Queen Bee Vol. 1

By Chynna Clugston
112 pages, black and white
Published by Graphix/Scholastic Books

Chynna Clugston’s Blue Monday is often characterized as “what would happen if Archie comics were written for older readers.” It’s certainly true that Clugston’s comics like Blue Monday and Scooter Girl aren’t intended for younger readers—so in many ways, that was one of the immediate attractions in looking at Queen Bee. What would happen when Clugston’s humor and sensibilities went to work on a book intended for all ages?

Haley Madison’s ready for something new. She and her mom just moved into the city, and ever since Haley discovered she has slightly uncontrollable psychokinesis powers, school’s been nothing short of a nightmare. That’s why she’s excited about being in a new place; she’s been practicing turning herself into one of the “cool kids” and she’s determined to fit in at John F. Kennedy Intermediate School. There are just two problems, though. First, her psychokinesis seems to have a mind of its own, tripping her up at just the wrong moments. And second, what happens when another transfer student arrives who has just the same goals and powers as Haley?

Reading Queen Bee, I’d told myself in advance that I shouldn’t automatically expect a younger version of Blue Monday, that this was for a different age group and would probably have a very different style. What I was relieved to see, though, was that in many ways a younger version of Blue Monday is what I got. I’m not saying that the two are the same in terms of plot elements, but rather that both books share the same basic sensibility. Haley’s struggles with classmates and fitting in are made memorable by Clugston’s wit; in this case it’s just aimed for a larger age range. Clugston does a good job at bringing across the sometimes fickle nature of junior high friendships, with Haley flipping over to “the Hive” and abandoning her first group of friends far too easily. Likewise, when Haley and Alexa start their feud, she really brings to live the nature of junior high fights, with everything escalating at a rapid-fire pace until both competitors have lost sight of the original argument, concentrating completely on the next volley.

The one frustrating thing about Queen Bee is that it feels like there’s almost too much extra material going on at the same time. We’re introduced to a whole group of characters early on (Paige the music-obsessed class vice-president, Rachel the future politician, and Jette the germophobe) that are never really seen again, for example. Likewise, we briefly see Haley’s treasured locket with its pictures inside, only to have it just as easily brushed aside. On one hand they’re both clearly setting up future volumes and storylines, but it feels a little too heavy-handed for something that’s never addressed again in the book; it’s a lack of subtlety that is a little surprising for Clugston.

Clugston’s art for Queen Bee is as sharp as always. There’s are two scenes early on which sum up for me Clugston’s approach to the art. The first is at Haley’s old school, where she’s trying to hit a softball but her psychokinesis is forever pulling it out of control. Even as the ball whips around in strange random patterns while Haley chases it, her fellow students just stare at her incredulously. One student seems stunned, a second scared, and the third just makes me laugh hysterically. They’re all different approaches to the same event, all look distinctly unique, and are all priceless. The other is just a page or two later, where Haley is practicing different expressions and catchphrases for transferring to her new school. There’s a cute energy to the scene; Haley’s trying so hard and you can really feel her standing in front of the mirror trying these different things out. It just comes across as very natural, very normal, and that’s what’s so great about Clugston’s art. Queen Bee is cute and fun, but even in the craziest moments there’s a sense of reality about it that helps give it that edge. You didn’t have someone with psychokinesis (well, probably not) but in all other ways the story sings true.

I came into Queen Bee hoping for a book that was as fun as Clugston’s books meant for older readers, and I think I found it here. It may not be quite as raw or evil as her other works, but the same spirit is definitely there. Queen Bee is in many ways the graphic novel equivalent of a John Hughes movie; teenage rivalries, a wicked sense of humor, and a fantastic soundtrack to boot. The end of Queen Bee shows preview pages for another volume, and I for one am delighted. There may not be any actual honey, but Queen Bee is still pretty darn sweet.

Purchase Links: Amazon.com

48 comments to Queen Bee Vol. 1

  • [...] on the cliques and social standings of those around her. Like fellow Graphix-imprint graphic novel Queen Bee, social standings are crucial to Breaking Up. It drives a lot of the characters and defines their [...]

  • rania

    I think this book was great. i don’t agree with you that the locket was brushed aside that easily. i’m pretty sure it’s going to have another role in the next book since it’s intended to be a series. so are Paige, jette, trini, and the others. maybe haley will become better friends with them from now on…?anyway, this book is definetly a biggie. i only wish that book 2 was here! all that stuff about Haley trying so hard to be popular, and that Alexa intrusion to her dream life was awesome! you can really understand how haley is feeling (maybe that’s just me, because coincedentally, her mission is the same as mine cuz i’m moving to middle school).i never read any of chynna clugston’s books before, but i’ve got a vague idea from other replies on other websites, so i can’t quite compare it. i really think this should be a movie, but a book is just fine.ya’ll will love this book. some people acually think this book was not that good, and i don’t see why.summary: this book is about a outcast, a geek, in her old middle school. but when her mom informs her that she has a new job as a writer for tweenz magazine, they’re about to move to the city, so haley takes advantage of this. moving to a new school meant that she could start over, so in turn, she could turn from loser girl to cool girl, the coolest girl if she plays her cards right! so she buys books, dvd’s. movies, you name it. all to studie up for her new school! she gets new clothes, and totally transforms her life. once in school, she actually catches the hive’s attention by saving someone from a bull and getting someone’s shoe out of a tree. so now she’s all settled in the hive, livin’ the dream life. but one day, there’s a new student by the name of alexa harmon, with the same powers as haley. this could be trouble! as quick as lightning, haley’s place in the hive is taken by alexa. Noooooo!!! and something tells haley alexa is totally putting on an act! soon there’s a struggle with their powers. and alexa just made haley look like the bad guy!this alexa is a VIPER.haley and jasper become friends along the story by some report for class. the first ever Amer-i-can Dream contest comes up, too! predictably, alexa and haley are totally going to compete with each other, and alexa cheats! yeah, you guessed it, she uses her powers to mess up very ones act. but haley manages narrowly through her act. now it’s down to haley and alexa. oh, and so you know, haley and jasper are working together on this. ba-dum ba-dum ba-dum!! and the winner is alexa and haley is the runnerup! no! but whoops, there was a miscomunication. the winner is acually haley and the runnerup is alexa harmon! so haley may still not be Queen Bee, but she certainly is buzzing!and that’s Queen Bee! i’v got to read the second book i can’t wait! anybody know when it’s coming out? i’ve got a lot of predictions for the second book, and if you read the book you will too. this story is great, the illustrations are awesome, and you will love it! i really recomend this book, it’s one of my favorites!

  • maryia

    it was great ilove the way tahey draw so cokoo

  • i have the book and i love it but i just want to know what is the second part of queen bee called cuz i want to read it, please message me.

  • I totally love the book queen bee and i want you to send me a series of queen bee, if you can. You rock chynna clugston.

  • I’ve read this comic.Well…only Vol.1.It’s so good!I want Vol.2 so badly!!!:)

  • Anthea

    I think this book was great. i donít agree with you that the locket was brushed aside that easily. iím pretty sure itís going to have another role in the next book since itís intended to be a series. so are Paige, jette, trini, and the others. maybe haley will become better friends with them from now onÖ?anyway, this book is definetly a biggie. i only wish that book 2 was here! all that stuff about Haley trying so hard to be popular, and that Alexa intrusion to her dream life was awesome! you can really understand how haley is feeling (maybe thatís just me, because coincedentally, her mission is the same as mine cuz iím moving to middle school).i never read any of chynna clugstonís books before, but iíve got a vague idea from other replies on other websites, so i canít quite compare it. i really think this should be a movie, but a book is just fine.yaíll will love this book. some people acually think this book was not that good, and i donít see why.summary: this book is about a outcast, a geek, in her old middle school. but when her mom informs her that she has a new job as a writer for tweenz magazine, theyíre about to move to the city, so haley takes advantage of this. moving to a new school meant that she could start over, so in turn, she could turn from loser girl to cool girl, the coolest girl if she plays her cards right! so she buys books, dvdís. movies, you name it. all to studie up for her new school! she gets new clothes, and totally transforms her life. once in school, she actually catches the hiveís attention by saving someone from a bull and getting someoneís shoe out of a tree. so now sheís all settled in the hive, liviní the dream life. but one day, thereís a new student by the name of alexa harmon, with the same powers as haley. this could be trouble! as quick as lightning, haleyís place in the hive is taken by alexa. Noooooo!!! and something tells haley alexa is totally putting on an act! soon thereís a struggle with their powers. and alexa just made haley look like the bad guy!this alexa is a VIPER.haley and jasper become friends along the story by some report for class. the first ever Amer-i-can Dream contest comes up, too! predictably, alexa and haley are totally going to compete with each other, and alexa cheats! yeah, you guessed it, she uses her powers to mess up very ones act. but haley manages narrowly through her act. now itís down to haley and alexa. oh, and so you know, haley and jasper are working together on this. ba-dum ba-dum ba-dum!! and the winner is alexa and haley is the runnerup! no! but whoops, there was a miscomunication. the winner is acually haley and the runnerup is alexa harmon! so haley may still not be Queen Bee, but she certainly is buzzing!and thatís Queen Bee! iív got to read the second book i canít wait! anybody know when itís coming out? iíve got a lot of predictions for the second book, and if you read the book you will too. this story is great, the illustrations are awesome, and you will love it! i really recomend this book, itís one of my favorites!

  • omg! i loooooooooov queen bee! the book is right next to me!!! omg! im just lukin if sum1 put the second book…. i just luv it! its like about haley madison who goes to a new skool and tries to be all popular nd it worked. she has this kind of power… phsycokinesus right and that girl…. Alexa Harmon! right! she got that power too! yo, i think they are like sisters. in the sneak peek, it said that like alexa looked like haley if shelost the curls, freckles and orange hair. omg! shes an orphan right! lov the book. searchin>… brb

  • I tottaly think that haley is cool just the way she is and I know that she and alexa are sister’s and haley likes jasper him I mean like like’s him well I got to go by

  • Lesli

    Does anybody know if there is a second book and what the name is??????

  • Maria

    I’ve read this book before, and my opinion on it, is that, Haley is just experiencing life. i mean, she finally got to realize that not everybody in this world is just gonna worship you the minute to become the most popular girl. There’s always competiton. But what I think is that Alexa and Haley are sort of the same person. I think that they are twins, because the preview of the next book hints that. It also shows that Alexa and Haley have the same locket. Now, my guess is that their parents might have been supernatural parents and their power’s don’t come untill their about to meet eachother. What i mean by “about to meet eachother ” is when Haley and Alexa are about to see eachother. Or it might be when they strike a certain age or a difficult time of life. I’ve always been wondering about Alexa’s side of the story and her parents too. I wonder what they’re like. Are they made of the same mateial as her?

  • nina

    i read this book and it was amazing

  • Liie

    This graphic novel is wonderful! I love to read it and it is so interesting! I can’t wait for the next book in the series!

  • I love this book! I can’t wait to read vol. 2!

  • Dr. Mary Hensien

    It Queen Bee the only book in this series? I am a principal in a middle school and I have a special student who has read the book 10 times. I would love to purchase more if this is a series and other books are available..

    M Hensien

  • Nicole

    C’mon! I’ve waited 2 years for Volume 2 and it has not come out yet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • jess

    i loved queen bee i read it in second grade and i loved it then i bought the book in third ( pretty hard to find) and now im in sixth still waiting for volume two its been years my mom wants me to give up but im online all the time looking for vol 2 if anybody know PLZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ leave a comment right now im reading queen bee again for the 43rd time im obsessed

  • Sofia

    im obsessed too!! I loved queen bee but i read it 3 years ago and theres still no word about the sequel?? plus i cant find any info from the author about the sequel and im pretty sure there isnt going to be one :((((( i think she dropped the series altogether. sucks!! if anyone finds out when its coming out PLZZZ TELL ME!!!!!!

  • Britney

    i love the book “queen bee” it was awesome!!! one day i hope i will be “popular” too => lol i really wanna! I’ve read it about 17 times!i wanna read the second book which i think is not out yet!

  • Britney

    um……..this book is the BEST BOOK IN THE WORLD
    don’t ya think?i LOVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE IT

  • joanna

    OMG i love queeen bee i just love it and right now i am busting to read volume 2 i cant wait (:

  • katie

    i just read the book queen bee volume 1 i need to read volume 2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

  • Haley-Rox

    WHEN IS THE SECOND BOOK COMING OUT? I WANT IT! MAKE ANOTHER ONE,PLEASE!

  • blob

    (I found this at scholastic.com ) At the moment, we don’t have another Queen Bee book scheduled.

    Onward!
    ‚ÄĒ Sheila, Scholastic Graphix Editor

  • jessica

    queen bee is so great if u haven’t read it u need to

  • kareem

    i like dis book and im a boy

  • [...] the most “comments” posted onto it on my review site. (As of this writing, my review of Queen Bee has 26 comments posted! Most of them from fans saying how much they love the [...]

  • Salem

    GAHH!! WHEN IS THE SECOND BOOK GOING TO COME OUT!!!!! I’VE BEEN WAITING FOREVER!!!!!!

  • paige

    NEED BOOK 2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IT SAYS ON BOOK 1 THAT THERE WOULD BE A BOOK 2!!AND BOOK 1 WAS MADE QUITE A WHILE AGO!!!!!!!!!!!! >:( …….. :D
    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEEEEEEEEEAAAASEE TELL ME A.S.A.P WHEN THE NEW BOOK WILL BE OUT OK TELL TELL TELL!!!!!!!!!!!! A.S.A.P!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Betty

    Is there a number 2 it killing me to read not only what i want to find out about the locket but also do haley and jasper go out because i see them blushing

  • Ive waited 6 years for queen bee 2 to come out!!!!!!!!!! i own the first book but how long does it really take for a comic book to come out!!! Chynna Clugston pleas hurry
    im seriously dying on the inside because of waiting for queen bee 2 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    HURRY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Chelsea

    If It’s been so long then the author probably killed it.
    But don’t get me wrong I love Queen Bee too!!!!
    And book one does say there will be Queen Bee 2. It even gives a preview of it.

  • Alanna

    I Loved the Queen Bee series, AND I REALLY WISH THEY WOULD COME OUT WITH THE NEXT ONE!
    I just love the story, and you know in the sneak peak to the next book, (Don’t read if you don’t know)
    When Haley scribbles all over Alexa’s face, she notices something hanging from Alexa’s neck, and it’s the same locket Haley has, so that just tells you there, that their sisters….
    and cause the one girl( can’t remember her name) noticed they look sorta the same.

    I really hope they come out with the next one!
    Please let me know!!!

  • lil

    i love yo books the queen be is aw some can u pleas send me number 2# pleas send it to my email k thanks your the best auther

  • mo

    ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh! WHY WON’T THEY JUST GIVE US THE 2nd book. its been at least 6 maybe 7 years now… Isn’t about time someone asked the author what happened because this is VERY dissapointing. How can she expect to come out with a awesome book, gain many fans over the MANY YEARS…and not come out with the second book. DID SHE DIE OR SOMETHING!!!
    WHY IS LIFE SO UNFAIR!!!! =(

  • Momo Chan

    You know at the end, did you guys realise that Haley’s locket is exact same as Alexa’s lost sister XD

  • i read vol. 1 but i cant find vol. 2 is there even a vol. 2??
    :)

  • Estrella Ramirez

    I want to see the vol 2 plz it really interested and I love it I read it when I was 10

  • queen bee fan

    omg!! i think id die if they dont get vol.2 this instant !!!

  • queen bee 1 fan

    plz if someone knows when they will get it let me know

  • omg i love this biik soooooo much

  • i love it this book please post more.

  • love love love love love love this book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • big fan of queen bee

    i lllllooooovvvvvvvveeeee the book

  • Sarah

    I love this book. We have it at our school library. I was SO excited for the second book, until I searched up the book and found out it was written in 2005. What the heck? I feel like my life has no meaning. Haha, just joking, but still!

  • SUPER fan of books.. esp QUEEN BEE

    PLS. im so interested bout dis book.. pls .. i want the vol. 2 !! pls.. :(
    i love the author too.. :)… pls want this.. m’ suffering for this book !!

  • ashika

    i think there is another book cuz i have a stong feeling that haley and alex are long lost sisters……n there is something to do about how they find out about their parents or something………if there is pls tell me…..

  • […] admiration.¬†And to the people who, eight years later, keep posting in the comments section of the¬†Queen Bee review hoping for a sequel… while sadly I don’t think your wish will ever come true, I […]