Summary: In elementary school, Jarrett Krosoczka’s teacher asked his to draw a picture of his mom and dad. But Jarrett’s family was much more complicated than that. His mother was an addict, in and out of rehab and in and out of Jarett’s life. His father was a mystery. Jarrett was living with his grandparents- very brash, very loving, very opinionated people who thought they were done raising kids until Jarrett was born. From his early childhood through his teenager years, Hey Kiddo portrays Jarrett’s journey growing up in a family that grapples with addiction, finding the people who help you along the way, and creating the art that helps you survive.
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
While I wish I read them more frequently, I’ve discovered some great graphic novels in 2018. Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s Hey Kiddo is no exception.
Hey Kiddo is the first graphic memoir that I’ve read outside of school. I absolutely ate this book up and stayed up way too late past my bedtime to finish—it’s not like I had class in the morning or 74 homework assignments waiting for me. I recommend reading Hey Kiddo in one sitting to fully experience Jarrett’s story. It won’t be too hard to do so because you won’t be able to put this book down.
While I loved this book, I need to preface my thoughts by saying that Hey Kiddo is a heavy and dark read. It’s definitely heavier than most YA graphic novels, but it’s a very important read. From his early childhood through his teenage years, Jarrett is forced to deal with family addiction problems, between his mother, father and grandmother.
I absolutely loved Jarrett’s relationship with his grandparents, especially Joe. I loved how Joe encouraged Jarrett to be an artist, especially since Jarrett’s artwork was one of my favorite aspects of the novel. His sketches provided a lot of contrast to the graphic novel’s style and were overall amazing. While his grandparents and their relationship isn’t perfect, their love for Jarrett was evident from the moment they meet him. I also enjoyed Jarrett’s relationship with his aunts. On the other hand, it was difficult and utterly heart breaking to see his relationship with his mother. While his family’s past wasn’t easy either, Krosoczka skillfully interweaves their past and Jarrett’s present.
The artwork, color scheme, and overall aesthetic detail throughout Hey Kiddo is extremely impressive. I found myself lingering upon so many passages, and I loved the pineapple chapter openers. I liked learning in the author’s notes that the color scheme had a lot to do with Krosoczka’s grandparents. If Hey Kiddo surprisingly doesn’t make you cry during its story, Krosoczka’s notes at the end surely will. I also enjoyed learning that the majority of Jarrett’s drawings and other different pictures were real.
Overall, Hey Kiddo is a hard-hitting, emotion-filled read that I of course highly recommend. I think this book is a greater starter for those who want to adventure into graphic novels. I’m definitely interested in reading more of Jarrett’s work.
This review is based on an uncorrected proof. By no means did this affect my thoughts or opinions.
Is Hey, Kiddo on your TBR? What are some of your favorite graphic novels? Share in the comments!