Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Honor Girl

Thrash, Maggie (Author/Illustrator)
Candlewick Press 2015. 270 pages
First published: 2015
ISBN: 9780763673826 (hardcover)
9780763687557 (paperback)
Original language: English
Book type: Graphic Text
Book genre: Memoir

Text Elements:

characterization, layout, panel arrangement, point of view

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Every summer, Maggie goes to Camp Bellflower for Girls. It is a tradition-bound camp where no one would ever think to break the rules. At fifteen, her identity is shaken when she falls in love with a camp counsellor, Erin. As rumours about her being a lesbian begin to circulate, camp life becomes challenging. Her only escape is to the rifle range where she exceeds even her own expectations.

The story is masterfully told in Maggie’s voice through dialogue exchanges between the campers. This engrossing read is in turns funny, poignant and agonizing: “Say there are a hundred rumours about you and you refuse to confirm or deny any of them. Maybe there’s one true thing hidden in there.… But no one would ever know.”

The gentle lines and soft colors of the ink and watercolour illustrations evoke the vulnerability of youth and exploration. Emotion is captured in simple gestures, as when Maggie sits on the porch, defeated, cast in sunlight, a crumpled letter to Erin in her hand.

This extraordinary graphic memoir manages to transport readers straight into the heart and mind of the protagonist. Humour, intensity and incredible honesty relate this teenager’s experience with love and identity, in a manner that makes it universal.

  •  Consider the conventions of graphic memoirs that combine genre (memoir) and mode (graphic texts). How do the different panel arrangements, line, and colour contribute to relay a sense of time and place in the graphic memoir?
  •  

    Turn to the opening splash page. What do you notice? What do you think it might mean? What makes this graphic novel a memoir?

  •  

    Compare the camp setting of this text with the settings in other memoirs about young adults. In these texts, what settings do young people find themselves in? How do power and a sense of self-determination work in these different settings?

  •  Discuss your favourite comic strips. Review terminology related to graphic novels (layout, panels, captions, speech bubbles, sound effects, etc.).
  •  

    Discuss summer camps and the activities that usually take place there. What are the best (worst) aspects of going to an overnight camp? Watch the Honor Girl book trailer online and make predictions about this graphic novel.

  •  

    The author writes to you and wants to know what you think. How could the plot change? What could the characters do differently? Discuss these questions with a partner.

  •  Write a story using this one as a model. Create a five-page comic strip with the same title, addressing the challenges of being a teen and being different.
  • To construct his/her identity
  • To cooperate with others
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Personal and Career Planning
  • Personal Development
  • Physical Education and Health