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on 11 March 2009
As a thirty-seven year old man I have not read a graphic novel in a long time. Not even sure if "graphic novel" is a term that is still used but that's besides the point. I was keen to read this as although it's published in the USA, it was written and created entirely by one from dear old Blighty.

The story is set in a sleepy town in Worcestershire, which is another reason to read it (name me another graphic novel set in Worcestershire)? It accounts the humdrum existence of a teenage girl Astrid and her friends who aspire to be something more. It sounds unoriginal but that is not the point. McKelvie gives the characters a depth and reality that makes one actually care for them which is something that a lot of "comic book" writers fail to do.

I will not spoil the plot too much but let's just say that Astrid is something more than your average gal. The artwork is great and as mentioned earlier the characters are credible. I feel the ending was a little rushed but overall a great piece of work.

I sincerely hope that Mr.McKelvie is given the freedom to develop not only his talent as an artist but also his talent as a storyteller. And believe me when I tell you that he has got genuine talent. The git.
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on 16 March 2016
This is just four issues long but it’s a lovely and worthwhile work. Set in a world of teenagers it feels authentic and realistic in terms of speech and characterisation. You can feel parallels with Wet Moon, Kissing Chaos and other contemporary books.

The art is superb. Not only realistic but so clean and simply beautiful to behold. Whilst there are a number of blank backgrounds these have been filled with intelligent colouring rather than simply left white and are much more effective that way.

There is an incredible title page where tiny thumbnails play out a whole scene that is narratively and stylistically brilliant and it’s a real shame very few moments come close to this creativity level in the rest of the book.

Thumbs Up!
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on 17 April 2011
I bought this book because I so enjoyed the two Phonogram books (Phonogram: Rue Britannia and Phonogram Volume 2: The Singles Club (Phonogram: the Singles Club)) on which Jamie McKelvie collaborated with Kieron Gillen. Unfortunately, this offering fell short of the moving, engaging and beautiful achievements of those mini series.

I'm 26 and despite being the sort of girl Astrid is - indie music, hard drinking outsider - when I was 17 I couldn't really find any strong connection to her - her characterisation is a little 2D and her friend David is more roundly drawn. She, and the other main female character Aubrey, look pretty but that seems to be as far as McKelvie went in developing them as characters whilst the male characters - in particular David - are very real and could be found in any sixth form or university in the country.

I'm sad to say that the plot is boringly predictable and by the end I was largely unconcerned about what resolution there would be - I simply didn't care enough about the characters. Perhaps part of the complication for me is that I am not particularly interested in magical realism/faerie folklore so the gestures towards that made me cringe more than read on in wonder.

The main redeeming feature of this book is, as with everything McKelvie is connected to, that it is completely beautiful and a stunning collection of artwork. I think if I were younger - 18 perhaps - I would have found this book spoke to me more about who I and my peers were but as an adult I found it lacking and, in places, rushed.
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on 30 March 2015
This was a gift and the recipient really liked it.
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on 17 January 2010
Another quirky winner from Gillen and McKelvie. The stultifying feeling of growing up in a nowhere town as a teenager and just knwoing that there must be more to life than this. And Astrid is proved right, there's so much more. Beautifully drawn and conveying a genuine feeling of teen frustration. An unusual and lovely creation: you don't have to be a teen to empathise with the characters and it's a refreshing change from superheroes.
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on 2 July 2009
Sadly it is clear that the writer is inexperienced. Not a bad attempt, but nothing I would recommend to anyone as a good read.
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