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Chiggers: 04/01/09

Chiggers by Hope Larson is another of the graphic novels to make it to the second round of judging for the Cybils.

Abby goes back to summer camp hoping to spend her time with her old friends Rose and Beth. There's one problem: Rose is too busy because she's a cabin assistant / camp counselor and Beth is now pierced and has declared herself too cool for the likes of Abby. Chiggers follows Abby's reluctant friendship with Shasta after another girl is sent home early for an infestation of chiggers.

The artwork is drawn with a bold stroke in stark black and white. The characters are often wild looking, bordering on animalistic. The style captures the awkwardness of teenagers as they transition from children to adults.

Until the end, Chiggers is pretty much just a coming of age at summer camp story. It tries to add in a bit of magical realism through these electrical balls that are following Shasta. I'm not sure what the point of these balls are. They come so late in the book that they are like an after thought. The novel could have been better with a greater sense of narrative direction.

Comments (6)


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Comment #1: Thursday, April, 2, 2009 at 17:31:50

Natasha @ Maw Books

I didn't like the illustrations in this book at all. Not my cup of tea.

Comment #2: Saturday, April 4, 2009 at 16:06:05


The illustrations didn't bother me. They also didn't wow me. I thought the weakest part though was in the plot development. Shasta's secret seemed tacked on.

Comment #3: Sunday, April, 5, 2009 at 19:03:36

Girl Detective

I thought it was a well-done version of a summer camp story--not sexed up, and realistic without being boring about the vicissitudes of female friendships.I especially thought Larson did a good job of using both text and art to tell the story.

I think Larson is the girlfriend of Bryan Lee O'Malley, author of the Scott Pilgrim graphic novels.

Comment #4: Tuesday, April 7, 2009 at 22:38:03


I liked Chiggers up to the point where the electricity things started following Shasta. It came too late in the story for me to make for a satisifying conclusion.

Comment #5: Wednesday, April, 8, 2009 at 00:25:21


I wasn't incredibly impressed with the story development and I thought it was okay. I wasn't real fond of the illustrations either.

Comment #6: Tuesday, April 7, 2009 at 22:45:12


I think the illustrations were appropriate for the story but I thought the magical aspect of the story was tacked on and awkward.

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