GIANT DAYS: NOT ON THE TEST EDITION vol. 2 is John Allison’s latest from BOOM! Studios. It provides another satisfying, slice-of-life glimpse into the lives of five British college students. We get to learn more about the day-to-day drama these characters face. Meanwhile, we observe their struggles to balance friendships and relationships within tight living quarters.

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John Allison’s most recent GIANT DAYS volume collects chapters 9-16 in the lives of likable, if sometimes self-absorbed, students. At stake are the small, but complex, daily dramas experienced by three best friends. There’s Esther de Groot, a gorgeous goth with a flair for drama and a tendency to fall in love too easily. Susan Ptolemy is a wry, chain-smoking pre-med student. Finally, there’s sweet Daisy Wooton, who frequently cleans up her friends’ messes. These women struggle to balance their studies with old friendships and new romances. In parallel tales, we follow two male members of the women’s friend group. We meet lovably awkward Ed Gremmell and his best friend Graham McGraw. Both young men struggle to redefine themselves after failed relationships.

GIANT DAYS: NOT ON THE TEST
Image courtesy of BOOM! Studios.

Small Stories, Big Payoffs

These characters’ down-to-earth nature will resonate with many young readers. By no means are the students glamorous or flawless. Most likely, they would all seem out of place in a glossy teen soap opera. Yet their powerful bonds redeem even their most irritating quirks. Daisy, Esther, and Susan often tease each other. Nevertheless, readers know the women will have each other’s backs no matter what. Ed and McGraw show each other their vulnerabilities as well. Their friendship counters the unhealthy stereotype that men should hide emotional pain.

Overall, Allison and artist Max Sarin construct a world where even simple situations engage readers. Allison’s funny, fast-paced dialogue throws readers straight into the action. Furthermore, relatable topics like house-hunting and job-seeking provide conflict and poignant resolution. In addition, Sarin’s sweet, cartoon-like art makes each character endearing. Both creators plunge readers straight into the students’ shoes. We watch enthralled as they face universal emotions and experiences. They struggle with friendship and loneliness, love and heartbreak, betrayal and forgiveness.

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Friends Come First, Love Finishes Last

A single theme runs throughout: romantic love will never outweigh true friendship. For instance, Susan faces challenges trying out Tinder. Daisy questions her feelings towards the troublemaking Ingrid. Esther feels conflicted about an encounter with an ex. Meanwhile, Ed deals with an unrequited crush on Esther. In fact, even laidback McGraw has a hard time regarding his break-up with Susan.

Above all, these storylines emphasize the importance of friendships. These characters’ romantic relationships rarely work out. However, they can always count on their friends in a time of emotional need. For example, ever-caring Daisy takes her friends camping so the great outdoors can heal their heartbreak. In addition, Susan and Daisy help Esther escape from a troublesome visiting friend.

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Meanwhile, Esther assists Susan in her greatest time of need. She saves Susan from “night world syndrome” (caused by going without sleep for a long time). Ed remains supportive through McGraw and Susan’s break-up. McGraw advises Ed after an uncomfortable sexual experience.

GIANT DAYS: NOT ON THE TEST
Image courtesy of BOOM! Studios.

Class Dismissed…

In sum, GIANT DAYS: NOT ON THE TEST EDITION vol. 2 highlights friendship’s durable bonds. For these five pals, soothing broken hearts is all in a day’s work. So by the stories’ end, you’ll wish this lovable crew was just a dorm door away.

This volume is available for purchase beginning January 23, 2018. Find it here!

GIANT DAYS: NOT ON THE TEST EDITION vol. 2 by John Allison
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
Through witty dialogue and charming illustration, GIANT DAYS' latest edition continues to showcase the escapades and emotional crises of college students Esther, Susan, and Daisy. It also hones in on the lives of their sometimes-friends, sometimes-romantic-interests Ed and McGraw. This volume skillfully navigates the ups and downs of both college friendships and young love.
88 %
Engaging

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