CLICK Series #4
by Kayla Miller
coloring by Jess Lome, Lettering by Micah Myers
Published by ETCH & purchased from Barnes & Noble
Olive, the main character in Kayla Miller’s superb series of graphic novels, is one of my favorite fictional middle school characters. In CLICK, she finds the confidence to be herself and do her own thing rather than trying to fit into one of the various groups of friends she has. In CAMP Olive struggles when she and her best friend Willow have very different experiences at sleep away camp, then in ACT, the knowledge that some students can’t afford to go on class field trips inspires Olive make changes, first by peaceful protesting and then by running for student body. Olive grows and her character deepens in each novel in the series as she faces social and personal challenges with the support of her mother and Aunt Molly. While my descriptions here are streamlined, Miller’s stories always have an authenticity that brings up vivid memories of my middle school days, which were almost forty years ago.
In CLASH, Olive is the natural choice to help new girl Natasha find her way around campus. As they spend time together and Natasha meets Olive’s many friends, readers see Natasha begin to find ways to subtly insult Olive and not-so-subtly freeze her out. Olive knows that Natasha’s behavior is making her feel bad, but she struggles to articulate what is happening, especially since she wants to like Natasha as much as her friends do. Olive’s mother and Aunt Molly have opposing advice for her (give her time, she is probably adjusting to a new school and don’t waste your time on someone who makes you feel bad) and she tries both.
The tension of trying to get along with someone you just don’t click with (especially when your other friends do) is palpable in CLASH. Once again, Olive is a wonderful example of a young person struggling with the challenges of friendship and finding a solution that readers can take with them in their own lives. Girls and women have been socialized to believe they have to be friends with everybody (and when they can’t, open animosity seems to be the only option), and Miller’s story of finding a way engage with people we don’t choose to be friends with is so valuable.
COMING FALL 2021!
August 12, 2021 at 01:02PM Tanya