Spot 12: Five Months in the Neonatal ICU - Jenny Jaeckel

Spot 12 cover
4.5 Stars!

Spot 12 delivers the gritty details of a new mother and her newborn daughter, Asa, during a five-month stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in this visually gripping graphic memoir by Jenny Jaeckel. A routine prenatal exam reveals a dangerous problem, and Jaeckel and her husband find themselves thrust into a world of close calls, sleepless nights, and psychological crises. Surrounded by disagreements and family tensions, death, and questions of faith, Jaeckel struggles to maintain a positive frame of mind. Against the antiseptic, mechanical reality of the NICU, the dedicated doctors and nurses are drawn as sympathetic and wry animal characters. Doctor Eyes and Nurse Gentlehands are two of the caring individuals who do all they can to save Baby Asa. At times Jaeckel and her husband battle feelings of helplessness and despair, but their determination, hope, insight, bravery, and connection ultimately helps keep their little girl alive.

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Praise “A memorable and beautifully executed memoir of a newborn’s difficult first months.” —Kirkus Reviews “It's a sad, lovely, tragic story. It reminds us how close we are to tragedy at any moment in our lives...” —Tom Hart, author of Rosalie LightningSpot 12, the novel, a unique combination of text and remarkable drawings, was able to completely hold my interest. The topic of parenting a critically ill newborn in the NICU is not a new one…But Spot 12 was matchless in its comic book format associating pictures with feelings….It is very impressive.” —Anita Catlin, for Advances in Neonatal Care


Jenny JaeckelJenny Jaeckel holds a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington and a Master of Arts in Hispanic Literatures from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She is a certified interpreter and translator (Spanish) and teaches illustration. She lives in Victoria, Vancouver Island in British Columbia with her husband and daughter. Jaeckel is the author and illustrator of three graphic memoirs: Spot 12: Five Months in the Neonatal ICU, which won a 2008 Xeric Grant (printed in Canada, to be released in the US in 2016 in both English and Spanish), Siberiak: My Cold War Adventure on the River Ob (published in 2014), and Odd Pieces: Memoir of a Childhood (to be published in 2017). For the Love of Meat: Nine Illustrated Stories is her first collected fiction (2016).

Find out more about Jaeckel at her website, and connect with her on Twitter

Wow very original book! This was a wonderful, sad, but encouraging story that will break your heart and warm it at the same time. I have always been a fan of graphic novels and have read quite a few. Its just a nice change from reading a full novel, its fun! I don't think I have ever read one that was a memoir and especially not about the birth and life of a baby with special needs. I loved that the author also included a lot about her own feelings and depression (not just about the baby) this really made it real for me.

I can see this book being used for parents going through the same problems with their newborn or really a newborn with any problems. This would also be a great tool to use to help your older children understand what is happening and what to expect when a new baby is going to be born and will need surgery or needs to stay in the NICU. This story is written simply enough for older children to understand.
I think it would be great if hospitals would have this book on hand to give to new parents who will be experiencing anything like this with their own babies. Wouldn't that be just wonderful?

I found this book very interesting and especially heartwarming. I also shed a few tears in a couple spots.  loved that is was in graphic novel form - it was interesting enough to beginning with but this just made it more fun to read - different.

My favorite part was when she wrote her prayers for Asa on the glass window so the prayers could go up to the sky to God. I loved this idea! -

I especially loved that the author put real photos of Asa and an update on how she was doing in the back of the book! This was a joy to read.

Thank you TLC Book Tours for sending me this book for my honest review!


  1. Oh I LOVE the prayers written on the glass! <3 What a beautiful expression of love.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!


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