Review: Pumpkinheads

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell, Illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks

Genre: Graphic Novel, Young Adult
Maturity Level: 2
View on Goodreads

Deja and Josiah are seasonal best friends.

Every autumn, all through high school, they’ve worked together at the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world. (Not many people know that the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world is in Omaha, Nebraska, but it definitely is.) They say good-bye every Halloween, and they’re reunited every September 1.

But this Halloween is different—Josiah and Deja are finally seniors, and this is their last season at the pumpkin patch. Their last shift together. Their last good-bye.

Josiah’s ready to spend the whole night feeling melancholy about it. Deja isn’t ready to let him. She’s got a plan: What if—instead of moping and the usual slinging lima beans down at the Succotash Hut—they went out with a bang? They could see all the sights! Taste all the snacks! And Josiah could finally talk to that cute girl he’s been mooning over for three years . . .

What if their last shift was an adventure?

Are all graphic novels this fun and sweet and heartwarming? Or is this just another case of me + Rainbow = true love? Geez, I loved everything ABOUT this book!

Let me start by saying that I’ve literally never read a graphic novel, and this was definitely a bit different than I was expecting, especially pacing/length wise. I’ve read some comic runs, so I’m not coming in completely ignorant, but I can’t honestly say how this compares to other graphic novels. Just throwing that out there.

I. LOVE. FALL. Is this book blatantly capitalizing on the late 2010’s obsession with fall and pumpkin-spice? Absolutely. Do I care? No, no I do not. Because Rowell and Hicks made this pumpkin patch seem like a real place that I want to visit and work at every fall. This hit all the nostalgia buttons (especially impressive since I’ve never actually been to a pumpkin patch) right alongside the fall ones. You wouldn’t think a book about a pumpkin patch would have world building, but it did, and it was magnificent.

Deja was my absolute favorite. Hicks’ illustrations really made me fall in love with her, feel like she was my best friend. At key moments her face would just … flicker, and you would see everything she was trying to keep hidden. I loved her spirit, her outgoing personality, and the way she loved herself. She is an amazing friend. Can she be high school me’s friend?

Deja and Josiah had the cutest relationship! They reminded me of me and my best friend from high school, but totally gender-bent. Except, you know, we weren’t romantically interested in each other… NOT THE POINT! Their friendship is goals, and I loved the way they knew each other inside and out and always had each other’s backs. Plus, when the started dancing… *swoons*

My favorite thing about this graphic novel was how the writing and the illustrations played on each other. You simply could not enjoy this book without both. This has opened up a whole new world for me of books to enjoy, and I am now accepting suggestions for romantic graphic novels. GO!

The plot was just plain fun, and it moved a long a LOT faster than I expected it to. I finished the entire book in an afternoon. Like, two hours? Which is perfect, because that means I can read it every fall without feeling like I’m making a big commitment. I sense a new tradition coming! But seriously, I feel like there aren’t enough books out there these days that are just for fun. I love books that make me feel good, which this one absolutely did.

I also want to take a second to talk about the coloring. God. So gorgeous.

I know at this point I’m just gushing and not saying anything at all useful, but you all can just get over it. I loved this book, and if you like Halloween you probably will too. Now I need to excuse myself so I can start looking at flights to Omaha for next Halloween. I want to see a real-life pumpkin patch!

8 thoughts on “Review: Pumpkinheads

  1. This sounds really good.

    I don’t read a lot of YA but I’ve discovered a few really good graphic novels. And yes, it is a bonus that we can finish them just by staying up a little too late when our kids are down for the night and we should be in bed too. 🙂

    There is an interesting, quirky series starring Mirka, an Orthodox Jewish girl. Also, if you haven’t yet encountered Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales, they are the BEST!

    Liked by 1 person

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