This Was Our Pact by Ryan Andrews

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Genre: Adventure Fiction/ Graphic Novel

Shelf Location: Juvenile/ Middle Grade

Rating: ★★★★★

I borrowed a copy of this book from my local library. The opinions in this review are solely my own and do not reflect the views of the publisher or author.

 


Final Thoughts

This charming graphic novel told from the perspective of a group of young boys who make a pact never to look back regardless of how tough the road ahead gets. It’s the night of the annual Autumn Equinox Festival, where the town gathers to float paper lanterns down the river. [taken from synopsis] This is the first year that Ben and his friends decide to follow the lanterns down the river to see where they end up. No one has ever completed this task. The group of boys make a pact with two rules: no one turns for home, and no one looks back. Ben and his friends start the journey but slowly they turn back one by one leaving been with Nathaniel. Nathaniel tries so hard to fit in with Ben and his friends, but he falls short. However, he doesn’t let that ruin his childlike personality, and he doesn’t let it stop him from trying to be friends with Ben. In the end, Nathaniel is all Ben has as they follow the lanterns to the end. These two will encounter their greatest adventure, build friendships with unexacting creatures, and find out how brave they are. Will they find out where the lanterns end or will they get lost trying?

I gave this graphic novel five stars, mostly due to the character development, the adventure, the realism, and the plot. The illustrations allow the reader to feel transported into the world of the story. The story flows wonderfully, and there is a hint of turmoil as the two main characters face an impasse. In this story, Ben developed as a reluctant character, and Nathaniel is the fearless character. The different character personalities allow for a humorous adventure as the two learn to break out of their shells. If you’re looking for a graphic novel filled with adventure, new friendships, and humor, then this is your book. I saw this book in a comic book store and felt like I had to read it. The story is appropriate for upper elementary to middle school.

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely


You can purchase copies of this book from: Amazon  | MacMillan | IndieBound 

Happy Reading! Comment below any book recommendations or your thoughts on this book! You can reach by clicking the Contact link at the top of the page or email me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com.

Sheets by Brenna Thummler

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Genre: Paranormal/ Fantasy Graphic Novel

Shelf Location: Middle Grade

Rating: ★★★★

I purchased a copy of this book from my local comic book store. The opinions in this review are solely my own and do not reflect the views of the publisher or author.

 


Final Thoughts

This graphic novel told from the perspective of the main character, Marjorie, a young girl who is carrying the weight on her shoulders. Marjorie is running her family business while her father still grieves for the loss of his wife. Marjorie continues to try to navigate the woes of a small business, school, her younger brother, and her father. Simultaneously, a ghost named Wendell is trying to navigate his life as a ghost. Wendell’s life unexpectantly collides with Marjorie’s as he stumbles into the land of the living. In particular, he stumbles into Glatt’s Laundry and creates chaos when trying to do the right thing. Marjorie is trying to keep her family’s laundry business afloat as a real estate mogul, Mr. Saubertuck, tries to sabotage her business. When she thinks things can’t get any worse, she meets Wendell, a ghost, who’s making her life more challenging than it needs to be. As the two try to navigate their current predicaments, they must both work together to save the Glatt’s Laundry and get Wendell home. Will Wendell ever truly come to terms with the way he died? Will Marjorie let her mother’s death hold her back? Marjorie and Wendell must both face their pasts before they can truly move forward. Will the two work together to deal with their pasts, or will they let it consume them?

This graphic novel is easy to read and age-appropriate. I would recommend this graphic novel to students in upper elementary and middle grades. The author does a great job highlighting the challenges of overcoming a loss from different perspectives. The book showcases how adults and children deal with grief differently. It also showcases the challenges of overcoming your fears that have derived from a loss. The younger audiences may enjoy the character, Wendell, as he takes a lighter approach to deal with his loss. I mostly give this book four stars because I felt the story was a bit lackluster and could have been developed more to highlight more characteristics associated with grief. The author had a great opportunity to tell this story in a way that is both relatable and imaginative but I felt it fell a little short. Overall, this book was both heartbreaking and humorous.

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely


You can purchase copies of this book from: Amazon | IndieBound

Happy Reading! Comment below any book recommendations or your thoughts on this book! You can reach by clicking the Contact link at the top of the page or email me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com.

Suee and the Shadow by Ginger Ly

AF7DF41A-0E42-48CD-910F-3525D62A0D5FGenre: Paranormal/ Fantasy Graphic Novel

Shelf Location: Middle Grade/ Juvenile Fiction

Rating: ★★★★

I checked out a copy of this book from my local library. The opinions in this review are solely my own and do not reflect the views of the publisher or author.

 


Final Thoughts

The graphic novel starts from the narrator perspective, then transitions to the viewpoint of Suee, the main character. Suee is a mature twelve-year-old girl who was transferred to Outskirts Elementary after her father’s job transfer. She is a very individualistic girl who prefers to be a loner at her new school until she passes by a room and hears a voice. Suee tells herself that she doesn’t need friends, then a voice from the school’s exhibit room says that it will be her friend. Suee follows the voice into the room then wakes up sometime later in the nurse’s office with no memory of how she got there. And to make matters worse, her shadow appears to be alive.

Everything was fine until she went into the exhibit room, and her shadow came alive. Now everyone in her school is starting to look like a zombie and are being called Zeroes. The strangest thing is that the students called Zeros are missing their shadows. Suee must work together with another student to figure out what is happening to their classmates shadow and what her shadow is hiding.

This graphic novel is easy to read and age appropriate. I would recommend this graphic novel to students in upper elementary school or advanced readers. This book was a fast read, and the younger audiences would much enjoy the sarcasm the main character eludes and the hint of a mystery. The characters were developed in a way to provide a little bit of a backstory of each, but the story could have been developed a bit more to offer a bit more details. I do commend the author for the history provided at the beginning, the backstory of the main character, and the cliff hanger at the end. I felt the plot could have been developed more to provide a little more character development and a chance for the main character to make more friends. However, I hope that this was only the first book and that there would be more in the series.

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely! 


You can purchase copies of this book from: Amazon | Barnes and Noble |Abrams Books

Happy Reading! Comment below any book recommendations or your thoughts on this book! You can reach by clicking the Contact link at the top of the page or email me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com.

New Kid by Jerry Craft

EC12B5E7-A94D-4039-A663-0251EF0BFD80Genre: Middle Grade Graphic Novel
Pages: Print 256
Release Date: February 5, 2019
Author: Jerry Craft
Rating: ★★★★★


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. The copy used for this review was a copy I checked out from my local library.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the publisher or author. 


Goodreads Synopsis

Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade.

As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds—and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself.


Final Thoughts

This graphic novel told from the perspective of a fair-skinned black kid sent to a prestigious private school in another town.  Jordan Banks has had a good life living in his community, but he must learn to adapt to his new school. All he wants to do is draw and attend an art school instead of his new private school. As Jordan tries to adjust to his new school, he learns that there are only a few kids who look like him. He spends his time dodging racist remarks from teachers and fellow students. He also must learn not to assume everyone that attends his new school is the same. As he struggles to adjust to his new school, he also struggles to balance his new friends with his friends from his neighborhood. Can he speak out against those who treat him like a poor black kid or will he continue to struggle as the new kid? It’s tough being the new kid but even tougher being the new black kid in a school of few.

Overall, I adored this graphic novel. The illustrations were amazing, and the message was clear. This graphic novel aims to shed light on the adversities of black kids as minorities. It also discusses the challenges of fair-skinned black kids, as they are continuously asked: “what are you.” Jordan Banks is portrayed as a young black kid just trying to blend in at his new school and succeed. During his time he notices racist remarks from his homeroom teacher as she continues to call him the name of another black student that attends the school. You see black male teacher face racism as well. We also see Jordan develop as a friend and learn to balance his private school friends with his friends from his neighborhood. He also must learn to balance his friends of different races. This graphic novel provides tremendous insight into some of the challenges faced by minorities. I had someone I work with reading this book, and she said, “I had no idea that Oreo was a term that people ever use.” At that moment I realized that Jerry Craft did a phenomenal job by educating various readers from different backgrounds.

I would recommend this book to everyone of all races. I think it is essential to have people of all ages to read this book to understand a piece of black culture. I think it is important to showcase that not all black people are poor. Also that it is unfair to assume that all black people are the same.


To purchase your copy of this novel at https://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-06-269119-4 


Happy Reading and I hope you enjoyed my honest opinion of this novel!

Enjoyed this review or have book suggestions? Leave a comment below!

Contact me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com for book reviews.

Quiet Girl in a Noisy World: An Introvert’s Story by Debbie Tung

X3XQ87PqTEGbmfu3Hx+DIAGenre: Graphic Novel (Autobiographical Memoir)
Pages: Print 177
Release Date: November 7, 2017
Author: Debbie Tung
Rating: ★★★★★


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. The copy used for this review was a printed copy that I checked out from my library.  This review does not reflect the views of the author, publisher, or library I checked it out from. 


Goodreads Synopsis 

Sweet, funny, and quietly poignant, Debbie Tung’s comics reveal the ups and downs of coming of age as an introvert.

This illustrated gift book of short comics illuminates author Debbie Tung’s experience as an introvert in an extrovert’s world. Presented in a loose narrative style that can be read front to back or dipped into at one’s leisure, the book spans three years of Debbie’s life, from the end of college to the present day. In these early years of adulthood, Debbie slowly but finally discovers there is a name for her lifelong need to be alone: she’s an introvert.

The first half of the book traces Debbie’s final year in college: socializing with peers, dating, falling in love (with an extrovert!), moving in, getting married, meeting new people, and simply trying to fit in. The second half looks at her life after graduation: finding a job, learning to live with her new husband, trying to understand social obligations when it comes to the in-laws, and navigating office life. Ultimately, Quiet Girl sends a positive, pro-introvert message: our heroine learns to embrace her introversion and finds ways to thrive in the world while fulfilling her need for quiet


Final Thoughts 

I stumbled up this book while browsing through my social media feed. However, this wasn’t the first time I viewed comics by this author before. I noticed these comics in a few articles I read in the past year but did not know there was a book.

The graphic novel starts with Debbie in college during her last years trying to navigate life as an introvert and figure out how to become an adult. She struggles to grasp the concept of social gatherings and dating. In true introvert style, she prefers to spend her time at home alone reading or in a quiet space. The author provides humorous illustrations to describe the everyday challenges of introverts. Debbie struggles with meeting new people, understanding specific social cues, and interacting with people. Social interactions, to her, cause a physical and emotional strain causing her to have to recharge after an event. We watch Debbie navigate through dating, finding a potential suitor, and interacting with others. She even faces the dreaded post-graduate life where you have to find a job and be an “adult.” In the end, she figures out who she is and learns that she is okay. That there is nothing wrong with her. She decides to do her research, read a few books to understand her personality, and truly embraces who she is. She can finally understand why she is the way she is and fully accepts that it’s okay not to be “normal.”

This graphic takes a humorous approach to describe the challenges of being an introvert. Debbie Tung illustrates a time when she attends a social gathering and the aftermath of her needing to recharge after interacting with so many people. She will typically spend a day doing nothing and just enjoying the lack of social interaction to prepare for her next gathering. Introverts may appear to be happy at events, but you will notice when they become distant and wander into a corner. I try to stay away from large gatherings because I have two versions of myself: one that gets nervous and talks way too much, the other that sulks and hides in the corner limiting social interaction. I usually go home and prefer to hibernate for 8 hours to prepare. I hate talking on the phone for more than 30 minutes after a day of work because I’ve been talking to people all day and wanted a break. If you are an introvert, then I highly recommend you picking up this graphic novel. You will soon see your everyday interactions come to life on a page.


To purchase your copy of this book, visit the website at http://wheresmybubble.tumblr.com/books for access to purchasing links


Comment below your introvert stories and how you handle it! 

Enjoyed this review or have book suggestions? Leave a comment below!

Contact me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com for book reviews.

Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

img_0353Genre: Young Adult Autobiographical Graphic Novel
Pages: Print 320
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Author: Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Rating: ★★★★★


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. The copy used for this review was a printed copy borrowed from a library I work at. This review is no way tied to the library or the publisher. 


Goodreads Synopsis 

Hey, Kiddo is the graphic memoir of author-illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Raised by his colorful grandparents, who adopted him because his mother was an incarcerated heroin addict, Krosoczka didn’t know his father’s name until he saw his birth certificate when registering for a school ski trip. Hey, Kiddo traces Krosoczka’s search for his father, his difficult interactions with his mother, his day-to-day life with his grandparents, and his path to becoming an artist. Click here for this synopsis on Goodreads.


Favorite Quotes

“Stories keep memories alive and people real to us.”


Final Thoughts

I heard about this book while watching a booktuber discuss books that you must read. I also heard about this book on Instagram and felt like I had to pick it up. I was a bit nervous to actually read this graphic novel memoir after reading the description. I haven’t read many books that discuss the challenges faced by children who have parents who are drug addicts. I personally picked up this book because I felt it was important to see how someone else dealt with an issue I dealt with my entire life.

Jarrett Krosoczka uses humor, emotions, and graphics to describe his childhood in this gut-wrenching graphic novel memoir. The author used his love for art as a medium of escape from the harshness of his reality. He discusses the real challenges faced by someone with a parent that is faced with a debilitating addition. In the face of the biggest challenge of his life, Jarrett has an amazing support system to fall back on. In this novel you watch him grow up, be a normal young man, and face the ghosts from his past in order to truly move forward in his life. I cried while reading about his relationship with his mom and the wonderful companionship he received from his grandfather. The pure innocence of a child is displayed exceptionally in this graphic novel through Jarrett’s hope of his mom overcoming her addiction.  It is hard to rate someones personal story which is why I gave it five stars. It takes a lot of courage to tell the entire world your story and the things you overcame as a child. This graphic novel memoir aims to shed light on the what it is like to live with two absent parents. Jarrett overcame a lot as a child to become what he wanted today and I definitely think that would not be possible without his grandparents. Out of the entire graphic novel, I enjoyed the acknowledgements at the end. I enjoyed reading about his life after he graduated high school, learning about what happened to his grandparents, learning about his parental relationships and how they developed and reading his appreciation of his family. I recommend this book to any guardian or parent who has a child that has a parent with an addiction.


How this story relates to me

This graphic novel touches on some of the challenges of having a parent that is an addict but not all. All situations are unique.  My dad was a drug addict and later died from the effects in 2007. I watched my dad live a life that we all knew would lead to his death. As a child , you hope that your parents will overcome their addiction, you hope they will choose you over an addiction, and you hope for normalcy. However, that isn’t the case in most situations. I had to face my own demons and overcome my own nightmares in order for me to move forward. It is okay to hope for your parents to get better but at the end of the day their choices are their choices alone. I had to understand that addiction is like a disease and my dad could not and was not ready to receive the right treatment. I completely understand as an adult that I did all that I could as a child and his addiction had nothing to do with me. If it weren’t for my maternal grandmother, I would not be here today. The past events shape who you are today but they do not define you. I definitely think I used books as a way to escape the harshness of the reality I lived in and that’s okay.


To purchase your copy of this novel, visit the Scholastic website at https://www.scholastic.com/kids/book/hey-kiddo-by-jarrett-j-krosoczka/ for access to purchasing links


Happy Reading and I hope you enjoyed my honest opinion of this novel!

Enjoyed this review or have book suggestions? Leave a comment below!

Contact me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com for book reviews.

Crush by Svetlana Chmakova

vqyrcvhzsyugeco4km9ogGenre: Middle Grade
Fiction Pages: Print 240
Release Date: October 30, 2018
Author: Svetlana Chmakova
Rating: ★★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I checked purchased a copy of this graphic novel from my local book store. The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copy used in this review is a finished print copy.


Goodreads Synopsis

Following the overwhelming success of AWKWARD and BRAVE, Svetlana Chmakova’s award winning Berrybrook Middle School series continues with its next installment – CRUSH!

Jorge seems to have it all together. He’s big enough that nobody really messes with him, but he’s also a genuinely sweet guy with a solid, reliable group of friends. The only time he ever really feels off his game is when he crosses paths with a certain girl… But when the group dynamic among the boys starts to shift, will Jorge be able to balance what his friends expect of him versus what he actually wants?


Final Thoughts

This middle grade graphic novel is the third in the Awkward series and the story continues with Jorge. A middle schooler who is just trying to navigate his first crush. Readers of the first two graphic novels watch as each character develops and Jorge explores his feelings. This graphic novel showcases the typical woes of any middle school student faced with dealing with their feelings and navigating the social hierarchy. The author does a great job showcasing realistic emotions, typical every day challenges, and the power of friendship. Svetlana also showcases a bit of girl power in this novel as the female lead is viewed as confident young girl who isn’t afraid to speak her mind. I have been personally following this series since the first book and it is my absolute favorite. The graphics in this book are amazing and with my job working with middle grade, I am constantly recommending this novel to them.

If you you know someone in middle school or elementary then this is a great graphic novel series to have them read. It is a great intro to the common challenges they will face. Jorge, although rather large for his age, comes to realize he is more than his size and the importance of friendship. This graphic novel showcases the characteristics of good friends and what lengths some will go to fit into the “popular” crowd.

If you want to check out the other books in this series, follow this link http://svetlania.com/comics.shtml  !


Happy Reading and I hope you enjoyed my honest opinion of this graphic novel!

Enjoyed this review or have book suggestions? Leave a comment below!

Contact me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com for book reviews.

Piper by Jay Asher and Jessica Freeburg

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The image was taken from the following site: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34272550-piper?ac=1&from_search=true

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Piper is a newly released graphic novel by Jay Asher and Jessica Freeburg with illustrations done by Jeff Stokelly. It is a Young Adult Fiction graphic novel with a little bit of romance and old-fashioned chivalry. It follows the story of a deaf villager who is not welcomed into the town due to her lack of hearing. She is consistently being singled out by others when visiting the town for goods. The village faces the challenge of getting rid of an infestation of rats that continue to dwindle their already limited amount of food. The local exterminators cannot seem to extinguish the problem and time is running out. A visitor from out of town serves as the exterminator by using a unique method to getting rid of the rats. The members of the town are skeptical of his ways and continue to question him. All but the single deaf villager and her family despise him. He asks for high demands but promises to leave once the problem has been eradicated.

I loved this graphic novel and recommended it to others. It is filled with a surprising twist and a bit of romance. The ending is even more interesting with yet another plot twist. If you haven’t read it, you should pick up a copy at your local bookstore. Piper was a highly anticipated read for me, which is why I love it.

I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars due to the shortness of the novel. I wished it was a bit longer with more of a storyline added.