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Pumpkinheads: 12/17/19


Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks is a graphic novel romance set on Halloween, on the last day Josiah and Deja will be selling succotash together before college. For the last three years Josiah has had a crush on the fudge girl but has never spoken to her. Deja's mission is to make that happen in these last few hours.

Set in Omaha, Pumpkinheads has a delightful sense of authenticity. This pumpkin patch is both location specific and universal in its humor. Keeping everything contained in one place, shown with a map on the end papers, and happening in a fixed amount of time, makes for tight storytelling.

Josiah, clueless and enthusiastic as he is, is best boi. Deja is a great friend and just as over the top as he is. Thankfully the book gives us a chance to see the fudge girl in action and even better, Josiah is clued in enough to realize the horrible mistake he's made.

The illustrations are by the talented Faith Erin Hicks. She brings her brand of visual humor to Rowell's situational comedy.

This graphic novel also sits on the road narrative spectrum. Josiah and Deja are a couple (33), traveling together. At first as friends, but later as more. Their destination is uhoria (CC) — namely the reluctance to give up on three great years of seasonal work and a fear of the future. The route is through the cornfield (FF) (and maize maze) but not a spectrum maze because there is no sense of danger. All together Pumpkinheads is the tale of a couple traveling through uhoria via the cornfield in search of love.

The book ends on a hook involving working as Santa's elves. I hope that means a sequel.

Five stars

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