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"Sunny Side Up" is a quiet, earnest, heartfelt, and hilarious rendering of young Sunny's summer spent with her grandfather at a retirement home. For Sunny, a new friendship and a love for comic books emerges, but so too does the strength it takes to face the hardship her family is dealing with back home.
An important book, "Sunny Side Up" deals with an issue many young people face daily, as they witness family members or friends struggling with substance abuse problems. Incidentally, it is also as big-hearted and moving a book as you'll be able to find. It's absolutely wonderful.
Oh, how I loved this book. Sunny, our lead character, is sent to Florida for the summer to stay with her grandfather due to some troubles back home. Without graphic images or language, Holm conveys Sunny's brother's substance abuse problems with a gentle hand--you can tell the artwork and accompanying language were meticulously planned to help younger readers navigate a heavy but important issue. It's also wonderful to see how Sunny helps understand her family not only through talking with her grandfather but through voraciously reading comic books.
The story is not as dark as I may be painting it--there are very funny moments of levity and silliness, as you'd expect. The story takes place in 1975 and 1976, and even though I didn't come along until the 1980s, I loved recognizing everything from typical games played at a suburban Fourth of July Party to the style of storm door on Sunny's house in Pennsylvania.
This is going to earn some serious accolades. Great for fans of Matthew & Jennifer Holm (duh), Raina Telgemeier, and Cece Bell.
Sunny Lewin has been packed off to Florida to live with her grandfather for the summer. At first she thought Florida might be fun -- it is the home of Disney World, after all. But the place where Gramps lives is no amusement park. It’s full of . . . old people. Really old people.
Luckily, Sunny isn’t the only kid around. She meets Buzz, a boy who is completely obsessed with comic books, and soon they’re having adventures of their own: facing off against golfball-eating alligators, runaway cats, and mysteriously disappearing neighbors. But the question remains -- why is Sunny down in Florida in the first place? The answer lies in a family secret that won’t be secret to Sunny much longer. . .
About the Author
Jennifer L. Holm is the New York Times bestselling and three-time Newbery Honor Winning author of multiple novels for young readers. With her brother Matthew, Jennifer created the graphic novel series Babymouse and Squish. She lives in California.
Matthew Holm was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and has been drawing comics since he was in middle school. With his sister, Jennifer, Matthew created the graphic novel series Babymouse and Squish. He lives in Portland, Oregon.
Praise for Sunny Side Up :
* "Funny, poignant, and reassuringly upbeat." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review
* "A humorous yet emotional story with a memorable protagonist and detailed full-color art that make this a perfect choice for fans of Raina Telgemeier." -- School Library Journal, starred review
* [Holms] encourages young readers sharing a similar struggle to reach out (as Sunny eventually does) to the responsible adults in their lives.* -- The Horn Book, starred review
“Heartbreaking and hopeful, Sunny Side Up is just the thing to chase away the clouds.” --Raina Telgemeier, creator of Smile and Sisters