Based on the hit graphic-novel series from BOOM! Studios, the publisher behind Lumberjanes, Giant Days follows the hilarious and heartfelt misadventures of three university first-years: Daisy, the innocent home-schooled girl; Susan, the sardonic wit; and Esther, the vivacious drama queen. While the girls seem very different, they become fast friends during their first week of university. And it’s a good thing they do, because in the giant adventure that is college, a friend who has your back is key—something Daisy discovers when she gets a little too involved in her extracurricular club, the Yogic Brethren of Zoise. When she starts acting strange and life around campus gets even stranger (missing students, secret handshakes, monogrammed robes everywhere . . .), Esther and Susan decide it’s up to them to investigate the weirdness and save their friend.
Updated Cherry Ames??
Susan, Daisy and Esther are very different women, but they become fast friends after meeting on their college dorm floor. Susan is premed, and trying to avoid her former boyfriend, whom she did not know was going to go to the same college. Daisy has led a sheltered life, having been raised and home schooled by her grandmother. Esther has a privileged background, but presents herself as a goth chick. Three are adjusting to the freedom of college life, going to parties, doing too much under aged drinking, and spending more time hanging out at the student union that they seem to spend going to classes. Susan gets a lot of her notes from fellow student Ed, which allows her to stay afloat with her more demanding course load. Esther, who is majoring in English literature, gets half way through the semester without ever seeming to have attended any classes. Daisy is a bit unfocused, and in an attempt to become more involved in campus life, signs up for 32 different groups during the Activity Fair. This is clearly not a viable way to live, so Esther and Susan help her extricate herself from all but one group. She remained in the Zoise fellowship, which is a yoga group with suspiciously narcotic cookies. Esther finds herself going to more classes while she is trying to stalk the very cool Vectra, who seems like she should be a soul mate, but who is not very nice to Esther. When Daisy's behavior becomes erratic and she disappears for several days, her friends have to track her down and figure out what the ulterior motives of Zoise are.
College is an exciting and somewhat frightening time and reading about the intricacies of daily life makes actually going off to college a bit easier. I loved Esther's melt down about all the "administration" required just to get through the day-- at home, if she needed shampoo, she just put it on a list, and it appeared! I wish this had shown the girls actually going to more classes and not bunking off so much, but the consequences of not showing up don't make this seem like a good idea!
Friendships in college are often very odd as well, so seeing these three girls hit it off was amusing. Susan is given to ratty jeans and flannel shirts, Esther embraces her Goth style, and Daisy is still firmly rooted in her childhood, but the three bond over ramen noodles, trying to get through all of the reading for courses, and navigating the difficult waters of adult relationships.
This novel is based on a comic by John Allison, and having some familiarity with those would make this a bit more engaging, but all of the background necessary is in the book. I just found that reading the strip helped solidify the characters in my mind a bit more. There are so few books that address the college experience, so readers who loved the college time travel tome Waking in Time (Angie Stanton, 2017) and want to know more about what it is like to be off without parental supervision will love this funny, bright romp about three friends trying to make their way in a new setting.