Stepping Stones and Apple Crush by Lucy Knisley: A Reed Reads! Book Rec

Stepping Stones and Apple Crush by Lucy Knisley

Where to find Stepping Stones at Reed Memorial Library:

Where to find Apple Crush at Reed Memorial Library:

Brittany from Youth Services is giving us a 2-for-1 recommendation with the Peapod Farms graphic novels! Read on to learn more about these middle grade reads.

Describing these books in her own words, Brittany says:

“Jen’s parents are divorcing, which entails a lot of changes for Jen. The biggest change is that she’s moving with her mom to a farm, much to Jen’s distaste. Jen prefers the city, where there are comic shops just down the street and restaurants that offer speedy take-out. To make matters worse, her mom’s boyfriend is also moving to the farm with them, which means his two daughters will spend the weekend with them. To top it all off, Jen is now expected to do farm chores, such as keeping after the chickens or helping at the farmer’s market.

Stepping Stones follows Jen as all these changes are happening. Her frustration mounts with every snide comment from her mother’s boyfriend, every compliment given to her new step-sister Andy at Jen’s expense, and every dirty farm chore tasked to her. All Jen wants is to be back in the city with her father and some peace and quiet to draw her comics.

Apple Crush, the follow-up graphic novel, picks up with Jen in the autumn. She and Andy are on better terms now, and Jen has gotten more used to farm life. She and a few other kids are helping the neighbor prepare for the upcoming haunted hayride that everyone is excited about. But more than apple cider wafting in the air is something else… Love. Surrounded by friends and classmates obsessed with crushes and love, Jen feels annoyed. Why does “love” have to ruin the much simpler dynamics of childhood?”

Stepping Stones and Apple Crush are excellently framed graphic novels for readers in their middle grade years or older. Even though Brittany is not the target audience for these graphic novels, she says that she very much still enjoyed Jen’s story and the way Lucy Knisley illustrated these works. She remarks, “These books are very slice-of-life with charm and personality. The story is simple yet layered, and is easy to relate to. The characters all seem to grow together very naturally. Moreover, because Jen is an artist, there are often ‘scanned pages’ from Jen’s notebook, which are fun to see juxtaposed with the main narrative’s comic panels. I also really loved the wordless moments where the reader can pick up on Jen’s emotions through visual cues.”

Brittany recommends Stepping Stones and Apple Crush to fans of Katie the Cat Sitter or the Click series, and she especially recommends Apple Crush for autumn reading. “It’s so atmospheric!” she adds.

Thanks for the recommendation, Brittany!

For more Reed Reads! Book Recs, browse this page.

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