For this final comic book I checked out of my local library I went with one just because it looked nice. The cover was nicely done (both art wise and how the binding blended in) and I liked the size of it in my hands. That was it, a purely superficial reason and given that comic books are half art anyway it felt like a pretty good reason to me.
Ivy by Sarah Oleksyk
Summary: Ivy lives in a small town and like all small town girls she has big dreams, to be a world-famous painter someday. But between her friends hanging out with other people, her mom telling her she has to go to college for business, not art, and the reps for art schools not liking her art it seems like the whole world is against her until she runs into a guy and suddenly it seems like a whole world of possibilities open up.
The Good: Well, if for some reason you haven't seen any of the many other stories out there about a teen in a small town who wants to be an artist (truly amazing how many want to be artists/writers versus any other career out there) then, well, this is a thing. It's got a solid beginning, middle, and end and a main character with a more complicated life which I feel like is more "realistic" than the many stories out there where a character has only one problem in their life instead of many. I'm sure many people would like it but Ivy just rubbed me the wrong way and since this is a story about her that means there wasn't much I did like about it.
The Bad: I believe that high school is one of the harder settings to do right since so many high schoolers are, well, asses, so you must portray that and yet still make them sympathetic to the reader so they care about what happens to these asses. This book does not succeed, while it's understandable that Ivy is under stress and is going to lash out she does it so often and with so little provocation sometimes that I just got frustrated with her, she's the not the kind of character whom I want to read about and root for (the chip on her shoulder is so big I wonder if there's any shoulder left). I was actually more frustrated with her mother than Ivy, I'm not sure if her mother was supposed to come off as a complicated person with a lot of issues or if Oleksyk didn't realize she had made her do a 180 by the end of the book but either way Ivy's mother came off as a rather flat character who was more plot device than fleshed out. Towards the end of the book there's a scene where Ivy is talking to another character, Charolette, who says that she had a lot of the same problems Ivy has gone through and all I could think was "but she at least seems like a more interesting character, why not make the story about her instead?!"
The Art: I liked the art, it had a rounded style to it that I prefer and some screentoning and shading to it, although when I saw the cover I did hope for a minute that it might be full color since I loved how the colors on the cover were done. It's not and oh well, it looks fine without it, I especially loved all the detail but into the scenery (especially how consistent it was) and the paneling flowed nicely as well.
I'm only giving this story 2 out of 5 stars since by the end I completely disliked Ivy and while I didn't feel like "she got what she deserved" I couldn't help but think that her wake-up call to what the real world was actually like was a long time coming. If you'd like to try out the book at least some of it is up on Oleksyk's website here.