A standout graphic-novel series continues on its well-thought-out path.
Precocious preteen Amelia McBride returns in a relatively somber seventh volume, in which she encounters her first adolescent existential crisis. Though she spends her days as Princess Powerful hanging with her superhero friends, G.A.S.P. (the Gathering of Awesome Super Pals), young Amelia is growing up and now straddles the line between angst-ridden adolescence and her fading carefree childhood. For the first time in her young life, she realizes that nothing is permanent, and not everything is fair: Her parents’ marriage has dissolved into divorce; her friend’s father is fighting in Afghanistan, which affects their relationship; her school’s principal treats her unjustly and even her beloved rock-star Aunt Tanner, whom she counted on for support, is now on tour. Though it is a slender volume, Gownley does not shy away from tough topics, presenting them in a way that is both approachable and understandable to kids. Reminiscent of an illustrated Alice McKinley, Amelia is growing up with her readership and taking them along on her often bumpy voyage. With all of the tribulations Amelia must deal with, she paints an accurate portrait of what preteens must deal with and how fast they sometimes have to grow up.
Well done; here’s to the next installment. (Graphic fiction. 9-13)