Jo : An Adaptation of Little Women (Sort Of)
by Gros, Kathleen

A graphic-novel adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's classic follows the story of Jo, a modern eighth grader who writes a blog and worries about her sister's leukemia while their father is deployed overseas, before a neighbor's declaration challenges her to evaluate her growing feelings for a girl on the school paper. 35,000 first printing. Simultaneous and eBook. Illustrations.

A graphic-novel version of Little Women, with a few modern twists. The story begins with eighth grader Jo introducing the family via her blog: Oldest sister Meg is starting high school; precocious Amy, the youngest, loves to draw; Marmee works as a nurse; and Dad's overseas doing top-secret work for the army. Readers later learn that Beth, 11, is in remission for leukemia. On the first day of school, confident Freddie, editor of the school paper, invites Jo to join the newspaper club. Near Halloween, a boy named Laurie moves next door, and soon he and Jo are close friends. Valentine's Day sees Laurie admitting to a crush on Jo, which causes Jo to realize that she also has a crush-on Freddie. With help from wise, unconditionally accepting Marmee, Jo comes out, by the end of the school year writing about being gay and her fear of facing homophobia and rejection in a school newspaper article. The characterization and much of the setup come directly from Alcott's novel, and, as in that book, the loving, supportive family relationships are the strongest feature. This book deals with attraction in a way that will be comforting to readers. The clean, simple, full-color artwork suits the story well, and the layout of the panels is easy to follow. The March family is White; Freddie is Black. Louisa May Alcott would approve. (Graphic fiction. 9-13) Copyright Kirkus 2020 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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