Will & Whit written and illustrated by Laura Lee Gulledge
Wilhelmina “Will” Huxstep has seen tragedy. A year ago, she lost both of her parents to a terrible car accident. Ever since then, Will has had a hard time coming to terms with her loss. Will finds joy in crafting lamps out of odd bits and pieces. But more than joy, the lamps give her solace, they ease her fear of the dark.
Spending her days between crafting, working at the family antique shop, and connecting with best friends Noel, Autumn, and Reese, Will longs for something more. So when an arts carnival rolls its way into her small mountainside town, Will jumps at the chance to, not only lend a hand, but to be a part of it.
But than Whitney, a.k.a. Whit, happens. A hurricane that has knocked the power out for days.Threatening to, not only only unnerve Will, but to close the art carnival before Will has the chance to show off her one of a kind light show.
Will & Whit, a graphic novel, written and illustrated by Laura Lee Gulledge isn’t just a story about a teenage girl finding her way in the world without her parents, it’s a story about overcoming fear, and persevering in the face of tragedy.
Gulledge’s writing is simple. But not in a bad way. The illustrations – the graphic part of this novel – are center stage. Illustrated with poise and an attention to detail readers will love the use of black and white. From the beginning readers get a sense that there’s something missing, a secret that hasn’t been uncovered. The use of shadow within the graphic novels helps heighten that sense of secrecy. As the graphic novel progresses, more and more light is shed upon the secrets, exposing more and more of who Will really is from the inside out.
Main character Will is a great leading lady. Besides being well illustrated (literally!), she’s a complex character that readers will love getting the chance to know. She’s an honest character, with real emotions. Because of this, Will is a character that readers will connect with, with sympathize for, and will identify to.
Beyond great writing/illustrating, and beyond a great character, Will & Whit’s plot is one of a kind. Going into this graphic novels readers will assume that Whit is a person, and why shouldn’t that be assumed? After all, judging from the cover art, there are two people – presumably Will and Whit. Whit is a hurricane, a strong one that knocks the power out for days.
This is a story, not only about a hurricane’s effects on a small town, but on one specific girl: Will. Will is afraid of the dark, through Whit she is forced to examine her feelings on why she’s afraid, and is forced to face her fears head on.
Will & Whit was a really enjoyable read. It was fun, full of honest emotions, and relatable – everything that makes for a great read. And it has pictures! Who doesn’t love a good book with pictures!