Sheets is a really beautiful graphic novel by Brenna Thummler that is seemingly simple, yet quite complex once you get in to it. It’s about two main characters; Marjorie, a living mid-teenage girl, and Wendell, a ghost boy of about 9 to 11 years old.
Marjorie is a teenage girl who has practically stepped into her mother’s life after the tragic death of her mother. Marjorie runs the family laundromat, and looks after her younger brother and her father as her father is clearly suffering from depression after his wife’s death and goes to school.
Wendell is a young ghost boy who is going about his life as a ghost, trying to navigate how his new world works and how he fits in.
Sheets jumps between both Marjorie’s and Wendell’s stories before intertwining them. In the beginning, this feels quite jarring because the stories are so drastically different in the beginning and it feels like the narratives cut off just as they get going. It’s actually quite frustrating and doesn’t make much sense. For me, Wendell’s story was far more compelling.
Although Marjorie is obviously going through a tough time, and it feels like Sheets is trying to highlight the issues young careers face, there were times where Marjorie frustrated me. I felt that at times she just felt a bit too sorry for herself; she appeared to have no confidence, no drive to change her situation and no plans to reach out for help. I know that anxiety and other issues can smother these instincts, but it was difficult for me to truly connect with Marjorie because of this.
I was aware that I was supposed to sympathise with her, but I just couldn’t.
The world of Sheets is so beautiful in both art and narrative, and where the plot is involved I wanted to spend a lot more time in the world – this isn’t exactly a compliment, I mean it literally, the ending just kinda rushed up to meet me, and it felt a bit rushed. I really wanted to spend more time in the narrative and have the author spend more time with the characters and their plights. I absolutely loved the ghost world and it’s such a shame that I didn’t get much time there.
The artwork is damn near faultless, it’s absolutely gorgeous, especially the ghost world. The colour palate used is perfect for both worlds and is a beautiful blend of pastels.
The thing I disliked the most about Sheets was the antagonist – and not because he was an antagonist, he was just a bad antagonist. In fact, he was a bad character. He is so ridiculously over the top and literally unbelievable. He is far too cartoonish and absolutely ruined the plot and the immersion. Honestly, he was so bad that if I did star ratings I would knock two stars off just for his sheer absurdity.
I do think the pacing is a little slow, especially at the beginning – there was a bit of ‘so what’ sentiment from me in the beginning but I’m glad I pulled through.
Ultimately though, Sheets is a very sweet graphic novel about forgiveness and an unlikely friendship, with darkness that is cleverly disguised that will leave an impression in some way or other, even if it ends up just being for the art.
Do you want to get lost in this world? You can get your own copy of Sheets here!
[PLEASE NOTE]: I was not paid or sponsored to write this review – all the opinions are honest and my own.