HiLo Vol. 7 | Review
A new story arc begins in HiLo vol. 7, but readers will have to wait a while for the next installment!
In the beginning of June, I posted to my Google classroom. The post actually had nothing to do with comics or reading—it was about Resiliency Week—but I found this comment from a student:
Hey Ms. Keller I was reading this comic book series called “Hilo” and I have to wait until February of 2022 for book 8. 🙁
That’s a long time to wait! My 9-year-old daughter had the same reaction!
HiLo vol. 7: Gina the Girl Who Broke the World
By Judd Winick
2021, Random House Graphics
The HiLo series is very popular with middle-grade readers and is a perfect summer read. The first six volumes complete a story arc and in volume 7, Gina takes center stage and starts a new story. Reading volume 7 made me think of traditional superhero comics, which have stories that ebb and flow and start anew all the time. I’m the type who often reads a few books in a series and then likes to move on, and I just got a kick at how the new story arc continued in volume 7, much like a traditional Marvel or DC comic book series.
After HiLo defeats Razorwark, he becomes human. The Lim family adopts HiLo, but only Mrs. Lim and DJ’s sister Lisa know of HiLo’s origin. Gina is back from another universe and has acquired magical powers. When magical beings pop up in different places, Gina is left with no choice but to get involved and she, HiLo, and DJ end up protecting magical beings called Nestors, the last of their kind, from being hunted. But what are the consequences of her actions? The story leaves you with a huge cliffhanger!
Gina balances her newly developed powers with everyday life. She struggles with her place and purpose as well as her intense feelings of grief for Izzy, who lost her life (in the first story arc) to their fight with Razorwark. Gina isn’t the only one grieving for Izzy; HiLo too senses a part of Izzy in him, which gives him some ability to sense physical changes in people like a change of body temperature.
When we discussed the series, my 11-year-old son had a lackluster reaction, but he agreed when I suggested that this was just the first volume of a new story arc and just like the first six volumes built up to a new story that was filled with humor, action, and adventure, so too the next few volumes will do the same. We just aren’t experiencing them at once, as we had the first volumes, but will be reading the story piecemeal, as the new volumes are published.
Initially, I sort of agreed with my son, but after re-reading the title, I really got into the story and Gina being the lead instead of DJ and HiLo. I really feel like spring can’t come fast enough. The characters are so well developed, with humor, depth, and everything in between. They are extremely likable and readers will want to stay with them.
The action-packed artwork is bright and vibrant. The colors subtly change to match the mood of what’s going on: Sepia tones for flashbacks for Gina’s ancestors, and bold pop colors as magical wars burst through the panels.
Sorry y’all, February 2022 before the story continues. Hey Random House and Judd Winnick, can the timeline be expedited at all?
About Esther Keller
Esther Keller is the librarian at JHS 278, Marine Park in Brooklyn, NY. There she started the library's first graphic novel collection and strongly advocated for using comics in the classroom. She also curates the Graphic Novel collection for the NYC DOE Citywide Digital Library. She started her career at the Brooklyn Public Library and later jumped ship to the school system so she could have summer vacation and a job that would align with a growing family's schedule. On the side, she is a mother of 4 and regularly reviews for SLJ and School Library Connection (formerly LMC). In her past life, she served on the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee where she solidified her love and dedication to comics.
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