Book Review: Oddly Normal Book 1 by Otis Frampton

Oddly Normal Book 1 collects the issues 1-5 of the comic by Otis Frampton in a single volume. Oddly Normal is a ten-year-old girl with pointed ears and green hair. She is also a half-witch who can tell you that having a mother from a magical land called Fignation and a father from Earth doesn't make it easy to make friends at school. On her tenth birthday, she blows out her cake's candles and makes a disastrous wish for her parents to disappear. Even though she has no powers, her parents and home disappear completely. Now, Oddly must travel to Fignation to uncover the mystery of her parents' disappearance. Join Oddly as she navigates a strange new school, monstrous bullies, and Evil itself on an unforgettable fantasy adventure through the vibrant world of Fignation.

I really enjoyed Oddly Normal as a collection, and my only complaint was that I wanted more. The art and the story captured the angst of a girl dealing with issues at home and school wonderfully. Oddly is not just saddled with an unusual name and green hair, either of which would be enough to trigger teasing at school, but she also has a less than happy home life. Her parents love each other, so she is not facing the typical separation issues, but they are so wrapped up in each other that she is low on their list of priorities. Facing her tenth birthday with parents that do not listen, and a lack of friends pushes Oddly to her limit, triggering a series of events that is completely unexpected. Oddly goes to Fignation expecting to be more accepted, but faces new and more dangerous problems while learning to appreciate the wonders of the place as well. The art and text comer together so well that I was completely engrossed in the story and sad to see it end.

Oddly Normal is a graphic noel that I would recommend for middle grade through adult readers. There are several layers to the story so that everyone can find something in the book that appeals to them. I think it would be a great addiction to school, personal, and public library collections.

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