Muse of the Month: Courtney Crumrin

August is finally here, which can only mean that autumn is just around the corner! If you’re like me, then you’re already excited for rainy afternoons, cozy sweaters, and colorful leaves. While we wait for the weather to change, I’ll be curling up with one of my favorite supernatural books to get in the mood: Courtney Crumrin.

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Ted Naifeh’s Courtney Crumrin is a graphic novel series that tells the story of a young girl named Courtney who is growing up in two different worlds at the same time. When her parents make the move to her Great-Uncle Aloysius’s creepy mansion in the quiet, upper-class town of Hillsborough, Courtney immediately becomes a social outcast in a school full of rich kids. To make things even more complicated, she soon discovers that magic is real… as are monsters. In this dark fantasy series, Courtney explores the horrors of both the real and magical worlds surrounding her in a unique coming-of-age story that’s beautifully illustrated to boot.

On its most relatable level, Courtney is the story of a strange, quiet girl in middle school who is more than meets the eye, and, more often than not, seen as an outcast by her peers. As a quiet girl in middle school reading these books, I was enamored by Courtney as a character; I’d never read about a girl like her before. She was mischievous, wry, but also often unfriendly and even rude. She wasn’t above using magic for her own personal gain. But this same girl could also be kind. She was brave and outspoken, even when she felt scared. And sometimes, she did things that were downright heroic. Courtney was complex, and this seemingly simple quality is what made her character so appealing and refreshing.

Filled with magic, adventure, and a healthy dose of horror, Courtney’s story is told in seven short books, each with its own hair-raising tale to tell. Though perhaps not for smaller children – some of the imagery and subject matter can get pretty macabre at times – this series is great for book lovers ages twelve and up, adults included. No matter the age of the reader, Courtney Crumrin is deliciously dark and profound, and sure to scratch that “coming-of-age ghost story” itch.

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