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DOWN IN THE DUMPS by Julien Neel


From the Lou! series, volume 3

by Julien Neel & illustrated by Julien Neel

Age Range: 9 - 14

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-8225-9165-8
Publisher: Graphic Universe

Spunky Lou is back with more drama, heartache and self-discovery.

Now 13, Lou is starting a new school year. She quickly befriends the sullen, overprivileged, goth-wannabe Mary Emily. At home, Lou's erratic mother is still alarmingly quirky and is still in a relationship with Richard. With all these changes transpiring so quickly, Lou runs away seeking solitude and answers. Upon returning, she is able to sort things out and is invited to take a seaside vacation with Mary Emily’s family. Book 4, The Perfect Summer, picks up on vacation, where Lou runs into past-love Tristan and new-love Paul. Lou's physical changes through these books are glaringly evident: She begins Book 3 still looking childlike, but by the end of Book 4, she begins to show womanly curves—a stark departure from one volume to the next. However, with her age, she seems to be losing her edge. Her funky fashions have fallen by the wayside in exchange for boys and friends, which feels  age-appropriate—even though it was fun to see her esoteric ensembles. Though Lou is changing, Neel's inviting, candy-colored art acts as a cohesive element pulling the whole series together. Those new to Lou will find a charming board game at the beginning of Book 3 that introduces former plotlines and characters.

A frothy, sugary early-adolescent offering. (Graphic fiction. 9-14)