Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash

Reviewed by Sara, Simsbury Library

Honor Girl: A Graphic Memoir

As I was reading this graphic memoir, I realized that I am probably not qualified to really review a graphic book. However, I love graphic stories and found Honor Girl to be an important book for our teens of today.

Maggie, aged 15, is attending girls camp in 2000. She crushes on Erin, 19, who is a camp counselor and openly gay. When Maggie discovers she likes Erin, and in turn realizing that she is gay as well, she only tells a few people at camp. Of course word gets around. She gets spoken to about “don’t ask, don’t tell” and that girls camp is really not a place for girls like her. She gets close to Erin at times but it doesn’t get past holding hands.

Outside of the romance, camp is filled with a lot of fun and interesting stories for Maggie. These include sleepwalking in the middle of the night, rifle practice and awards, as well as getting stranded during a flood that prevented them from going back across the river to camp.

Can a graphic book win the Printz? American Born Chinese won in 2007 and This One Summer won an honor last year. Thrash writes a honest, forthcoming story about what it was like, for one summer at least, to grow up a gay teen in a place that does not accept gays. The story itself draws you into Maggie’s world of summer camp and you want to know the outcome. The drawings are very simple. I had a hard time a few times distinguishing one blond girl from another. I felt that the drawings were complete and easy to understand. Thrash has a memoir that will reach today’s teens, especially speaking to those who are questioning their sexuality or have a friend doing so. Can it win the Printz? Again, I think there is a lot of competition but I wouldn’t put it past an Honor.

On a fun note, it was cool to discover that Maggie and I were the same age in the story (being 15 in the year 2000) and in love with Backstreet Boys. If you happened to have loved boy bands in the 90s, early 2000s, you should check out Maggie’s impersonation of Kevin Richardson.

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