Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Nola's Worlds: Changing Moon

Nola's Worlds: Changing Moon

Mathieu Mariolle
Illustrator:  MiniKim , Pop 
Graphic Novel  Series
For ages 9 to 12
Lerner Books, 2010   ISBN: 978-0761365389

Nola lives in lovely Alta Donna, a place that is a “peaceful and pleasant little paradise.” As far as Nola is concerned, it is also boring. School is boring and she is always getting into trouble because more often than not she is late. In fact the principal has even threatened to suspend her if she is late again. In addition to being bored out of her mind, Nola is also lonely. Her parents are divorced and she hardly sees either of them. Her mother is a driven and ambitious professional who rarely has time for Nola.

Then one day, a day that begins normally enough, life starts to become rather interesting.  Nola hears the new boy, Damiano, talking to a girl called Ines about how they “shouldn’t stand out.” Nola is very intrigued. What kind of secret do the two have? Then a school librarian is injured, and Nola decides to investigate.

The next day, Nola finds out that Damiano and Ines, who are pretending to be brother and sister, live in the same building but in different apartments. Nola follows Ines after school into a mall. At first she tries to stay hidden, but Nola cannot help speaking out when she sees how Ines “burns through a credit card.” Though Ines is definitely “weird,” she also is interesting, and Nola ends up going on a shopping spree with her. Nola convinces herself that they best way to find out about Ines – spy on her that is – is to spend time with her. The fact that going shopping with someone else turns out to be fun is just a bonus.

The following day Nola saves Damiano from some bullies who are just about to give him a “head first bath in the toilet.” Without really meaning to, Nola starts to spend more time with Damiano and Inez. They seem to be clueless about things that everyone knows, which is strange but also endearing. Then Nola decides to go to the hospital to see the librarian who was injured, taking Damiano with her, and the librarian behaves in a strange and frightening way, talking to Damiano about “the in-between world.” Somehow the librarian’s behavior is tied to Damiano, but Nola has no idea how or why.

In this entertaining graphic novel we meet a character whose world is not quite like the one we live in, but whose problems are all too familiar. Nola is funny and has a quirky personality that is quite endearing, and it is interesting to see how she reacts when it becomes clear that she has stumbled across a very strange mystery.

This is the first title in a series of graphic novels that are about Nola and her adventures.