I went in to Non Pratt’s novelisation of the Giant Days graphic novels knowing next to nothing about John Allison’s series, and came out of the chaotic, wonderful misadventure with three new fictional friends.
Susan, Esther and Daisy are three first year university students dipping their toes into the unknown shores of life away from home or the first time. Between skeletons of the past falling from Susan’s closet, Esther’s desperate attempt to get in with the cool crowd, and Daisy’s homeschooled enthusiasm to try each and every new activity on campus; the three girls’ lives are a whirlwind of new activities and confusion.
Giant Days touches upon so much about self-discovery and friendship, and just like real life nothing dramatic happens and somehow everything dramatic happens. The friendship that ties the three main characters is often pinched and stretched, but it always springs back into shape, and as a reader it’s impossible not to adore the group’s dynamic. I’ve since checked out the first few volumes of the graphic novels, and the way Pratt brings the Giant Days characters to the page is a perfect blend of hilarious humour and chaotic heart, creating a wonderful novel that acts as an ideal entry point for new fans of the series or as a warm companion to fans of Allison’s work.
There’s not many authors in the UKYA scene who can wrap together a surreal contemporary setting, with three very different characters, tied together with a meandering plot this deftly, but with Non Pratt’s whip-sharp dialogue and skill for balancing laughs with real emotional depth, Giant Days is an absolute triumph.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a graphic novel to catch up on.