I debated on reading Victor and Nora: A Gotham Love Story for one (and yes, frankly shallow) reason: I did not like the cover. However, when I saw that my local library had a copy of Lauren Myracle’s graphic novel I decided to read it as I assumed that if I did not like it, I did not have to finish it.
It never occurred to me that this was going to be a “Mr. Fries” story. Or more accurately, the teen who would become the cold-hearted villain. Not that would have changed my feelings about reading this modern love story (even though I do enjoy a good (or bad?) villain). This classic tale (love and heartache, almost Romeo and Juliet level) uses the story of Victor Fries and Nora Faria as teens. I am not sure of the “old school storyline” (outside of Victor’s love of his wife went to the point of obsession, freezing her and later a life of crime), but everything is modernized for today’s reader (from things like cell phones to the fact Nora is of color). The story itself is that Myracle gives us the love of two broken teens, the obsessions they have, and talks about life and death. This all comes to light in a traditional graphic novel with special tools to make important points in this dark themed story.
However, one of my bigger complaints is that it is basic. I never really liked these people. I did not dislike them, but never got to know them outside of a small piece of their life. I felt sorry for them, but felt the path being taken was a “been there and done that” storyline. It was Young Adult 101. Yet, I think teens will be into this love story gone slightly wrong because of its reliability. I have just become a tad jaded because of all my YA reading, to be honest.
The biggest issue that most people could have is that it has several triggers: death of a sibling, talk of suicide, an attempt of suicide, the scientific experiments on animals, death of a parent, even the overprotective parent. Even Victor’s obsession with Nora (which was if not my least favorite part, one of them. But it also is one of the more realistic elements to the piece). However, they are mostly done in a compassionate manner. It is a teen novel, dealing with modern teen issues. I would not really recommend for under 13 years old. But of course, you just need to know your reader.
After I finished reading, I assume my dislike of that cover came from the clash of the red and blue, which was unpleasant for my senses. Which, of course, is the feel of the story (it is unpleasant to say the least) and the color choices (or lack of) are important to the story as well. The illustrations are what keep this story from being completely a cliché. They are bold, but not overpowering. They are soft, but not wishy washy. They mix few colors, but of course red and blue are important to the personality of the characters, the images you see and even the (for lack of a better word) personality of the background. Isaac Goodhart dabbles in a traditional graphic novel look, but when certain events happen the veer off into another usually familiar style.
The entire package makes this perhaps not a book everyone will love, but for sure you will walk away thinking