Graphic Novel Review: Water Memory by Valérie Vernay and Mathieu Reynès

Water Memory by Valérie Vernay (artist and colorist) and Mathieu Reynès (writer). Roar, 2017. 9781941302439. 96pp. plus some drawings and reference photos in a graphic journal at the end.

Marion and her mom, Caroline, move to Caroline’s childhood house in a small seaside town. Her marriage recently ended, her mother has just passed away, and no one has lived in the house for thirty years. It has a great view that includes a lighthouse, kind neighbors, and a bit of mystery — what’s the meaning of the strange rocks around town, and the carvings on them? Do they have anything to do with the cranky old loner who lives in the lighthouse?

Marion is not a brilliant teen detective, but she’s just enough of a snoop to keep the plot rolling along. She asks her mom’s new boss about her grandfather, who went out in his boat one day and didn’t come back. Gradually she finds out more and more about a town legend involving sea deities and those lost at sea.

The story has a slightly creepy edge and, in a genre defying way, little action. The illustrations are wonderful, the people seem real, and this little seaside town feels like it could be just about anywhere. I wish I’d read this book on vacation, looking at an ocean, but reading it at home while badly in need of a vacation was the next best thing.


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