Friday, January 29, 2010

Metamorphosis: Junior Year by Betsy Franco, drawings by Tom Franco

Metamorphosis: Junior Year by Betsy Franco, drawings by Tom Franco
Publication Date/Version: October 2009/Hardcover
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Age Group: Young Adult
Recevied From: Teens Read Too (Thanks!)

Life. Love. Death. Identity.

Ovid's got a lot on his mind, and he pours it all into the pages of a notebook. Inspired by his namesake, he wryly records his classmates' drama as a modern-day Roman mythology. There's Sophie and Caleb, the Psyche and Cupid of cyber-couples; poetic Paula, who pursues filmmaker Franny like Apollo chasing Daphne; and graphic-novelist Duwayne, a Proserpina shuttling between divorced parents. Meanwhile, Ovid hides his own Olympian struggles and a disturbing secret. As he plaintively puts it, "There better be some god of journals and blogs who cares what I'm saying, or I'm screwed."

Metamorphosis: Junior Year is a combination of drawings, poems, journal entries, and narration. Ovid, drawing inspiration from his namesake, relates his high school experiences to Roman mythology. Each person in his life becomes a mythological character. Through his poems we learn people's deepest secrets, ones that no one else knows. But Ovid's got a dark secret of his own.

Oh. My. Gosh. That's really all I have to say. Metamorphosis completely blew me away! At only 114 pages comprised of short journal entries and poems, I read this book in under an hour. It was impossible to put down.

Ovid has such a strong voice, and his writing is breathtaking. Well, Betsy Franco's writing is breathtaking, I guess. Since, you know, she is the author. But Ovid becomes a real person through these pages. It feels as though someone published their high school journey. He's easy to connect with, and I felt more about him and his friends in 114 pages than I have in other 400 page books. He's emotional, raw, honest, and edgy.

The poetry in this book is quite possibly one of the coolest things ever. Ovid reveals one of his friend's secret with each new poem. They have such insight and meaning to them! The poems were easily my favorite part of this book. The pictures were definitely odd, and I had a hard time understanding them. With some help from Ovid, though, I gained some perspective about the drawings. I can't say that I completely understand them, but I grasp the general idea. I think that's the whole point really. This book is what you make it. It all depends on how you perceive it.

I really liked this book when I first finished it. But now, looking back, I'm in love. I found such a honesty that I hadn't found before or after. This is just one of those books that will stay with you forever. I tried, but nothing in this review will give this book the justice it deserves.

Overall: One of the best books I've ever read. Quick. Raw. Completely honest. Edgy. Easy to connect to. I give props to every bit of this book.

My Advice: Go buy yourself a copy right now. I mean it. I'll be terribly furious if you don't. You cannot pass this one up.

Cover: Love it! It suits the novel perfectly. The drawing is cool, and the title looks awesome.


  1. Aw, nuts. I almost got an ARC of this book, but I wasn't sure if I'd like it or not. Thanks for the review--going to keep my eyes peeled for this at the library :)

  2. Wow, awesome review and such a positive recommendation! I hadn't heard of this one, and it doesn't look like one I'd usually pick up but I'll definitely have to check it now. The formatting sounds a bit unusual, but I'm glad it worked for you. Thanks! :D

  3. I've had my eye on this one. Glad you loved it!

  4. I love the sound of this book. It is so unusual.


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