8 Rated Books Book Reviews

Book Review: Goldie Vance by Hope Larson & Brittney Williams

Title: Goldie Vance

Written by Hope Larson, Illustrated by Brittney Williams

Genre: Mystery, Historical, Graphic Novels, Young Adult

Publisher: Boom! Box
Publication Date: October 2016
Paperback: 112 Pages

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Move over Nancy, Harriet, & Veronica. There’s a new sleuth on the block!

Sixteen-year-old Marigold “Goldie” Vance lives at a Florida resort with her dad, who manages the place. Her mom, who divorced her dad years ago, works as a live mermaid at a club downtown. Goldie has an insatiable curiosity, which explains her dream to one day become the hotel’s in-house detective. When Charles, the current detective, encounters a case he can’t crack, he agrees to mentor Goldie in exchange for her help solving the mystery. Eisner Award-winning writer Hope Larson (A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel) and artist Brittney Williams (Patsy Walker, A.K.A Hellcat!) present the newest gal sleuth on the block with Goldie Vance, an exciting, whodunnit adventure.

Stand alone or series: Book 1 in a planned series

How did I get this book: Review Copy from the Publisher

Format (e- or p-): Paperback

Review

The year is 1962, the place, Crossed Palms Resort in seaside St. Pascal, Florida. Goldie Vance is a teenage valet in the employ of the Crossed Palms; she and her father, the general manager of the resort, have the unique experience of living at the hotel and making sure things move smoothly for all of its many guests. Goldie might be officially employed as a valet, but she also fancies herself a detective, aiding the actual investigative chief of staff with any open mysteries that might befall the Crossed Palms. Case in point–the comic opens with Goldie cracking the case of the missing toddler (a young boy got separated from his parents on the elevator). Uniting runaway kiddos with their parents doesn’t hold a flame to Goldie’s next case, though–a priceless gemstone necklace is swiped from a german physicist’s room, much to the guest’s distress. Goldie is hot on the case, though–and with a little help from her friends, some hot wheels (borrowed from the valet stand), and good old fashioned detective-work, Goldie is certain she can nab the villain before it is too late.

A truly awesome, upbeat, refreshing look at the teen sleuth trope, Goldie Vance is absolutely delightful. Featuring gorgeous illustration from Brittney Williams–known for her work on Patsy Walker aka Hellcat–and zippy dialogue (complete with era-appropriate slang, ya dig) from Hope Larson, Goldie Vance is nostalgic in all the right ways, but provocative and progressive at the same time. Goldie is a biracial (Caucasian, Black) teen, who thinks fast, talks fast, and drives even faster–she takes risks when they can help her friends or those in need, and she wears her heart on her sleeve. In other words, she’s a freaking badass heroine and I loved her SO much. I love that there are many things in Goldie’s world that are presented as absolutely normal fact, and aren’t questioned by anyone: e.g. the diverse makeup of the hotel staff and guests (including the fact that Goldie’s father is the GM of the hotel), for example, or the fact that Goldie is biracial and her parents seem to be amiably separated, and also Goldie is gay. I love the relationship between Goldie and her parents–respectful, loving, healthy–and between her friends (particularly front desk worker and best bud Cheryl, as well as fellow valet, Rob). This is to say nothing of the sweet, adorable side-romance between Goldie and Diane, the record store clerk (and one-time actress), who comes through for Goldie when the mystery comes to a head.

As for the actual mystery angle? Goldie Vance pulls of the mystery of the stolen necklace just as beautifully as it does character-building and world-establishing. This is a Cold War era story, with Russian spies trying to steal scientific secrets, and an immigrant scientist hoping for asylum in the United States. (Talk about prescient and appropriate reading material, right?) Car chases, helicopter interventions, crashes, and even supernatural intervention all occur in this first volume–but Goldie and her squad are more than enough to stand up to the task. The best part of all of this is, arguably, the fact that all of this happens in a upper Middle Grade/lower Young Adult level comic book. Hell. YES.

Sweet, funny, and smart, Goldie Vance is one of my favorite new comic book discoveries of 2017–I cannot wait for Goldie’s next adventure. Absolutely recommended to all.

Notable Quotes/Parts: Sample (awesome) art:

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Variant Cover

Rating: 8 – Excellent

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1 Comment

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