I am combining the reviews for The Girl From the Sea by Molly Ostertag and Lilla the Accidental Witch by Eleanor Crewes because they have similar themes and I am not really sure I can do a 250 word count review for them as they are similar to many other titles I have reviewed here and would be repeating myself. Both books are about being yourself, learning to trust your friends and family and finally, coming out and into your own. But they are worth reading and/or adding to your collection of friendship and GLBTQ books.
The Girl from the Sea is for 10 to 15-year-olds (the 15 is a bit on the older side, but it does have potential for that older reader as the characters are 15-16 years-old themselves). Ostertag made a coming-of-age story with a few twists, magic and is sweet. Friends, family, and love comes to life in colorful images that are comic like, flow and compliments the text. When Morgan meets Keltie, the fact she has crazy, beautiful eyes and a kissable looking mouth is the least odd thing about her. The girls have their own secrets, but when they trust each other, and the other people around them, that is when secrets become less hard to handle. In addition to the GLBQ theme, there are conservation elements, dealing with divorce and dealing with siblings.
I can now say I have read all of Eleanor Crewes’ published books. All two of them. Unknown while reading, Lilla the Accidental Witch, I learned she is the author of The Times I Knew I was Gay. This time, the graphic novel is in a more traditional format and while based on some of her own life experiences, family home and their traditions, it is less “mature” but not childish. Lilla and her sister go to live with their aunt in Italy for several weeks, where Lilla learns she is a witch and the finds the courage to stand up for herself and tell her family what she really wants to say. There is much fun to have, a quick read for the adult and ages strong 8-9 (as there are some spookier elements dealing with a witch and spirit dogs trying to trick Lilla) to 12 will enjoy.
Both books are also similar in their style of illustrations but have several differences. Crewes drew a softer look to their book, with good colors and details, but not overwhelming. It has an old school feeling to them. Whereas Ostertag created images that are bold, bright, new looking and sometimes “boom” in face. The details fit what is needed and are clever.