Book Review: The Isobel Journal by Isobel Harrop

The Isobel Journal

Title: The Isobel Journal
Author: Isobel Harrop
Genre: Art Journal, Realistic, Young Adult, Non-fiction, British
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication Date: November 2013
Pages: 208
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
THE ISOBEL JOURNAL is no ordinary snapshot of a contemporary teenage life. A charming and vivid narrative scrapbook of the eighteen-year-old author’s sketches, mini-graphic novels, photographs and captions, it captures her wit, her observations and her creative talent as she takes us through the three central themes in her life: ‘Love’, ‘Friends, Art and Otters’ and ‘Me’.

Resonant of Laura Dockrill’s MISTAKES IN THE BACKGROUND and with the powerful naïve illustrative style of cult Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara, this is a collector’s gift for teenagers and all who have the teenage experience still in their hearts. Readers will emphasise with this witty and honest journal of a girl getting to grips with impending adulthood. A must-have for all hipster teenagers and anyone who appreciates the raw creativity of youth. Enchanting and poignant.

My Review:

The Isobel Journal may not be a novel but it definitely tells a story. The story of a teenage girl from Northern England – who thinks nothing really happens there. Part scrapbook, part art journal, this book is a delightful glimpse into Isobel Harrop’s life.

After reading this book I felt like I knew Isobel. I may never have met her but after reading her thoughts and seeing her beautiful drawings I felt like I knew the important things – like how she feels about decade old TV shows or her love of Beyonce and Destiny’s Child. The illustrations are lovely – I especially liked the badgers – and tickets and other random things ‘stuck’ in emphasize that this is a non-fiction story about where Isobel was at that particular point in her life.

There are some particular pages which had me laughing with just how accurate some of Isobel’s thoughts were with regards to my own experiences (who knew my dad wasn’t the only one typing “The You Tube” into Google). Heartbreak, friendship, family and otters are all covered with witty pieces of wisdom and adorable drawings illustrating the ideas and thoughts of a typical teenager. I thought this book was insightful and relatable.  


Thanks to Hot Key Books for the review copy.

Preview the first chapter here (PDF)

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Booktopia | Book Depository | BookWorld

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  1. Pingback: Monthly Wrap Up: November 2013 | whY.A.not?

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