Bad Houses: a graphic novel

Disclosure:  I read this for free from a digital galley via Netgalley.

Bad Houses
By Sara Ryan

Bad Houses

Lives intersect in the most unexpected ways when teenagers Anne and Lewis cross paths at an estate sale in sleepy Failin, Oregon.  Failin was once a thriving logging community.  Now the town’s businesses are crumbling, its citizens bitter and disaffected.  Anne and Lewis refuse to succumb to the fate of the older generation as they discover–together–the secrets of their hometown and their own families.” -


Lewis suffers under a domineering mother who runs estate sales.  He doesn’t know anything about his father and his mother refuses to discuss it with him.  Anne lives with a mother who has a problem with hoarding.  She herself seems to have issues with objects but manages to keep her room inhabitable.  They live in a small town in Oregon and together they confront the past that the older generations are still dealing with.


A "bad house" is a house that is difficult for Lewis’ mom Cat to organize for an estate sale.  A house that has the lingering smell of smoke or even worse, the house of a hoarder that is filled with junk of negligible value.  The bad house could serve as a metaphor for the community in general and the estate sale the chance for Anne and Lewis to start anew without the baggage of the past.


I enjoyed the writing and the art.  I have two minor complaints.  First, I think Lewis is too handsome and I resent him for being so attractive.  Absurd, no?  Second, at 153 pages the book left me wanting more.  I didn’t feel like the book was too short; I was so attached to Lewis and Anne that I didn’t want the book to be over.  These are really not complaints I suppose.


I gave the book four out of five stars.  Publishers Weekly gave it a starred review.  Recommended for people who are interested in graphic novels that tell an actual story.