Phonogram is the type of graphic novel that you feel really cool reading. At first it's a little confusing- it does that thing that a lot of fantasy books do where it just sort of throws you into the characters' world without much explanation. Pretty much all you need to know is that it takes place in England in the early 2000's, and the explosive Britpop scene of the 90's has faded into memory for most. Phonomancers are music-obsessed, and their spells and magic always relate to the energy that they feel when they listen to their favorite band, or are a part of a great live show. David Kohl is the Phonomancer that we follow through this volume: snarky, opinionated, and a bit of an ass, he's nevertheless easy to relate to in his struggle to let go of the scene he lived and breathed a few years ago. Even though at first glance he's moved on, his personality is still "rooted there"- and someone is messing with his memories. In order to save his own personality and remain a Phonomancer, he'll have to look into his past and face his future.
Even though I had never heard of most of the bands David and his friends talk about, I can definitely relate to their obsession with music, as I was obsessed with Nirvana and grunge/indie in early high school and part of a fairly active metal scene in the last couple years of high school. Of course, it was nothing compared to the scale of what the characters in Phonogram experienced, but no matter how small the crowd, that energy was always there. And I remember the in-depth discussions of albums, songs, line-ups, live shows we had gone to and long-ago concerts we'd never experience... but our scene faded pretty quickly, and we all sort of faded into our own worlds with it.
If you've ever felt that skip in your heart upon hearing your favorite song, if you've ever danced or moshed until your whole body felt like jelly and you knew you'd be a pile of useless mush in the morning, if you've ever argued with your whole heart about how music can change your entire being... this graphic novel is for you.