#GNCelebration: Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Today is the last #GNCelebration post! It has been wonderful to join Franki Sibberson and Mary Lee Hahn of A Year of Reading; Alyson Beecher of KidLit Frenzy; and Tammy Mulligan and Clare Landrigan of Assessment in Perspective in their October Graphic Novel Celebration with a post every Thursday. I have added a number of things to my TBR pile by tuning in to others’ posts as well.

nimona This week I thoroughly enjoyed Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona, which has earned the following, well-deserved accolades: Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards Nominee for Best Digital/Web Comic and National Book Award Nominee for Young People’s Literature. Stevenson, who is in her early 20s, started Nimona as a web comic while she was a student at Maryland Institute College of Art, and the work gained a tremendous and loyal online following.

Published in graphic novel form earlier this year, the book is a welcome addition to libraries serving middle and high schoolers, although I am sure there are many adults who would enjoy it, too. Nimona is a shapeshifter who usually manifests as a teen girl. One day she thrusts herself into the life of Lord Ballister Blackheart, demanding to play sidekick to his supervillain. It turns out that Blackheart has more of a moral compass than one might think, while Nimona’s background makes her prefer taking quick action and causing wanton destruction. The respect and care that develops between the two is the heart of the story, although the subplots of Blackheart’s relationship with good-guy nemesis Ambrosius Goldenloin and the  Institute’s dangerous secret plans are thought-provoking as well. All this is wrapped up in a package of spunk, snark, and fun which will be wildly appealing to teens.

Although my pick for the National Book Award winner is Neal Shusterman’s masterpiece Challenger Deep, Nimona proves a worth adversary and is one of the best graphic novels I have read in a long while.

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