Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 369
engaging graphic novel
Overall rating
Writing Style
POISON IVY: THORNS is an intriguing graphic novel that takes us back to the origin story for Poison Ivy. Pamela, whose mother had wanted to name her Ivy, is living under her father's cruel thumb. At school, she is being harassed by the guy who took her to homecoming, Brett, whose crimes and cruelty seem to be excusable to everyone around her as he comes from a "good family." Then, Alice Oh enters the scene, standing up for Pamela and soon staying with her while her home has been declared dangerous due to the poisonous gas coming from the park.

After Alice moves in, she helps Pamela find her voice and supports her as those around her continually wrong her. Pamela begins to forge her own path- one that exacts revenge and will not let the men around her overpower her any longer.

What I loved: The story is really intriguing, and it deals with thought-provoking themes around harassment, problems with reporting, and abuse. The importance of support and damage of not believing the survivor are clear throughout the story. Pamela is a compelling character, torn between wanting to do the right thing and protect herself. I appreciated the presence of Alice, who can help provide an outside perspective and aid her as she questions those around her. Having someone to trust is truly important.

The art throughout is lovely, using earth-tones and details that really bring the atmosphere to life. The characters are quite emotive throughout, and I appreciated the use of color and details to really set the emotional stage. This is a book that is largely told through the images, and they were spot-on. As such, the story never gets bogged down by too many words, it is always clear who is speaking, and there are never any word-dumps. The book allows the images to speak for themselves when appropriate, making for a more immersive graphic novel.

What left me wanting more: I wanted a bit more to the backstory to fully understand the steps leading to the present. We do get some flashbacks that fill in missing information a bit (around her mother and Brett), but I would have preferred to see these events first to really lead into the rest of the story.

Final verdict: An intriguing origin story, POISON IVY: THORNS is a compelling graphic novel about abuse, harassment, and claiming your own power.
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