I received this copy via NetGalley, in return for an honest review.
The Isobel Journal by Isobel Harrop.
“Just a Northern Girl from Where Nothing Really Happens”
This quirky, narrative scrapbook gives readers a witty, honest look at what it means to be a teenager. Using mini-graphic novels, photos, sketches, and captions, The Isobel Journal offers a unique glimpse into the creative life of eighteen-year old Isobel.
The Isobel Journal is full of one-liners to live by, and doodles to go with them. It’s fun and quirky, satisfying to flip through and find countless things you relate to. Honestly, it’s the book I’d like to keep until my niece is old enough to read it. Because one day, like most of us do, she’ll be in dire need of a guidebook to navigate friends, cute animals, love, and break-ups.
The novel is predominantly filled with doodles of people, cartoonish-yet-astute observations of the people around her, and herself. In a strange way, reading this journal is like watching a whole group of coming-of-age moments at the same time. At times it feels a little immature for an eighteen-year old, but that’s to be expected considering it’s a collection of doodles and thoughts over time, making it a perfect gift for a teen or pre-teen reader.
The Isobel Journal is aesthetically pleasing in every way. From the drawings to the colour-schemes; the juxtaposition of clean lines with scribbles, white back-grounds to block colours, drawings on blank, lined, graph paper.
The final chapter, simply titled ‘breaking up’ is devastatingly relatable. After 180ish pages of frivolous, cute silliness, it is upsetting for a reader who was rooting for Isobel, disappointing that she is broken by the things we all have been broken by. The ending, however, is perfect: succinctly positive, and worth the worry.
The Isobel Diaries is a quick, easy read, but there are certain pages you’ll sit on and ponder for longer than others. I can see myself picking this journal up over and over again as time goes on. You should do the same too.
(Oh, and Isobel, I love sea otters too. Let’s be friends.)
My personal rating: 5/5. Amazon average: 4.4/5. Goodreads average: 3.87/5.
Publishers: Hot Key Books