Thursday, June 23, 2016

Review: Juice Squeezers: The Great Bug Elevator

First let me make note that I have not been keeping up on my blogging here. I can make many excuses as to why not, including being too busy and not feeling well.  Also, I've been way behind on my reading list (or reading stack of books). But the truth is, I haven't felt like writing lately.  Writing is very difficult for me, at least in comparison to drawing or talking, and I haven't had the mental energy to get my self behind the keyboard and get going. But I am going to try and write as much as I can in the next few weeks, just to get myself back in the habit. I thought I'd start by looking at some of the stuff I've been reading lately.

Juice Squeezers is a wonderfully creative take about bug squishing kids. I remember being introduced to these kids in Dark Horse Presents, and when I saw the trade paperback at a con, I decided it was worth picking up.  And it certainly was!  Writer/artist Davis Lapham tells a very engaging story of a town in California with a big of a giant insect problem.  To combat this problem, the town secretly sends Jr. High kids underground to kill the bugs.

There's lot of intrigue on two fronts.  First, there's the mystery of the bugs. What are they, why are they here, and what are they doing?  There's even some nice moral questions as to whether or not killing large populations of possibly harmful insects is a good idea.  Also, how many people should know about the threat of the bugs? Next, is the personal trials the kids are put through.  There's strife between team members, fights with bullies at school (the kids might be good at squishing bugs, but they aren't great at fighting humans), questions about family, getting along with the new kid, and budding romance.  The mystery is compelling, but the personal issues are the heart of this book. David does an excellent job giving each kid (and the lesser-seen adults) a distinct personality with highlights and flaws.  Despite their strange job, the kids all act like real people.  They just belong to a rather exclusive club.

The paperback is small, or digest-sized (9 in, x 6 in.), which is nice and keeps it affordable and cute! I think every Jr. High library needs a copy of this on its shelves and I hope David produces some more Juicy bug-squishing tale


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