Review: Elle(s): The New Girl
I love stories that feature characters with multiple or split personalities. It’s a trope that works in nearly every genre. Demonic possessions in horror, crazed killers in crime thrillers, unreliable narrators a la Fight Club. They all make for compelling stories. The coming-of-age story is one genre where this trope is seldom applied. That’s about to change thanks to Elle(s): The New Girl.
Released in the states by Europe Comics, Elle(s): The New Girl follows the titular character as she adjusts to life at a new high school. It’s hard enough for a single kid to move to a new school. Such difficulties would be exponentially tougher for a student with Multiple Personality Disorder. This is the plight Elle faces in this original graphic novel, written by Kid Toussaint.
Considering that the narrative revolves around Elle, Toussaint does a great job of developing her character. Even while her new friends come off as a little silly at times, Elle is always grounded and comes across very realistically. Toussaint also gives the reader a chance to get to know Elle before any of her split personalities are introduced. This is a smart move on the writer’s part, as it keeps her disorder from becoming gimmicky. I was very impressed with the strength of the English translation. All the dialogue makes sense and none of the context appears to have been lost. Although the narrative is straightforward, this heartwarming story does have a few interesting and unexpected twists.
Aveline Stokart’s artwork immediately catches the reader’s eye. It has a digital quality to it, almost like a two-dimensional Pixar film, yet it still leans closer to realism than animation. Stokart’s color choices make the tight line-work of her illustrations even better. She uses a bright color palate, giving each page a warm look. She also utilizes a fun mix of fonts that separate the regular dialogue from visual onomatopoeia and representations of text message conversations. My only complaint about the art is that there were a few panels where the placement of the speech bubbles made it hard to tell who was speaking. Beyond that minor and rare issue, the rest of the artwork is on point.
Elle(s) is an incredibly cute story about friendship and learning to be true to yourself. I really enjoyed reading a graphic novel that demystifies a common mental illness. Elle is relatable and the reader cannot help but root for her. The compelling story is made all the better by the near-flawless artwork. This title will keep the attention of readers of all ages but would be especially appropriate for a young adult audience.
Story: Kid Toussaint Art: Aveline Stokart
Story: 10 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: Buy
Europe Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review