Genre: YA, Super Powers
Publisher: BOOM! Box on February 10, 2016
My thanks to the publisher for providing me with a digital review copy. No compensation was provided for this review, and all opinions are my own.
Jonesy is a self-described “cool dork” who spends her time making zines nobody reads, watching anime, and listening to riot grrrl bands and 1D simultaneously. View Spoiler » But she has a secret nobody knows. She has the power to make people fall in love! Anyone. With anything. She’s a cupid in plaid. With a Tumblr. There’s only one catch—it doesn’t work on herself. She’s gonna have to find love the old-fashioned way, and in the meantime, figure out how to distract herself from the real emotions she inevitably has to face when her powers go wrong… « Hide Spoiler
Jonesy is the kind of character that I could totally see running a book blog. Or at the very least, a very active niche Tumblr account. She’s a huge fan of pop music and anime, and even prints her own fandom zine that she tries to distribute to her peers. She marches to the beat of her own drum and it doesn’t always go over well, but Jonesy gives it her all and always makes a statement. But the most noteworthy thing about Jonesy isn’t her love of fandom culture or her unique sense of style…it’s her magical power. Jonesy can make people fall in love – with people, or with objects.
Just imagine your pushy, matchmaker friend had the ability to compel you to love someone else. That’s Jonesy. And as I’m sure you can imagine, it’s a surefire recipe for some crazy drama. But underneath the over the top antics is a really creative and fun narrative. From Valentine’s Day to Prom, Jonesy tells readers directly all about her most loathed topics. She’s also very vocal about her love for ferrets, her dad’s donut shop, and the pop-star Stuff. It’s all super cute and sweet, and it feels like a very genuine glimpse into the kinds of things that occupy the mind of a teenager.
Another win in my mind is the fantastic representation in JONESY VOL. 1, which features people of colour in all facets of the story and celebrates women of colour in particular. Jonesy herself is Latina, and her oldest friend Vikram and her new pal Susan are also PoC. Add to that the queer-friendly vibes (Susan has a crush on another girl) and this graphic novel is a perfect example of diversity in a fun, cute story. JONESY VOL. 1 also avoids many pitfalls of YA material, as Humphries transforms Susan from adversary and mean girl cliche into one of Jonesy’s closest friends. They call themselves The Secret Crush Investigation Squad and it’s amazing.
If you’ve read any other BOOM! Box titles like Lumberjanes, then you’re probably familiar with their flavour of storytelling: zany and sometimes absurd stories are the vehicle for some deeper truths about life, adolescence, identity, and popular culture. Sure, Jonesy has the ability to make people fall in love (with mixed success) and uses her powers mostly for her own purposes, but the heart of the story is about her struggle to make friends, fit in at school, and grapple with the reality of her parents’ divorce. There’s a lot going on underneath the surface of JONESY VOL. 1, and I think those seeking out diverse comfort reads will find great success with this story.
My only real issue with this graphic novel is the repetitive nature of the overall storyline; JONESY VOL. 1 is composed of four single issues, and each one has a “drama of the week” feel to it with Jonesy misusing her powers and then scrambling to put things to rights. I’m sure that this approach to storytelling works really well when readers are following the series with single issues, but when they’re all bound together in a volume it can get a bit tiresome. That said, I do like the overarching plot of the series, namely figuring out the extent of Jonesy’s powers and the b-plot following her idolization of the pop-star sensation, Stuff. I have some theories on where the story might go, and I’m excited to see how they pan out.
JONESY VOL. 1 is a clever, diverse graphic novel that’s full of heart and humour. Fans of comics and newcomers alike will find something to love here!