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Refresh, Refresh

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3.19  ·  Rating details ·  524 ratings  ·  123 reviews
Fathers, sons, and the war that comes between them.

There's nothing Josh, Cody, and Gordon want more than their fathers home safely from the war in Iraq -- unless it's to get out of their dead-end town. Refresh, Refresh is the story of three teenagers on the cusp of high school graduation and their struggle to make hard decisions with no role models to follow; to discover t
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Paperback, 144 pages
Published September 29th 2009 by First Second
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Average rating 3.19  · 
Rating details
 ·  524 ratings  ·  123 reviews


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Calista
I am the wrong audience for this story. Not only that, but this story did not make a whole lot of sense to me as to what is going on.

The story starts out with the boys beating the crap out of each other to toughen themselves up while their dads are fighting in Iraq. There little town is gutted by all the men leaving. They are looking for futures in college, something different from their dads, but for some reason after being accepted to college, they join the army anyway.

The story is brutal and
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Melki
Mar 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Aaargh!
This book has had me tied up in knots since I finished it yesterday. I don't know if it's because of the air of quiet desperation hovering around the pages, that certain knowledge that NOTHING will end well for anyone, or if it's the fact that I have two teenaged boys whose futures I'm worried about... It's not a pleasant feeling.

The boys in this story live in rural Oregon. Their fathers are fighting in Iraq. There's not much to do but hang out in the Walmart parking lot, drink, and get
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N.T. Embe
Oct 02, 2011 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: No one. If you like "left behind" war stories, then eh, maybe it's for you.
Recommended to N.T. by: Comics and Graphic Novels (Class)
This sounded like it was going to be a lot more interesting and deep than it turned out to be. Very few words throughout the entire thing. It was one of those reads that was mostly pictures, and that had just enough conversation to fill in the blanks and make some impact.

Overall, I don't have much to say about this book. It was so swift and without anything really of consequence that I read the entire thing, front to back, in less than half an hour. I took no breaks, and whatever thoughts I had
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Raina
When I read that this was a graphic novelization of a screenplay adapted from a short story, I got worried. I'd read some good reviews of this, but could it really be that great?

But I sped right through it and really felt for the characters. My library serves many military families stationed at Fort Lewis so I felt a special connection with these boy's stories. The plot didn't have as much to do with their backyard boxing ring as I expected. All three boys have very different experiences with t
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Wealhtheow
Jul 13, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
A disturbing tale of three high school boys living in a small town. Their fathers, like many people in the town, have been shipped off to the Iraq war. Left to take on responsibilities and face realities about violence and adulthood, the boys flounder but maintain a tight friendship. The art is not great (I was surprised to learn the artist had used models for the characters, as I had a hard time telling them apart), but there are a few scenes of beauty or well-conveyed emotion.
Melissa Chung
Jul 31, 2016 rated it it was ok
I really didn't like this graphic novel. I'm sure some would, but it wasn't my cup of tea...2 stars.

This graphic novel is about 3 friends who live in some state, I can't remember. All 3 of their dads are in the War with Afghanistan. The boys are seniors and are bored so they like to dick around town either drinking or fighting. One boy is a good kid with good grades and wants to go to college. One boy is really into joining the military like his dad and I don't really know much about the other k
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Andrew
Jan 27, 2010 rated it it was ok
Although I understood the plight of the boys, this was a little too pro-military for me. It reads like a "Join the Army" brochure. Ponsoldt writes teenage boys very well, and this wasn't what I'd call a waste of time ('course I read it in like 15 minutes). However, the whole tragedy leads to conformity ending really pissed me off. ...more
Jason
Jul 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
A series of artful, full-color vignettes present the intertwined stories of three American teen boys whose fathers are fighting in Iraq. I gobbled this down in one sitting, and I can see my high school boy students really enjoying this. My one beef with this book is the ending. It was resolved enough, but I wanted more.
Julia
Feb 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-novels
This story didn't do much for me. The characters never drew me in, and I felt no empathy for them. It is a sad topic, and an important one, but the way it was presented was not very interesting. I think you could find better books on the topic. ...more
Abdon Ortiz
“Refresh Refresh” is a book...well a comic book. This comic book is a 10/10 in my opinion. It details a lot of info that makes you understand it, and gets you really attached to the book. But I am going to try my hardest to not spoil the book for you, so just keep on reading this review so you can know how this book was for me, and maybe make you get the book too.
This comic book was a really interesting book. It showed some really good pictures of the events happening in the book. “Refresh Refr
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Victoria
Feb 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: library-book
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cathy
Really a 3 1/2 but the message was so strong I couldn't bear to give it a three.
Very intense. It was a quick read, but it packed a lot in that quick read. It was a little hard to keep track of some of the characters as some of them looked very similar. It seems to be a very small town, and almost every adult male is in the military, but there are a couple of times when you wonder how small it is since the boys get into the bars so easily.
The end is so dark and bleak it just causes shivers to ru
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Joey Parisik
(MY OPINION ALERT!)
i read refresh,refresh. this book takes place during the Iraq war this book is about boys who want to be men. it demonstrates the savage nature of man by showing the viewer how the kids glorify war and look at it as a game. josh on the other hand wants no part in the war, he wants to go to collage.

in my opinion this book was horrible it did not make any logical sense what so ever. all these kids do is fight each other for no reason. they beet up people and stole there stuff. t
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Luke Wilson
Jun 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Usually, graphic novels take me a while to read because I process the illustrations really thoroughly and that takes time. This graphic novel took me about a half an hour to finish. The illustrations were really plain and simple and the dialogue was really easy to read. Although I found the story of the war in Iraq touching and deep, the dialogue made this book so poor. I felt like I was reading a graphic novel that one of my classmates made. The ending still confuses me; whether the father dies ...more
Anina
Oct 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels, teen
Danica Novgorodoff has been my new favorite artist since I read Slow Storm. She works in watercolors and her style is beautiful. The story is also heartwrenching, about boys growing up in a nowhere town where everyone joins the army and goes to Iraq. I don't know anything else about this author though. But I will probably love anything she illustrates, I hope she keeps it up. ...more
Becca Nunemaker
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
** help and insight needed

I really didn't like this book. I am still trying to decide whether it was bad and problematic as a whole or if it bad and problematic on purpose to try and provoke a response in the reader. I am interested in looking through some of the other reviews from some other readers.

I originally bought this book at a book warehouse sale because I was trying to expand my classroom library. Most of my books had female leads and weren't about subjects such as war, so I snatched th
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Terri
Jan 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
Well...I would give it a 3.5.

"Refresh, Refresh" is a graphic novel that follows three teen boys (Josh, Cody, and Gordon) all struggling with the "loss" of their fathers who are soldiers in Iraq. They continuously click "refresh" on their computers, hoping for news from their dads. Their frustration and rage grows and festers to the point where they can not contain it and look for ways to vent. They do this in largely unhealthy ways (violence, substance abuse, sex, etc.). The book is disturbing
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Kev
Oct 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
A quality story with a classic plot to it

This book was well worth the time spent! The author James Ponsoldt really did a marvelous job with his story line in this book. He did a good job of describing the lives of not just the main characters, but also the remaining parts that are not as important, but is still needed to explain the situations well.One of the reasons why i really love this book is because even at a few of its driest parts, the book still has a type of cling to it that ke
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Heather
Jul 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Refreshing the computer screen has become a way of life for high school seniors Josh, Gordon, and Cody, whose fathers have deployed to Iraq. They keep a near constant vigil over their email accounts to intercept any communication the moment it arrives. When they aren’t monitoring their messages, they spend their time sneaking into bars, orchestrating knock-down drag-out fights with one another, and talking about their futures. Novgorodoff solemnly examines each character both in the context of h ...more
Lawral
Jun 08, 2010 marked it as read-but-unowned
Shelves: ya
I don't really know how to write a review of this book, which I guess is why it took me so long to do so. It's so sad, all around, and so hopeless in so many ways. The three boys that are at the center of the story aren't the only ones affected by the war, most of the town is, so there isn't really anywhere for them to go to get away from the worry and fear that they themselves feel. Each of them deals with it in their own ways, coming together for their fights. The prevailing feeling is pain. T ...more
Brittany
Jun 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
Three boys whose fathers enlisted are left behind to be the men of the house. So sometimes they fight. They fight as if they have something to prove, to their fathers, to their friends or to themselves. When their lives don’t turn out exactly as planned and they end up pulling some stupid stuff. Enlisting themselves might be the only way for them to save themselves. But then, who is left?

This was a gut-wrenching depiction of war-torn families. The title comes from these boys constantly refreshin
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Jason
Jun 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
There were definitely things about this book that were great, and other things that were not. I liked the drawing style for the most part, most notably the opening panels of one object that sort of set the pace for the chapter or subplot. Sometimes, though, I felt like the characters kind of blended together in physical traits. The pacing of the story was well done, but it did seem a bit choppy in certain sections.

In terms of the writing, I'm not familiar with the other initial form of the story
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Sarah
Jun 25, 2015 rated it liked it
I think that this graphic novel would have had a much more powerful narrative and focus if it had been strictly from the point of view of Josh, who is the strongest and most interesting character. Josh's story arc was the most emotional and the punch at the end could have been even more wrenching had his development been more realized. That said, the watercolors at the end were amazing and I knew the twist was coming, but still wasn't fully prepared.
This is about three friends who watch their fa
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Krystl Louwagie
Feb 10, 2016 rated it liked it
I admire what this book is trying to touch on, but I felt like it moved too fast, only gave glimpses into things that needed more exploration. It's depressing and disheartening, and that comes through loud and clear. Maybe that's the point. It's ugly, and leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth, that's for sure. And again, maybe that's not criticism, maybe that's the point. For a fast run through of subject matter, it follows teenage boys who's father's are away in active Marine duty, and ever ...more
P.
Dec 10, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics, yyay
In the humid green hills of Oregon three teenage boys box each other in a muddy back yard. They hunt a deer and dress it, then use its blood and skin to scare the bullies camping out nearby. They sit in diners that are boxes of light in the evening before going out to the bar where they will be served because there are hardly any men left in town of legal drinking age. They hit refresh, refresh on their inboxes to see if their fathers have written them back yet from their posts in Iraq and Afgha ...more
Danny Young
Dec 16, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
Refresh Refresh is a haunting and heartwrenching novel. Novgorodoff's story follows three teenaged boys growing up in a rural Oregon town that is torn by war--like many of the town's men, the boys' fathers have all been shipped overseas to fight. The story thus frames themes of violence and abandonment as the characters struggle to cope in a world where love, life, and the future are completely unstable.

This novel is disturbing, and such is represented by a vivid violence and an overriding anxi
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Tracy
May 25, 2016 rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this book. I loved the premise - a son waiting for word from his father who is in the military overseas. Checking his email, clicking refresh, day after day. This is something that so many people have to deal with. He spends his time with two of his friends. They spend a lot of time in the backyard...in a makeshift boxing ring. They fight each other...to get tougher, to prove themselves to their fathers.

This is where I have the problem. I understand them wanted to pr
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Alicia
Mar 21, 2010 rated it it was ok
Stark, I don't know why that seems to be a perfect word for this strange tale. Three boys, all with fathers in Iraq and how they go through the motions of every day life-- beating each other up in the backyard, constantly checking their email for word from them, and handling being "the man of the house." It's just a little too much, a little too over the top, although there are instances where you're brought into the world of military life when they come to tell you that you're father has been k ...more
Rachel
Jan 21, 2011 rated it liked it
A lot of mixed feelings about this book. Living in Oregon, and teaching high school reading, I wanted this book to be something I could give to my students, something they could relate to, but it is so violent and desperate. The boys are looking for guidance and role models while their fathers are fighting in Iraq. They see the military as their only option. Violence is normalized in their lives, and they don't know how to handle it. I honestly wouldn't give this to teenagers--one has to be able ...more
Elizabeth A
Mar 19, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2014, graphix
"This is what we all wanted: to please our fathers, to make them proud - even though they had left us."

War is hell, and we've all read books that describe that hell well. What happens to those family members left at home though? This graphic novel explores the lives of three teenage boys whose fathers have shipped out to the Iraq war. Set in Oregon, and told as vignettes, we see how three teenage boys cope with not knowing if their fathers are still alive. The title refers to obsessively checkin
...more
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Danica Novgorodoff is an artist, writer, graphic novelist, graphic designer and horse wrangler from Kentucky who currently lives in Brooklyn, NY. She has published three graphic novels: A Late Freeze (2006), Slow Storm (2008), and Refresh, Refresh (included in Best American Comics 2011). Her fourth graphic novel, The Undertaking of Lily Chen, is forthcoming from First Second Books in 2014.

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  Kerine Wint is a software engineering graduate with more love for books than for computers. As an avid reader, writer, and fan of all things...
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