Faith Erin Hicks has been one of my favorite graphic novel creators for years. Her Nameless City trilogy is one of my absolute favorite series and it’s my go-to, must-read recommendation for pretty much anyone. Now she has set her sights on the world of young adult novels and I couldn’t be more excited. Hicks brings her experiences in the comic book industry to the nerdy contemporary landscape of young adult fiction with her newest book, Comics Will Break Your Heart.
‘Nerdy contemporary’ stories have become my favorite emerging subgenre in young adult fiction for obvious reasons. These are the kinds of stories that I wished I had growing up. Comics Will Break Your Heart is no exception. It’s exactly the kind of book I wish I could have read in high school.
Comics Will Break Your Heart offers up a unique twist on the usual Romeo and Juliet-style story by framing things through the aftermath of a comic book legal rights battle. Mir and Weldon’s families have a lot of bad blood between them despite the fact that their grandfathers worked together to create one of the most popular comic book series of all-time. That’s because Mir’s grandfather signed away his rights and spent decades fighting for them back burning every bridge possible in the process. Now, two generations removed, Mir has to reconcile her grandfather’s loss with her newfound relationship with Weldon the same summer a movie based on The TomorrowMen is in production.
It’s a clever set up, really. Not all comic book fans now in high school are probably aware of the copyright battles that have ensued throughout the history of some of their favorite comics but this might just get them interested in the real stories that have inspired Hick’s more romantic tale. As an adult comic book fan I have to say it was awesome.
But I’m not kidding when I say this is the kind of story I wish was around when I was a kid.
Mir reminds me a lot of myself.
No, no one in my family was ever cheated out of their creative endeavors. But I remember growing up in small towns and being a total nerd. I remember having so many of the same thoughts and concerns in high school that she has throughout the book. Plus I grew up thirty minutes from the Canadian border and Comics Will Break Your Heart takes place in small town Canada so I absolutely love it.
Hicks gives Mir a really authentic voice. She worries about the kind of things we all did. She doesn’t want to leave her friends behind. She doesn’t know how to pay for college or what she even wants to do. And the complications that arise in her relationship with Weldon – The TomorrowMen drama notwithstanding – are the sort of things that might come up when young people are in love.
Comics Will Break Your Heart is the perfect book for nerdy readers looking for a story that really speaks to them. There are hundreds of different pop culture references that will make you giggle when you recognize them and hop over to Wikipedia when you don’t. And San Diego Comic-Con gets to make an appearance which always makes me smile. Young adult readers will find a lot to love in this book and Faith Erin Hicks couldn’t have picked a better story for her debut prose novel.
If you’re looking for a great young adult read with a unique set up, you can’t go wrong with Comics Will Break Your Heart. Pick it up and let your nerd flag fly proudly!