Again a little later than planned due to technical issues, but I am delighted to be joining the TBR & Beyond Blog Tour for Anne of West Philly, a modern retelling of Anne of Green Gables, by Ivy Noelle Weir.
You can check out the rest of the tour schedule HERE
Disclaimer – I received a copy in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts are my own.
Anne of Green Gables with a twist: in this follow-up to Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy and The Secret Garden on 81st Street, this full-color graphic novel moves Anne Shirley to modern-day West Philadelphia, where where she finds new friends, new rivals, and a new family.
When Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert decide to foster a teenage girl for the first time, their lives are changed forever. Their redheaded foster daughter, Anne Shirley, is in search of an exciting life and has decided that West Philly is where she’s going to find it. Armed with a big personality and unstoppable creativity, Anne takes her new home by storm as she joins the robotics club, makes new friends in Diana and Gilbert, experiences first love, and turns the ordinary into the extraordinary. But as Anne starts to get comfortable, she discovers one thing she wasn’t looking for: a family.
I have to preface this review by saying that I have not read Anne of Green Gables although it is one that I want to read at some point, so I cannot comment on this modern retelling in comparison to the original. However, having read the author’s retelling of The Secret Garden I have great faith in that aspect of that book. In fact, I would go so far as to say that Ivy Noelle Weir has become a must-read to me throughout these two books, because she has such a wonderful way of telling stories that capture all the charm of these well-loved stories, and that feeling of losing yourself in the nostalgia of an older tale, with great emotional and a wonderful, not just modern but timely impact.
This is a middle-grade book, but the heart of this story and the lessons that can be drawn from it – are ones that stretch across the ages. From the struggle of trying to set down roots in a new location and making friends, to that impactful first love, to finding what you’re good at and embracing your own creativity, and learning how to apologise and work with others, it’s all here in this book – and done in a really relatable way that will appeal to a wide audience. I also loved the representation here – and this, in particular, is where it is so important for its target age range, because it embraces girls in science and robotics and celebrates it, and remembering some of the trouble I had in science classes where I was the only girl this is an important thing to showcase and it is done beautifully here.
The writing, of course, is beautifully paired with the art. The art style is fun and captures the spirit of this story perfectly, and it just adds another dimension to the story and to the characterisation, particularly with Anne. Her cheerful personality was just so well encapsulated by the art (and the variety of outfits), that it really helped her leap off the page.
An absolutely wonderful graphic novel, that deserves a space on every shelf.
Ivy Noelle Weir is a writer of comics and prose. She is the co-creator of the Dwayne McDuffie Award-winning graphic novel Archival Quality (Oni Press), the upcoming The Secret Garden on 81st Street (Little, Brown for Young Readers), and her writing has appeared in anthologies such as Princeless: Girls Rock (Action Lab Entertainment) and Dead Beats (A Wave Blue World). She lives in the greater Boston area with her husband and their two tiny, weird dogs.
If you’ve read it, or read it in the future, please feel free to shout at me about this fantastic book.