Graphic Novel Review: “Glitch” by Sarah Graley

Best friends Izzy and Eric have been dying to play the newly released video game Dungeon City for months, so when Izzy arrives home and finds her copy of the game has been delivered early, she can’t help but try it out (even though she promised Eric she’d wait until they could play together). But Izzy gets more than she bargained for when she finds herself transported into Dungeon City, where she makes friends with Rae, a CP robot certain that Izzy is the only one who can save the digital world from destruction. Pretty soon, she’s spending all of her time in the game – which means falling asleep in school, ghosting her friends, and getting herself into much more trouble than she expected.

I love that Glitch is a graphic novel about a girl gamer; there are tons of them out there, but I see them much less frequently in fiction than those about males. Overall, it’s a fun story whose most compelling elements are Izzy and Eric themselves – I really like them, their friendship, their jokes, etc. To be honest, some other parts of the story fell kind of flat to me – the reader realizes way before Izzy does that something is off about her obsession with Dungeon City, and it’s a little dull waiting for her to play catch-up until the exciting finale.

Even so, the story is satisfying in other ways. With the way our culture tends to devalue the experiences of young women, it’s easy to see why Izzy would be seduced by the promise of power and recognition in Dungeon City. I also appreciate the way author/illustrator Sarah Graley casually promotes body diversity and gender nonconformity in her character designs, bringing us one step closer to the world of children’s books more closely resembling our own. The visuals are bright and engaging, and I think Glitch will be enjoyed by other game-obsessed readers, ages 11–14.

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher, Scholastic, for review.