Avril Lavigne's Make 5 Wishes by Avril Lavigne
|Avril Lavigne's Make 5 Wishes by Avril Lavigne|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: A young and unhappy girl collects a demon granting her 5 wishes from a website. A very interesting and well-written pair of manga-format books.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 154||Date: September 2007|
|Publisher: Titan Books Ltd|
|External links: Author's website|
It has to be said that if there is a kind of book I would not normally be seen dead reading in public, then it is this. A small-format graphic novel, in bright vivid girly covers, with the "star" Avril Lavigne's name emblazoned in huge letters. Yet if I had been too proud to get this from the library then I would have missed out on a very effective and interesting quick read.
Hana might well be a bit of a cute young teenage girl, but nobody at her school notices her. If they're not bumping her out of the way and calling her a "'tard" (add your own prefix), they're just downright ignoring her. With no friends and no hobbies bar her records you would hope for a good home life, but no, mom and pop are always rowing, fit to burst and seemingly blaming some of their troubles on Hana.
She is on the surface a shy, lonesome and lonely girl, misunderstood so much that her mother decides to get her out and about and interested in something by packing her off to make day visits with a local "creepy, smelly, old" man. She has some fun pretending to be other people online and interacting with people she knows from school in secret, but all she can get keen on is Avril Lavigne's music, so much so the young popstar becomes her invisible companion, giving advice and a shoulder to not physically cry on.
Until a mysterious website offers her five wishes, which come courtesy of a small, doll-sized red demon, with a very individual demeanour. You know and I know one should always be careful what we wish for, in case it actually comes true, and the plot follows much the same line - especially when the genie-type character here is a very impish fellow who talks in a way Hana fails to understand, likes to urinate in public, and seems to take it on himself to grant her wishes in the most odd way.
And as you expect the girl starts off with a mind on world peace and so on, and instead rattles through her five, thinking instead of her popularity, time with the elderly neighbour, and so on. But this is where the joy of this book comes into play. We think we know what is happening with the story, and in a way are correct, but the way Hana makes her wishes and gets them granted is so disarming, so unusually plotted, I received several very pleasant surprises from the story.
As a graphic novel, too, it does its job very well. Breaking the rigidity of the small pages well, with many good angles of view, the lettering is bright and obvious, and the drawing very good, with really nice colouring. There's a grungy way of giving everything several pencilled outlines, and while the parents may look a little anonymous Hana and the other characters are very appealingly defined.
It was partly down to me not knowing how many volumes made up the story that led me to be so disarmed by the plotting, but I really was impressed with the whole experience - for a sort of franchise product with a pop star's name tagged on this is outstanding. Avril herself is certainly not the star, at least not in the way the artist's post-scripts suggest, but her presence is important to the story, and really should not be allowed to put anyone off - for the target audience of 12- to 15-year olds, and on the whole a female one, this book is a resounding success, and for anyone else is still recommended for being so well thought out, and beyond type.
As it is, there is only one sequel - the story concludes in part 2, which is practically as good. The artist has changed, but kept very much the same style, and while the colouring is a little flashier the two form a fine pair and really must be bought and read together. The second half features the Ready-Brek Kid, and perhaps fewer (yet greater) surprises, but still has a brilliant edge used to take the reader to unexpected places. I did begin to wonder if all the "pin-ups" of the demon and Hana used as chapter breaks were making brilliant value for money, but I should not quibble. The brace of books here in this story are well worth the exploration, and should be on everyone's wish-list.
Oh, and don't bother with the semi-animated reproductions on the project's website - they're smothered with Lavigne's inappropriate music and are not a patch on the paper format.
You can read more book reviews or buy Avril Lavigne's Make 5 Wishes by Avril Lavigne at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Avril Lavigne's Make 5 Wishes by Avril Lavigne at Amazon.com.
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