Synopsis from Simon & Schuster:
Nimona meets Paper Girls with a literary twist in this wickedly funny graphic novel about a teenager who is swept up in a strange new universe and must save it from an all-consuming evil in order to return home.
One dark and stormy night, Haley sees a stranger drowning in the river. Since her greatest passion is Gothic romance novels, she knows her moment has come. But when Haley leaps into the water to rescue the stranger, she awakens in Willowweep. It certainly looks like the setting of one of her favorite books: A stately manor. A sinister housekeeper. Three brooding brothers. There’s even a ghost.
Except Willowweep is not what it seems. Its romantic exterior hides the workings of a pocket universe—the only protection our world has against a great force of penultimate evil, and its defenses are crumbling. Could cruel fate make Haley the heroine that Willowweep needs?
About: The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor is a young adult fantasy graphic novel written by Shaenon K. Garrity and illustrated by Christopher Baldwin. It was recently published on 7/20/2021 by Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, paperback, 224 pages. The genres are graphic novel, middle grade fantasy, science fiction, and adventure. This book is intended for readers ages 12 and up, grades 7 and up. According to the publisher’s website, “Founded by legendary editor Margaret K. McElderry in 1972, Margaret K. McElderry Books is a boutique imprint of Simon & Schuster’s Children’s Division, recognized internationally as a publisher of literary author-driven fiction and nonfiction for the teen, middle grade, picture book, and poetry markets.” Please see below for more information about the author and publisher.
My Experience: I started reading The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor on 9/7/2021 and finished it on 9/8/2021. A fun read, this book with the brothers were hilarious. Especially their attempts at poetry. The serious brother gifted the maiden his lock of hair as a way to woo her! The youngest brother seems childish. It would have been great if readers were informed of their individual age. The illustrations made the story extra funny, with characters looking surprise with their extra wide open mouths. I liked the housekeeper with her perching up on the tip top of the chair just to see outside of the tall window. The ghost and the Bile’s true form was definitely unexpected. Yes, like Haley, I would prefer their former body. The tool to catch the Bile was clever and took me by surprise.
This book followed Haley. Her teacher just told her to pick a new topic for her book report because she did it again on gothic romance. On her way home, she saw someone in the water under the bridge. She jumped in to rescue him. They were washed up on the rocks and the next day some men found Haley and brought her to Willowweep Manor. The oldest brother, Laurence wanted to send Haley home but she wanted to stay to explore and recognized that the guy she rescued the night before was the middle brother. Laurence warned Haley that Willowweep Manor wasn’t safe for visitors. Haley soon found out that there’s this Bile that was trying to destroy Willowweep and she decided to stay to help rid of it.
The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor was an interesting read. I haven’t read anything like it so I enjoyed the unique story line. The brooding oldest brother and his dare to make his day any worse was a scene to be adored. The illustrations for his face was just right! There’s a bit of LGBT love at the end that I was not expecting, so despite the recommended reading age to be 12, I would say this book is for teens instead of middle grade like I originally thought. I liked that Haley decided for herself what she was instead of settling on the title given to her by the brothers. Also she alone decided what she can and can’t do instead of letting others decide for her. It’s inspiring for young readers to have strong characters to look up to. I recommend everyone to read this book!
I rate it 5 stars!
About the Author and Illustrator:
Shaenon K. Garrity is an award-winning cartoonist and writer best known for the webcomics Narbonic and Skin Horse. Her short stories have appeared in many science fiction magazines and anthologies, and she is the author of Dire Days of Willowweep Manor. She lives in Berkeley, California. Visit her at Shaenon.com. (Photo and info obtained from Simon & Schuster’s website, book pictures obtained from Edelweiss).
Christopher Baldwin was born in Greenfield, Massachusetts. He was a regular contributor to MAD Magazine for over a decade, and has drawn acclaimed webcomics including Bruno, Little Dee, and Spacetrawler. He has work exhibited or archived in the Roswell Museum and Art Center, the National Academy of Science, the Nevada Museum of Art, and the Cartoon Art Museum. He splits his time between Olympia, Washington, and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Visit him at BaldwinPage.com (Photo and info obtained from Simon & Schuster’s website).
More Information about Margaret K. McElderry Books
Website: http://simonandschusterpublishing.com/margaret-k-mcelderry-books/ | Twitter: www.twitter.com/simonteen | Facebook: www.facebook.com/simonteen | Instagram: www.instagram.com/simonteen
***Disclaimer: Many thanks to Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.