If you are in the mood for a spooky graphic novel to read for this Halloween, do consider picking up Courtney Crumrin and the Night Things which has just the right touch of spookiness with a snarky main character.
Courtney's parents have dragged her out to a high-to-do suburb to live with her creepy Great Uncle Aloysius in his spooky old house. She's not only the new kid in school, but she also discovers strange things lurking under her bed.
Review: Courtney Crumrin is a snarky, rude, precociously misanthropic teen who is brought to a new town by her grasping, negligent parents, where they stay for free in a rich great-uncle's mansion while trying to climb the social ladder. Courtney may not sound pleasant but I actually really liked her and I found myself rooting for her. She has no friends and doesn't fit in, but soon discovers that her mysterious Uncle Aloysius has some interesting books and more interesting hobbies, and that all kinds of ghouls and nightly creatures hang around the mansion, and the surrounding town.
Unlike the other graphic novels I read, Courtney Crumrin and the Night Things is more episodic with three separate adventures/stories in which Courtney has adventures with a goblin in the woods, meddles with magic to deal with bullies and her social isolation, and has to go rescue an infant she is babysitting from the Goblin Market. Finally, she is almost replaced by a doppleganger.
The author does a good job balancing the dark and grim with some dry humor. The setting is definitely has a haunted house feeling and I really liked how Courtney and Uncle Aloysius form a bond. I was, however, not fan of the artwork in this graphic novel. I found the panels were too crammed in with illustrations and dialogue bubbles. I also thought Courtney looked a lot like those Bratz dolls you see at the toy store. I did enjoy this volume enough to seek out the other volumes in this series.
Rating: 4 stars
Words of Caution: There are disturbing images and scary stories for young readers. Recommended for Grades 5 and up.
If you like this book try: Courtney Crumrin and the Coven of Mystics (Courtney Crumrin, #2) by Ted Naifeh, Coraline by Neil Gaiman, Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol, Mercury by Hope Larson,