‘Swing It, Sunny’ by Jennifer L. Holm is a graphic novel about middle school student, Sunny, and her strained relationship with her older brother, Dale. While Dale is away, Sunny finds it hard to be at home without him. Most everything she does reminds her of him, and when he comes home to visit, she worries about him all the more. He doesn’t act like she remembers, and it seems that he desperately wants to be anywhere else but home. While Sunny tries to keep her emotions in check and deal with them in her own way, everyone else in her life seems to be having issues, too. Her parents are trying to make sense of what they need to do about Dale, all while trying to take care of Sunny and her little brother. Sunny’s grandpa calls and visits, and he seems to be the only one she can really talk to, since he seems to empathize with feeling separated from others, living in Florida and apart from his family himself.
Sunny spends time hanging out with her best friend, and as time goes on, she also makes friends with a new neighbor. Despite being a bit older than Sunny, the new girl takes Sunny under her wing, giving her a sense of purpose that helps her see that, given patience, life can sometimes change for the better.
Jennifer L. Holm shows in ‘Swing It, Sunny’ that everyone who tries hard enough can find a way to “swing it” and shape their lives the way they want them to be. It is up to each individual person to help themselves and not rely on outside people or forces to help their lives find meaning. Sunny’s desire to have Dale as part of her life is definitely important, but when she realizes that he just needs to find himself again, it helps her find her own meaning, too. Through vivid and colorful illustrations, Matthew Holm helps readers to understand the deeper emotions that Sunny is experiencing.
This quick and understated read sheds a light on coping with troubles that seem hard to handle, but are not so far out of reach to fix, if one takes the time and effort to work on them.
You can find ‘Swing It, Sunny’ by Jennifer L. Holm here.
*Review originally posted at YABooksCentral.com*