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The Isobel Journal: Just a Northern Girl…

The Isobel Journal: Just a Northern Girl from Where Nothing Really Happens

by Isobel Harrop

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The Isobel Journal by Isobel Harrop is a collection of one panel comics and sketches from her day to day life. The author was a teenager at the time she made these drawings.

Isobel Harrop describes herself as living in the "North West of England, squished somewhere between Manchester and Liverpool." Her illustrations include her friends, people she's watched on the tele, boys she's interested in, and animals she likes. She's especially fond of river otters.

I read this book as a graphic novel for the CYBILs, but it strikes me more as a sketchbook, like Sketchtravel, than a graphic novel. Though there are themed chapters, and a hint of her romance with a boy and the messy breakup, there's no clear plot, no clear characters. ( )
  pussreboots | Feb 24, 2015 |
This book uses an interesting device and one that I wouldn't mind seeing used again. Isobel presents here the ordinary memoirs of a teenager, her feelings, dreams, private moments and silliness in the form of not just a journal but an art journal or a freestyle scrapbook. There is more art than text and I think the pictures say more than the words do, but together they are an intriguing look inside the mind/life of an ordinary teenager (and British at that). There is no plot, life seldom has one. If you enjoy reading other people's journals, diaries, etc. you may enjoy a peek inside Isobel's art journal. ( )
  ElizaJane | Dec 5, 2014 |
This is a really intriguing graphic...novel? There's not a lot of text here, but sometime in the third chapter ("Love") a narrative emerges about the writer/artist's first real boyfriend--and continues in the final chapter, "Breakup."

I love the minimalism of the composition here, and the scrapbook-like arrangement of drawings and text. This would be great to use in a YA lit class to show the range of graphic narratives that are out there these days. I think a lot of teens (especially artistic ones, like the narrator of the book) would really enjoy looking through the book over and over to revisit favorite images, and to try (as I did) to figure out when Isobel's love interest first shows up. The lack of text makes the story richer, in some ways, because there's so much for a reader to fill in.

It'll be interesting to see how American readers respond to this book, too. Though there are aspects of the text that clearly mark it as taking place in the north of England, and some mentions of British pop culture, I don't think these will put off most readers. After all, one of Isobel's fantasies is to be Beyonce, though she acknowledges that being Solange Knowles wouldn't be so bad, either. But the book, largely, lives up to its dedication: it is "for everyone stuck where nothing really happens."

[Note: I received this book as a free e-ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.] ( )
  rvhatha | Jun 3, 2014 |
This book was so cute! It was written in the form of a journal, with lots of drawings. I don't know, just read it! It's super quick and really quirky. I really want a physical copy of it because I feel that reading it on paper would add so much, but it was enjoyable nonetheless.

I received an e-galley of this book from NetGalley. ( )
  lilysreads | Mar 23, 2014 |
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Eighteen-year-old Isobel's narrative scrapbook uses mini-graphic novels, photographs, sketches, and captions to relate her witty observations about herself, friendship, and love.

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