My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This quiet graphic novel is a rather beautiful thing. I came across it after tweeting that I was visiting Thought Bubble and if you were writing comics which feature boarding schools then I’d be really interested to see them. Because, and I grant this might come as a little bit of a surprise to those of you who know me, I rather love the genre and I don’t read enough of it in comic form. So after tweeting that, Sally Jane Thompson replied and mentioned Atomic Sheep to me and, as they say in all cliche-ridden things, the rest is history.
Told in a gorgeously soft pallet of autumnal browns and muted subtle tones, Atomic Sheep covers Tamrika’s first term at boarding school. Tammy is literally and metaphorically trying to find her creative voice. She wants to get better at her art and ends up forming an art group at her new school. It’s through this club and her relationships with her slightly scary roommate that Tammy starts to come to terms with both where she is and who she is.
Atomic Sheep is a very subtly lovely book. It’s not one of the bash, kapow, thwock sort of books and if you’re expecting overt and dramatic action, I’d suggest that you look elsewhere. What Atomic Sheep does is concern itself with the moments of growth and change that Tammy goes through during her first term. There are some beautiful little moments that she has and I loved how Thompson handled that. She’s got a lovely metatextual touch where the speech bubbles overlap in arguments or fall blank or just simply *sigh*. It’s gorgeous to read. It makes you so content as a reader, really, to experience this sort of enfolding of a story. It’s palpably lovely. And I’m conscious that I’m overusing ‘lovely’ in this review but really, it is. It is.