A Book Review of “Hey Kiddo”

“Hey Kiddo” by Jarrett J. Krosoczka is Loudoun County Public Library’s 1book 1community selection for 2019. 

“Hey Kiddo” continues the ongoing trend of turning intimate personal narratives of adolescence into colorful graphic novels. The book is a somber and realistic take on family addiction, missing parents, and growing up in an unconventional home. The book utilizes its neutral color scheme with clear absences of bold colors to set its mood and the feelings the author conveys towards his own upbringing, which this book is based on.

Krosoczka’s youth is spent with his young troubled single mother who struggles with a heroin addiction that consumes her life. After she is arrested and sent to rehabilitation, he goes to live with his grandparents, who use their old fashioned charm to raise him the best way they can. In a series of childhood and adolescent misadventures, Krosoczka realizes his passion for art and storytelling. He uses his newfound optimism to shine a light on dark times and eventually build a relationship with his missing father. 

I found the book to be an interesting read that could serve as encouragement for readers coming from similar familiar situations. This book is long for a graphic novel largely due to the myriad of personal anecdotes Krosoczka shares. The sheer amount of stories in this book are excessive especially in relation to the main message of the book.

It was hard to stay focused after reading so much material, since a lot of it is unnecessary to the point the author was trying to convey. There was a section dedicated to the backstories of Krosoczka’s grandparents, which was endearing, but contributed very little to the main plot of the story. 

Overall “Hey Kiddo” by Jarrett J. Krosoczka is tasked with a difficult story to tell but manages to pull it off in a commendable fashion. He transform emotional moments from his past into life lessons for his readers that resonates with even those who experience a far different life than the one Krosoczka describes.