Thursday, November 09, 2023

Book Review: SHEETS

Title: Sheets

Author: Brenna Thummler

Publisher: Oni Press

Pages: 242

My GoodReads Rating: 

Marjorie Glatt hates laundry and ghosts. She has been singlehandedly running the family-owned laundromat, Glatt’s Laundry, after the death of her mother a year ago. The 13-year-old loner has also been running the household and taking care of younger brother, Owen, who has just started kindergarten. Her dad is engulfed by grief and spends his days in a haze, and isn’t really present for his kids.


If that trouble isn’t enough, there’s Nigel Saubertuck, an annoying man who wants to open a five-star yoga resort and spa on the Glatt property, and plays all kinds of sneaky tricks to get their business to fail. Such a big load for a young teen to carry!


Meanwhile, Wendell, a young boy who died and is now a ghost and doomed to spend eternity in a sheet is dissatisfied with the afterlife. He returns to the land of the living, and ends up adding to Marjorie’s difficulties. Wendell also wants to find out why people are afraid of ghosts, a mission entrusted to him by a Mr Doornail.


Will Wendell succeed in his mission? Will Marjorie be able to save her laundry from the greedy Nigel?



The story is presented in the first person PoV of Marjorie. The illustrations were lovely. The scenes in Marjorie’s PoV are in colour, pinks and greys and blues, with the occasional leaf green catching our gaze, while those in Wendell’s PoV are in grayscale. The dead plant in the office of the ghost administrator was a nice touch. 


The innocence of little Owen shone through. He believes that families are okay if they have a mom, unconsciously admitting that their family isn’t doing well.


One thing I liked about this book was the premise. The author has managed to connect two very different references to sheets in this book. She has also worked in the puns, dye and die, to good effect.


Unfortunately, beyond the effect derived from the pun on sheets, the potential wasn’t fulfilled.


There were a number of things that didn’t make any sense. I can understand hating laundry because it’s real, but hating ghosts because they aren’t real made no sense. You might disbelieve in ghosts, but would you hate them?


In the first few pages, we learn that Marjorie’s school, Finster Bay Charter, has recently had an infestation of ghosts. When Wendell is caught in the land of the living, the other ghosts have him arrested for coming here. But the ghosts who were infesting the school weren’t arrested.


The writing was superficial; it needed more detail and depth. I can understand that a graphic novel faces limitations in terms of being able to do justice to too many subplots. But then, in that case, just have one subplot at the most. 

There is no real character development for any of the characters. A little more depth would have worked wonders for the plot development. We don’t feel the struggles of the characters or their pain.  


For a 13-year-old, it’s unbelievable how Marjorie manages all her challenges without much of a struggle. 


One of Marjorie’s classmates is Tessi Waffleton, about whom Marjorie tells us, “Tessi Waffleton always looks like a spring holiday gift basket. But . . . one that you give for revenge or a prank or something, that is sort of pretty but is filled with saw blades and worms.”


With that kind of a description, I expected Tessi and her clique to make life hell for Marjorie. But Tessi wasn’t really a ‘mean girl’; she was just a little too conceited. The subplot revolving around her is given short shrift. Even her Halloween themed school project is never taken to completion.


The subplot involving Saubertuck, the main plot, also concludes suddenly and unconvincingly, not really requiring any courage or intelligence on the part of Marjorie.


But it was the subplot concerning Wendell where the lack of closure left me feeling most disappointed. Why was he so keen on coming to the land of the living? What was the mystery surrounding his death? Was he the same boy who helped Marjorie get out of the maze? What happened to the mission given to Wendell by Mr Doornail?


More than Marjorie, I missed closure on Wendell. I also felt that there should have been a more meaningful connection between these two characters. 

 (I read this book on NetGalley. Thank you to the author, the publisher and NetGalley.) 

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...