As you can tell, I’m not very good at sticking to my list. There are so many great books to read out there! Including Astronaut Academy: Zero Gravity by Dave Roman. I had been dying to get my hands on a copy of this book since I saw Dave Roman talk about it at the SLJ Day of Dialog in May. And then I read some of Teen Boat online–the tag line alone is hilarious: “The angst of being a teen–the thrill of being a boat!” Funnier lines have rarely been written. So 2 months later, I finally got myself to a bookstore and bought myself a very shiny copy of Astronaut Academy. Should I have bought it for my library already? Yes. But it’s summer and we’re way behind on ordering so let’s not go there.
See, shiny! Who could resist a book like that?
Few people, especially if they cracked it open to page one where you are welcomed by the principal to Astronaut Academy. I’m revealing the true depths of my nerdiness here, but I have to admit that he reminds me of Cloud from Final Fantasy VII–especially the sword. If you are not taken in by goofy, nerdy principal, you will put the book down. This is okay because if that is not funny, the rest of the book will not tickle you either.
What truly surprised me about this book was that despite the goofiness, Roman really did build a world. I loved the part about everyone literally having multiple hearts to give away or mend. It wasn’t a one shot joke–it came back as we learned more about Hakata Soy and his angsty self. The characters interact and are true to themselves throughout the book, no matter who we’re following. The introductions and re-introductions of each character at the beginning of each chapter really gave the book an old school comic book feeling. Roman really delivered so much here, giving this graphic novel the best of traditional old school American comics, manga, nerd humor and really good, inventive storytelling. The more I write about it, the more impressed I get.
Bottom line: Funny + great storytelling + perfect structure for reluctant readers. Plus, the art is just so clear and bold–reminds me of one of my favorite graphic novelists, Raina Telgemeier AKA Dave Roman’s wife!