By Sneha Jaiswal (Twitter | Instagram)

If a graphic novel is gripping enough, it will take readers only an hour or two to finish it, unless it’s exceptionally long (like ‘Ayako’). It took me over a week to get to the end of ‘Lost at Sea’ by Bryan Lee O’Malley.

Plot overview – Shy asocial 18-year-old Raleigh is on a cross-country road trip with three peers who she isn’t even friends with. She considers herself ‘anti-social’ and claims her soul was stolen by a cat. How is she going to get through the long road ahead without awkward conversations with her co-passengers? Or maybe it’s exactly the change she needs.

Written in first person, Raleigh lets readers know early on that the story isn’t going to be coherent or chronological. And the graphic novel lives up to the warning – it’s listless, meandering and not very entertaining. Like the protagonist’s dreaded road trip. The second-half of the graphic novel was amusing, where Raleigh warms up to Stephanie and the two rope in the boys for a bizarre midnight adventure. Some more whimsical comedic elements in the story-telling could’ve made this work a lot more gripping.

The artwork is simple, more in the style of sketch-book doodles, which makes the characters look like they are between the ages 12 – 15, while they are actually 18-year-olds. ‘Lost at Sea’ is mildly interesting as a diary of a young girl just jotting down her experiences about a road trip with three random people. I feel like I won’t remember anything about this graphic novel after a few days. Maybe teen readers would enjoy this one a lot more than an older audience.

It’s a 3 on 5 from me.

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