Publication date: 21 November 2015
Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Length: 76 pages
Genre: Graphic novel
Age group: Middle-grade
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon UK | The Book Depository
My rating: ★★★★
This graphic novel re-telling of Kathy Hoopmann’s best-selling Blue Bottle Mystery brings the much-loved fantasy story to life for a new generation of readers. The hero is Ben, a boy with Asperger Syndrome (AS). When Ben and his friend Andy find an old bottle in the school yard, little do they know of the surprises about to be unleashed in their lives. Bound up with this exciting mystery is the story of how Ben is diagnosed with AS and how he and his family deal with the problems and joys that come along with it.
After finishing a brilliantly written (and truly unputdownable) novel about two weeks ago, I was at a loss as to what I should pick up next. I knew it would be hard to find something that would be as good as my previous read, and thanks to my book hangover, I couldn’t seem to settle on anything. I picked up a few different genres but nothing could match the sheer brilliance of the book I’ve just finished, so I gave up after a few pages. That’s when I decided to have a quick browse on NetGalley to see if they have any short stories or graphic novels, and came across Blue Bottle Mystery.
I’m still relatively new to the world of graphic novels and manga, but when one of my friends lent me some of hers a couple of months ago, I got hooked right away. So when I came across Hoopman’s novel, I knew it would be a nice and quick read, perfect for the occasion.
To be frank, I wasn’t familiar with the original novel before I started reading this, so I had no idea what to expect – but I was intrigued by the concept and was curious to see how the author would tackle the issue of Asperger Syndrome, especially in a graphic novel form.
Having read the book, I have to say it was definitely a pleasant surprise. Although the artwork and the dialogues are quite simple and it’d probably be more suitable for a middle-grade audience, I really enjoyed it. Even though it’s a short book (only 76 pages) and can easily be read in an hour or two, I didn’t feel as if the story lacked anything – I really liked the storyline and the book’s message.
If you’re looking for a short, yet intriguing read – either for yourself or for kids and younger siblings – I would definitely recommend this.