couple of characters come in who introduce her to an upcoming summer arts carnival while they’re looking for props for it. After telling her friends about it, Will and the gang head to check it out and get involved in preparing for it. As the summer goes on, there’s a lot of talk about an upcoming storm that people are getting nervous about.
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More About the Author

Laura Lee Gulledge crafts stories and illustrations that are thought-provoking, funny, and emotionally resonant. Her debut graphic novel Page by Paige (2011, Abrams Books) was nominated for both the Eisner and Harvey Awards, as well as being the only graphic novel nominated for YALSA's Top Ten Books for Teens in 2012. Her new book Will & Whit was released earlier this year, which she is currently developing as a multi-disciplinary musical for young people. She has also worked as a scenic painter, event producer, and art teacher. Other creative endeavors include collaborative artnerships, installations, street art, body painting, interactive murals, and textile design. She posts new adventures every week on her website: whoislauralee.com

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