Unpopular Bree Redfield goes to college and finds some invisible friends in Uy’s charming debut graphic novel.
Bree’s nerdy, studious ways ostracize her from her peers. She hopes college will be different from her lonely years at high school, a new start. She has the same social challenges, unable to fit in and make friends, until she rents an old house occupied by a band of ghost boys nobody but Bree can see. These five friendly ghost guys are energized by the changes Bree brings to their lifeless attic-bound existences. Basking in the attention of being noticed, they lavish Bree with ghost-cooked meals and cold embraces. The characters are well-drawn, likable and surprisingly believable. Uy’s art is edgy and sophisticated, with periodic bursts of self-conscious teens morphing into expressive, plump cartoon characters. The effect adds childlike whimsy—similar to seeing a frame from a Peanuts comic within a contemporary graphic novel. A threat to the polterguys materializes like a specter, interrupting the narrative, but the danger is unconvincing. Bree claims ownership of the ghosts, but her plan to help them avoid the inevitable is hazy, as is the peril she assumes by sticking her neck out for them. Bree uncharacteristically blows off her schoolwork to help the ghosts. She stumbles across some truths about herself and her new friends that neatly conclude her adventure. Too neatly perhaps; thanks to an easily resolved conflict, the ending is anticlimactic. There is a surprising reveal that hints at some promising developments, and we find that Bree is not yet done hanging out with ghost guys. She also discovers that to make friends, she needs to be one. Author and artist Uy includes a clever author’s notes section, in comic style, that gives an inside look at the creative process. It is clear Uy is not done with her polterguys either.
A lighthearted graphic ghost story with substance.