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The War at Ellsmere by Faith Erin Hicks – Review by Emma, Teen Blogger

The War at Ellsmere - book coverI was intrigued by the art and title of The War at Ellsmere by Canadian illustrator and author, Faith Erin Hicks

Hicks tells us the story of Juniper, a scholarship student at an elite boarding school. Juniper (Jun for short) has plans; she’s had them since her dad got sick and died. She’s going to be an incredible doctor and to get there she’s going to graduate from Ellsmere, an old, all-girls school, built by the eccentric and mysterious Ellsmere family. Once Jun reaches Ellsmere though, she realizes there’s more to the school than just focusing on homework and exams. Although Jun claims she’s there to learn and not make friends she and her quirky roommate, Cassie, soon become close. She and Jun support each other through the stress of exams. She is also the one who first tells Jun about the myth surrounding the Ellsmere family, a myth that includes a creature that lives in the forest on the school grounds. Cassie isn’t the only one Jun meets at Ellsmere. She also crosses paths with Emily, a bully, who hates Jun for being a scholarship student and tries to get her expelled. In the end, will the myth of Ellsmere have a part to play in the war between the girls?

One of my favourite parts of the story is when an essay contest takes place at Ellsmere. Cassie isn’t going to enter, but Jun convinces her to try by giving her some tips. Cassie ends up narrating a piece for Jun about the trees. The dialogue in this scene is captivating, the ideas Cassie comes up with are very moving and philosophical. This graphic novel is inspiring. The characters are powerful and they feel like real people. Faith Erin Hicks brings this story to life through her wonderful art. She weaves a great story and creates a good atmosphere. I really enjoyed The War at Ellsmere and would recommend it to anyone who wants a mix of modern situations and fantasy.

Halifax Public Libraries has a copy of The War at Ellsmere, as well as some of Faith Erin Hicks’ other graphic novels, such as Friends with Boys and Zombies Calling. If you’re looking for something else like The War at Ellsmere, I recommend Hope Larson’s, Chiggers.


Teen Blogger

[Editor's Note: Faith Erin Hicks currently lives in Vancouver, B.C., but she formerly lived here in Halifax, Nova Scotia.]

Friends With Boys - book coverZombies Calling - book coverChiggers - book cover


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