Spunky teen detective Goldie Vance is back with even more mysteries and adventures! After saving the day in Volume 1, Goldie and her diverse cast of friends and allies continue to keep Crossed Palms Resort safe for everyone.
Set in 1960s Florida, Goldie is a valet at the beachfront resort her father manages. On the side, she is the assistant to the resort’s detective (although she sometimes runs the show). In volumes 2 and 3, Goldie takes on cases involving a stranded astronaut on the beach and possible sabotage on her frenemy Sugar Maple’s race car. Since the first volume set up the characters and the setting, these issues are free to explore the personalities and events happening in Goldie’s world. (At times, there is a reference to a storyline from a previous volume, but the author has included an asterisk that lets readers know what volume they can refer back to if they aren’t familiar with that detail.)
Volume 4 is when the story really starts to take off after the setup of the first three. The resort is hosting a music festival, but numerous problems keep happening. Walt, the resort detective, decides to let Goldie take charge of the mystery. At the same time, Goldie’s girlfriend Diane is getting closer to Chris who is helping organize the festival’s bands. Feeling jealous and scared of losing Diane, Goldie lets her personal feelings cloud her judgement, which jeopardizes the case. Even though Goldie has made mistakes before, this volume really shows her falter. But the most important thing is that Goldie recognizes that, owns it, and apologizes for it.
Through all the volumes, Goldie solves her cases with charisma and intelligence and with the help of her friends, girlfriend, and parents. She remains kind and welcoming to everyone she meets. But Goldie is also stubborn and she can get lost in her detective duties. In volume 2, she steps on her friend Cheryl’s toes, taking credit for a detail Cheryl noticed. This causes a fight between the best friends, but in the end Goldie looks at things from Cheryl’s perspective and apologizes. Volume 3 focuses on Goldie and her frenemy Sugar Maple. The two have a rivalry that has lasted since childhood. While they butt heads, Goldie still treats her with respect. No matter what, you root for Goldie (and Sugar Maple, who is a dynamic character on her own). Even when she is being jealous or selfish, you still like her. These may be mystery comics on the surface, but really every story revolves around friendship and how to be a good person.
The best part of the Goldie Vance comics is how effortlessly inclusive it is. There are characters of different races, sexualities, and personalities, but all of them get along and respect each other. Every character is fully formed and has strengths and weaknesses, making them realistic and relatable. There is no fanfare around Goldie being gay and there isn’t a big coming out scene. It’s just what she is. Goldie and Diane have a very sweet, chaste relationship. They have lives away from each other, but also support and care about each other’s hobbies.
Each volume has a different artist and the illustrations vary but are still cohesive. They have their own style, but they still look like they belong to the same series. The color palette holds it all together using soft pastels to color Goldie’s world.
These are inclusive, fun, entertaining reads that are recommended for all libraries. It is aimed at teens, but there is a strong crossover appeal to younger kids and adults. Give them to readers who enjoy Lumberjanes, but want something more realistic.
Goldie Vance, vols. 2-4
by Hope Larson and Jackie Ball
Art by Brittney Williams, Noah Ball, and Elle Power
Volume 2 ISBN: 9781608869749
Volume 3 ISBN: 9781684150533
Volumw 4 ISBN: 9781684151400
Boom! Box, 2017