Summer's over and it's time for Sunny Lewin to enter the strange and unfriendly hallways of . . . middle school. When her Gramps calls her from Florida to ask how she's doing, she always tells him she's fine. But the truth? Sunny is NOT having the best time. Not only is the whole middle school thing confusing . . . but life at home is confusing, too. Sunny misses her brother Dale, who's been sent to boarding school. But when Dale comes back, she STILL misses him . . . because he's changed. Luckily Sunny's got her best friend and a mysterious new neighbor on her side . . . because she is NOT going let all this confusion get her down. Instead, she's going to remain Sunny-side up!
Swing It, SunnyFeatured
Trouble at Home
'Swing It, Sunny' by Jennifer L. Holm is a graphic novel about middle school student, Sunny, and her strained relationship with her older brother, Dale, set in the 1970s, with ample pop culture references to make it as realistic as possible. While Dale is away, Sunny finds it hard to be at home without him. Most everything she does reminds her of him, and when he comes home to visit, she worries about him all the more. He doesn't act like she remembers, and it seems that he desperately wants to be anywhere else but home. While Sunny tries to keep her emotions in check and deal with them in her own way, everyone else in her life seems to be having issues, too. Her parents are trying to make sense of what they need to do about Dale, all while trying to take care of Sunny and her little brother. Sunny's grandpa calls and visits, and he seems to be the only one she can really talk to, since he seems to empathize with feeling separated from others, living in Florida and apart from his family himself.
Sunny spends time hanging out with her best friend, and as time goes on, she also makes friends with a new neighbor. Despite being a bit older than Sunny, the new girl takes Sunny under her wing, giving her a sense of purpose that helps her see that, given patience, life can sometimes change for the better.
Jennifer L. Holm shows in 'Swing It, Sunny' that everyone who tries hard enough can find a way to "swing it" and shape their lives the way they want them to be. It is up to each individual person to help themselves and not rely on outside people or forces to help their lives find meaning. Sunny's desire to have Dale as part of her life is definitely important, but when she realizes that he just needs to find himself again, it helps her find her own meaning, too. Through vivid and colorful illustrations, Matthew Holm helps readers to understand the deeper emotions that Sunny is experiencing.
This quick and understated read sheds a light on coping with troubles that seem hard to handle, but are not so far out of reach to fix, if one takes the time and effort to work on them.
Swings it out of the park!
Again Jennifer and Matt Holm prove they are the dynamic duo when it comes to graphic novels and story telling. Swing It Sunny takes place in the late 1970s in America to a young girl in middle school. It is the sequel to Sunny Side Up, but works well as a stand alone too. I loved the references to TV dinners, tv shows and even the pet rock references. Even for readers that see these references as more of a brief history lesson, in the long run it is easy to see that the every day struggles that middle schoolers faced in the 70s are easily relatable for children growing up today. This story has the perfect mixture of heart and humor that will keep any reader, even reluctant readers, engaged.
Jennifer and Matthew Holm keep the tone honest and straight forward and never talk down to their readers. For those who love graphic novels and want a fun, touching, that has the perfect combo of family drama with a little humor, you will love Swing It Sunny.
Great Story Telling