Thursday, November 3, 2016

How to Talk to Girls at Parties, by Neil Gaiman (illus: Fabio Moon & Gabriel Ba)

It's the holiday. Enn and Vic are two carefree teen boys out for a night of fun on the town. They're looking for a supposedly awesome party that studmuffin Vic heard about from a friend of a friend. There will girls there, Vic tells his awkward and introverted friend. Girls!! Enn isn't so sure, though. He's never been comfortable striking up conversations with members of the opposite sex. As far as Enn is concerned, girls may as well be from another planet entirely. 

(Note the subtle use of foreshadowing...)

After a bit of wandering, the boys do, indeed, find the party house. They are greeted at the door by a gorgous blonde. Inside the house (which is bigger on the inside than it appears from without), there are, indeed, girls. Each of them different, but eerily perfect in the same way. Before disappearing with the pretty host, Vic tosses his friend this last bit of advice: "Just TALK to them." And Enn is left on his own to fumble awkwardly through some very strange conversations with various female partiers. With each encounter, the weird vibe grows and grows. But Enn doesn't really catch on until a terrified Vic pulls him away from the party. Away from the girls who are not who they appear.

The guys escape just in time, but the strange terror of that night will stay with Enn forever. And neither of them will ever be the same.

The graphic novel adaption of Neil Gaiman's short story How to Talk to Girls at Parties is incredible. Illustrations by Brazilian artists Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba perfectly bring to life this classic sci-fi tale of close encounters. (I should mention that the print version of this story can be found in Gaiman's short story collection, M is for Magic).

How to Talk to Girls at Parties reminded me quite a bit of Bennett Madison's 2013 novel, September Girls. In this book, two brothers visit a very unusual beach town that is inhabited by hundreds of seemingly perfect girls. The boys get caught up in an ancient curse involving these girls, who aren't what they appear to be (spoiler: They're not human). Along with plot similarities, both stories were atmospheric in the same sort of way. They gave off the same sort of otherworldly vibe that kept me hooked, wondering what would happen next, but knowing that things wouldn't end well.

If you're looking for something a bit different than the typical Dystopian or want a Kissing Book that's not really a Kissing Book, recommend checking out both stories. You won't be disappointed.--AJB

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