Friday, October 26, 2012

Review: Her Permanent Record by Jimmy Gownley

Her Permanent Record. by Jimmy Gownley. August 28, 2012. Atheneum Books for Young Readers. 160 pages. ISBN: 9781416986140

On the opening pages of Her Permanent Record, the conclusion to my favorite graphic novel series, Amelia Rules, Amelia stands on the street with her past selves, talking to herself at various difficult points in her life, trying to figure out how it all adds up. There could be no better beginning, as this final book brings Amelia’s life full circle, and presents the sum total of her experiences with her parents, the members of GASP, and most of all, her Aunt Tanner. When Tanner goes missing, everyone else, from Amelia’s mom to Tanner’s boyfriend, wants to just let her go, figuring she will turn up when life gets easier again, knowing how she hates to struggle with the tough stuff. It is only Amelia, who remembers all that Tanner has done for her, who is determined to track her down, no matter the consequences.

What I have loved about this series from the beginning is Jimmy Gownley’s bittersweet sense of humor. Amelia has a spirited personality, and many of her interactions, especially in the early books, make me laugh, but there is also so much pain in her life, which Gownley has drawn out slowly over the eight books in the series. This conclusion, where things are finally okay again, is therefore highly satisfying and emotional because Amelia finally makes it. We’ve been rooting for her all along, and to see everything come together put a large lump in my throat as I finished the last few pages.

I have heard this series compared to Peanuts in the past, and I have always thought that was an apt comparison for the first three or four books in the series. These later ones, though, are in a class by themselves, and I can’t think of another series that chronicles the joy and pain of the early tween years so honestly and so effectively. I’m truly sad that the series is over, but I’m pleased that Gownley has given us such wonderful books to share with kids who are struggling with their own growing pains.

All fans of the series won’t want to miss this one. All libraries that don’t yet own this series need to add it to their wishlists. All kids who haven’t yet met Amelia are in for a wonderful journey, the conclusion of which will in no way disappoint.

I borrowed Her Permanent Record from my local public library. 

For more about this book, visit Goodreads and Worldcat.

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