Teen Boat! by Dave Roman and John Green
Clarion Books, 2012. 978-0547636696
2004 Ignatz Award Winner for Outstanding Debut Comic (Teen Boat #6: Vote Boat)
Synopsis: Being a teenager is bad enough. Between trying to fit in with the right group at school, finding the right clothes to wear, and dealing with acne, things are pretty complicated. But whatever normal teenagers have to deal with, Teen Boat’s got it worse: not only is he a teenager, he’s a teenager that can turn into a small yacht. In theory: awesome! In reality: maybe not so much.
Why I picked it up: A friend of mine who is a teen librarian loved it and her kids really loved it too.
Why I finished it: This book is totally ridiculous, but totally real. Yeah, people don’t turn into boats, but life is still rough for teens and the sentiment is perfectly captured in this comic. Part after-school special, part Saturday morning cartoon, Teen Boat! takes on some of the hard hitting issues: what to do when you are pressured into being the host boat for a cool kids party, how to maybesortakinda woo the girl of your dreams, dealing with an overprotective best friend, finding a job, learning to drive, even how to handle being boat-jacked by pirates. Okay, so, at least a couple of those things don’t happen every day, but there’s always something similar…except maybe when it comes to the turning into a boat part. The silliness and the humor are part of the charm, and really part of the reason we’re drawn to comics: they are (mostly) chock full of weird circumstances that take us away from reality. Green’s art mimics the sort of Saturday morning style, combining bright colors with thick outlines. It’s a style that lends itself well to the story: quirky without taking itself too seriously. Roman and Green’s combined powers create a magical tale that will take you on a nautical journey through adolescence as you have never seen before!
Other related materials: Teen Boat!: The Race for Boatlantis by Dave Roman and John Green; Astronaut Academy books by Dave Roman; Drama by Raina Telgemeier; Smile by Raina Telgemeier; Sisters by Raina Telgemeier; Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova; Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi; Sidekicks by Dan Santat; Bone series by Jeff Smith; Cardboard by Doug TenNapel; Ghostopolis by Doug TenNapel; Cleopatra in Space books by Mike Maihack; Lunch Lady books by Jarrett J. Krosoczka; Lumberjanes books by Noelle Stevenson, Brooke A. Allen, Grace Ellis, and Shannon Watters