Iris, Lili, and Nora are three best friends, ready to take on their senior year at Seaside High and to make the most of this time together. Jackie Morrow’s Supper Club follows the girls through a school year full of changes and growth.
Senior year is not a time for slacking and each girl’s plate is fuller than ever. It’s not just classes or college decisions hanging over their heads, everyone is just busy all of the time. Iris is always aiming to be the best at everything she does, Lili is dealing with distance from her parents, and Nora is finding it harder to deal with things that used to come easily. The creation of the titular Supper Club comes when Nora realizes the thing that’s been pulling them to after school clubs has always been the lure of free food. As long as they always have a reason to meet on Friday nights, there’s no way their friendship will suffer or fall apart!
The club becomes a safe space for the friends, along with a few other classmates, to share time with each other and to share cuisines from everyone’s cultures. The school year rages on with each of the three friends facing harder, and oftentimes more private, challenges that test their friendship and the club itself, getting to a point where the girls are barely speaking to each other. But it always comes back to Supper Club, the food they’re sharing with each other on those Friday nights, and the friendships that keep bringing them back to the meetings.
Nearly every chapter of the graphic novel is named after a food item consumed at one of their club meetings. As one character points out, food is a special kind of comfort, just like the company of friends. Readers may be inspired to follow along with the dishes and it could even inspire some Supper Club themed book discussions. The author includes three recipes of her own at the end of the book as well. Young foodies and chefs will eat this up!
The art of Supper Club excels at expressing the emotions of the characters, especially in scenes where the characters are dealing with anxiety and stress. The pages representing a panic attack are intense and invoke the feeling to a point some readers may need to take a minute to take a breather. Additionally, the food preparation scenes are specific and colorful, with the food holding its own in the panels. Allie Pipitone’s work as colorist deserves a mention for how often the coloring helps tell the story and guide the reader’s emotions.
Overall, Supper Club is a cute and heartfelt graphic novel recommended for young adult readers. There is some crossover potential for both older middle grade and adult readers, as the story can be appreciated by a range of ages. Readers who loved Lucy Knisley’s Relish will eat this book up, as will readers who enjoy the friendships in John Allison’s Giant Days. It may inspire some readers to start supper clubs of their own too!
By Jackie Morrow
Publisher Age Rating: Teen+
NFNT Age Recommendation: Older Teen (16-18), Teen (13-16)