11 February 2010

Refresh, Refresh by Danica Novgorodoff

As in times past, many teenage boys are growing up without dads. Refresh, Refresh illustrates the lives of three boys who are waiting for their dads to come home, hoping that the military and the war doesn't swallow their families whole. Gordon, Cody, and Josh are three friends whose dads are all in the Marine reserves, away at war. The boys try hard to act like men complete with fist fights, whiskey, and older women, but don't yet know how to grow up, illustrated clearly by their unwillingness to let go of war games, stuffed elephants, and sleigh rides in the snowfall. They have to survive with limited communications with the men they admire, through tough times at home with the families they are trying to help support, and despite the frustration of not knowing what to do with the rest of their lives, looking towards a future over which they seemingly have no control.

It is unclear whether this graphic novel speaks for or against military enlistment. Gordon, Cody, and Josh struggle daily with how they can spend their days making their fathers proudest, and spend most of their time unhappy. And yet, the boys stick together through their hardest days, no matter what. This story should remind readers that it isn't for us to judge how another behaves to survive. Recommended to older teen readers. This graphic novel is brief but intense.
Call number: YA GRAPHIC NOVGORODOFF (Teen Room)

Reviewed by kate the librarian

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