Gunnerkrigg Court: Orientation: 03/10/10
My husband is a regular reader of the web comic, Gunnerkrigg Court. I read it when I remember to but they don't offer an RSS feed and without that I just don't read the site each time it's updated. Like so many web comics, it's being published in book form too. The first volume: Gunnerkrigg Court: Orientation by Tom Siddell was the winner of a 2009 Cybils (young adult, graphic novel category). I read the book as a second round judge.
Orientation follows Antimony "Annie" Carver as she starts school at Gunnerkrigg Court midway through the year. Her mother has recently died and her father is absent. The boarding school becomes her home. Fortunately though the book stays focused on the plot without wasting time on describing just how magical and mysterious the school is.
Instead each chapter is an episode in Annie's boarding school life. She's haunted by a second shadow, she builds a robot, she participates in the science fair and of course discovers that the school isn't quite what it seems. These moments of discovery about the school though are peppered in the book, not done as a grand tour ala Harry Potter's first year at Hogwarts.
Add to the great story, equally wonderful illustrations. The color is bold. The characters are interesting without being uncanny and the setting of the school and the neighboring forest are detailed and luscious. The artwork reminds me of another wonderful web comic turned book series: Girl Genius.
The second volume is out, Research, and I plan to get a copy.