Monday, November 30, 2015

Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm

Sunny Lewin is shipped off to her grandpa's house in Florida because her brother is addicted to drugs. Her original plans to spend the summer with her best friend at a cabin are cast aside as the family seeks much needed help. Sunny shows up at her grandpa's in a retirement village where the people are gray-haired, slow-moving (with a grumpy old man), and rules to keep kids out of their retirement village unless they have a visitor pass.

Neighbors give Sunny a macrame Barbie doll on a toilet roll and Grandpa's big outings involve going to the grocery store or post office. Sunny remembers times she spent with her brother in flashbacks where they went swimming and . This time the adult swim is made fun of. There were some weird clothes, crafts, and events during the seventies and I the poking fun at it stood out awkwardly, like the plaid pants of the time. This support of the character arcs is weak. For instance, Sunny's brother is rebelling against adults so he thinks the adult swim at the pool is stupid.

Sunny's character arc shows her covering for her older brother as he skips school, drinks, and smokes. He asks her to keep his secrets and she adores him so of course she helps him hide things from their parents. When she stays with her grandpa, he's hiding cigarettes and at the climax decides to confront him. She's not going to keep secrets when they are hurting the people she loves. I was most bothered by the stereotypes of retired people. Sunny doesn't change in her attitude toward them but they change in their attitude toward her.

The alternating stories of flashbacks with her brother and grandpa didn't quite work. The brother story was far more interesting than the stereotyped older grandpa story. Sunny meets a friend and they find ways to make money and read comics. The end felt rushed in its resolution and both stories lacked the depth that I usually come to expect from a Jennifer Holm's book. It's not bad, but it is not memorable either. This graphic novel is a quick read.

3 Smileys

1 comment:

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