Title: Sincerely, Harriet
Author(s): Sarah Winifred Searle
Genre: Graphic Novel, Middle Grade
Published: January 1st 2019 by Graphic Universe (TM)
I received an ARC from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Harriet Flores struggles with boredom and an unrequited crush while learning to manage her chronic illness through a long, hot, 1990s summer in Chicago. She uses her imagination to cope, which sometimes gets her into trouble, as she makes up fantastical fibs and wonders if there are ghosts upstairs. One neighbor, Pearl, encourages Harriet to read and write, leading Harriet to have a breakthrough and discover the power of storytelling.
Rating: 5 stars
Harriet just moved to a new place with her parents, and she doesn’t have any friends yet. Her parents work a lot, so she spends most of her time at home trying to amuse herself, or talking to her old neighbour downstairs, Pearl. She makes up stories and pretends that she has more friends than she does. She wonders if the floor upstairs is haunted by a ghost, and writes letters to it just in case it exists. Also, she has multiple sclerosis.
This graphic novel had beautiful art, and a complex main character. I saw some other reviews calling her unlikeable because she makes up lies, but I can’t really fault a lonely kid for wanting to believe she has friends, and I also found that she has significant development even the course of this relatively short book.
It’s a slice-of-life story that doesn’t have much plot, but it has wonderful backgrounds, character development, and I felt like the art really gave back the loneliness and quiet that Harriet must have been feeling. It also touches on issues of both disability and racism. Not to mention that Harriet’s neighbour, Pearl has some serious awesome taste in books from what I’ve seen.
I also loved the sort-of open ending, and I felt like it was perfect for this story.
If you are looking for a quiet, quick read, then I definitely recommend this graphic novel.