18th September, 2019

Review: Pumpkin Heads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith erin hicks (First Second)

If you are looking for a cute graphic novel that will get you into the spirit for autumn, Rainbow Rowell's Pumpkin Heads will be just right. It has a sweet story about friendship and the changes that inevitably happen as we grow up, illustrated beautifully by the amazingly talented Faith Erin Hicks. 

Deja and Josiah are seasonal best friends. Every Halloween season, for three years, they’ve worked together at the  pumpkin patch. This Halloween, however, is different as Josiah and Deja are finally seniors, and this is their last season at the pumpkin patch. Their last shift together. Their last good-bye.

Josiah’s ready to spend the whole night feeling melancholy about it. Deja isn’t ready to let him. She’s got a plan: What if—instead of moping and the usual slinging lima beans down at the Succotash Hut—they went out with a bang? They could see all the sights! Taste all the snacks! And Josiah could finally talk to that cute girl he’s been mooning over for three years...

I read this book within a couple of hours on a rainy autumn afternoon. And then I read it again. And I still want to read it again. I'll probably do so before Halloween but it will also most definitely become one of my seasonal rereads. It's just perfect in so many different ways and honestly, I want to be in this story. I want to experience the smells of kettle korn and succotash and find a shortcut through the corn maze.

The atmosphere of the pumpkin patch perfectly came through. Hicks' art is stunning and blends flawlessly with Rowell's story, and through this both artists created a wonderful narrative that is funny, moving and mesmerising - all at the same time. It's essentially autumn banned on the pages of a book.

Deja and Josiah are lovely characters, both distinct and extremely endearing. I also enjoyed how Deja's dating both boys and girls was handled very casually and as something that is perfectly normal (which it obviously is). The way the two main characters convey the sadness of spending their last night in the place they both love from the bottom of their hearts is enchanting, and the reader is immediately drawn into the story, joining the characters in their shenanigans. We follow Josiah on his quest to finally talk to "fudge girl" and, in the process, get to meet all kinds of weird and interesting people as well as a marauding goat and an annoying, thieving muppet of a kid. (Oh, and I've learned about the most scrumptious sounding icecream creation in the world.)

Sillyness meets philosophical ponderings, mixed with emotion galore. This is where Rowell and Hicks' art thrillingly works together: the dialogues of the first are perfectly supported by the artwork of the latter. And I loved that there was a positive outlook in the end with potential for a sequel. Yes, Rainbow and Faith, please please please do a Christmas book together. We want to know more about Deja and Josiah!

Rating: 5/5 stars

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All texts and photographs are mine, unless indicated otherwise.