This is another teen and YA appropriate, plus seasonally appropriate, review. Pumpkinheads is a very endearing and amusing graphic novel released pre-pandemic. It is the creation of author Rainbow Rowell and author / illustrator Faith Erin Hicks. It follows the tale of two friends, Deja and Josiah, who work at a pumpkin patch, on their last Halloween night before they go off to college. Instead of their assigned task of working as succotash cooks, Deja tries to insist Josiah do something about his multiple year spanning fascination with the girl who works at the fudge shop.
From the illustrated scenes to the demeanor of the characters, everything is just a great way to lift your spirit and imagine the smell of pumpkin pie and hay bale ride nostalgia. I know I’m past Halloween here on this review as of this morning, but I can’t help but feel this one can carry itself through the end of November, or anytime you want to think about it really.
I purchased this from Google Play. The publisher is First Sector, published August 27, 2019, and it runs approximately 224 pages.
Let’s talk about it.
Good Old Fashioned Fun
According to Goodreads, Pumpkinheads takes place in Omaha, Nebraska at the featured pumpkin patch. As a native Midwesterner, that sounds about right to me. It is definitely a little more fantastic than any pumpkin patch I’ve ever been to though, incorporating just about anything autumnal and delicious or cozy you can think of. The characters are what really sell it for me though. Deja is confident, empathic, comedic, and is a good eye for rebellious but harmless hijinks. Josiah is playing by the rules, an employee of the month for many years, and cares more about the pumpkin patch than his own personal needs.
I will not tell you how things unravel, but it turns out everybody and everything in this story are full of all kinds of surprises. Employees are constantly getting overwhelmed or out of their element. Deja and Josiah are most likely the most competent crew in the entire Pumpkin Patch. Will they resolve Josiah’s infatuation with the fudge girl or will they simply run out of time? Not your average hopeless romantic type… mostly.
Pumpkinheads is not some super conservative country Americana tale though. Deja for one is witty and savvy as the best of them. And Josiah might be a little too obsessed with succotash, but his heart is in the right place.
The Art is Just Right
I tried to do something I try sometimes and compared the level of influence of the dialogue versus the art. While both are good, the combination really sells it. Fall definitely has some of the best colors in nature itself. So, the bumpkin-pumpkin-patch power of the environment feels really nice to see the story unfold in. I could imagine the slightly chilly air, the scents as I mentioned, and even the timbre of the characters. The daylight to sunset to nighttime transition is just so nice too. Orange, purple, and black fill the horizons with a pleasant context.
See for yourself though, if it doesn’t make you hungry, it will make you comfy.
Pumpkinheads: Love It!
I think there doesn’t need to be a whole lot of commentary on this outside of what I’ve said. If you’re wondering if the book is as good as the front cover makes you think it is, well it is. The ending is great, and though I kind of knew it was going to happen I still eagerly turned each page with a smile.
Thank you so much for reading Mr. Dave Pizza. I’m going to try and do a ton more graphic novels because I love the format and honestly it’s balancing to the indie game reviews. If you like this review, take a look around, things are about to get real fun down here. Thanks for stopping by!