Jo: An Adaptation Of Little Women (Sort Of)

Hello, it’ s me, the woman who cannot stop talking about Little Women. Seriously…just look at my “Little Women” tag on here, LOL. Anyway, cut to quarantine, I’m on a webinar/presentation from Harper Collins and they casually drop THIS in my lap: a new, modern graphic novel adaptation with a gay Jo and NO death. Woot woot. Cannot wait to use this to introduce new readers to this wonderful story. Of course, no adaptation can truly capture the original, but this is a fun little read and I think middle graders will love it!

This retellingis set in a modern day American city.  Jo is starting the 8th grade, writing on her own little blog, and joins the newspaper club where she meets the fun new editor, Freddie. Her sister, Meg, is in the 9th grade and has a crush on a footballer named Jon. Beth is almost one year in remission from leukemia, and loves music and is excited to join the 6th grade band. Then there’s Amy, who’s “kind of a handful” and loves art. Their mother, Marmee, is a nurse at a local children’s hospital and their Dad is serving overseas in the Army. Of course, new friend Laurie movies to town and quickly befriends the family while his parents travel the world. As Jo tries to navigate new friendship, new writing adventures, and family she is also coming to terms with her own sexuality and what it means to grow and change.

Overall, I liked this. I’m not one of those people who militantly demands that Jo was gay, but I’m always intrigued by new adaptations that explore that, because I think it’s interesting and provides a great way to bring our modern society’s understandings of love and coming of age into this story.  Also, if it introduces new readers to the story,  which is great. The illustration style is nice–it’s the kind I like, which isn’t TOO comic-y and shiny, and more realistic. This isn’t the WHOLE Little Women story, we don’t see these tweens and teens get married or anything, and spoiler, BETH DOESN”T DIE, so I’m not sure if we’re getting MORE to this collection, but even if we don’t, I think this book serves LMA well and I can’t wait to see how it reaches new readers!

Jo by Kathleen Gros is on sale everywhere September 22, 2020.

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