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GraphicNovel

Diana: Princess of the Amazons by Shannon Hale

(DC Zoom series)

Fun graphic novel about a girl finding her identity, and learning what it means to be an Amazon. She makes a 'bad' friend along the way, makes some bad decisions, but it works out in the end. My daughter enjoyed it, as did I.

This DC Zoom series seems to be 'superhero' books targeted to teens and pre-teens.

Rating: ★★★★ Book #67 in my My 2020 Reading Challenge

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Adventure Time by Ryan North

(Volume 1 & 2)

The perfect antidote to the dreary, anxiety ridden COVID-19 times we live in. These guys Finn and Jake are always up for wacky, zany adventures on the planet Ooo. Their dialogue is funny, cheesy, and pun-y. It's ridiculous, and I love it.

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Hilda graphic novel series by Luke Pearson

(Hilda #1-5)

  • Hilda and the Troll
  • Hilda and the Midnight Giant
  • Hilda and the Bird Parade
  • Hilda and the Black Hound
  • Hilda and the Stone Forest

This review is for the first 5 books in the Hilda series. The Hilda series is a great series about a kind, and courageous blue-haired girl who has many adventures with monsters, spirits, and other creatures around Trollberg. The illustrations are great. The stories are funny. I love these sort of graphic novels about strong female characters. I can't wait until my daughter can grow up to enjoy these books.

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Grass by Keum Suk Gendry-Kim,

A real story of a South Korean “comfort woman” (sexual slave) forced to work for the Japanese military during World War 2. This story is told through flashbacks and snippets of interviews with Lee Ok-Sun. This book is in black and white. This graphic novel doesn't dwell in the gore, and violence. The most brutal scenes in the book is the black page where Ok-sun explains how she was raped in speech bubbles. I really liked the authors use of brush strokes, and the metaphor of 'grass' too.

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Mighty Jack by Ben Hatke

(Mighty Jack #1)

A playful re-telling of the Jack and the Beanstalk story. I enjoyed this new series that Hatke has started. It has a trio of different characters, fun vegetation/aliens. I had a good feeling reading this, just like when I read Zita the Spacegirl #1.

I am curious to see where he'll take this story in the future. I noticed that Mighty Jack #2 and 3 team up with some characters he's made in the past including the Goblin King and even my beloved Zita the Spacegirl.

PS if you look carefully you might spot some characters from Hatke's other books!

Rating: ★★★★ Book #10 in my My 2020 Reading Challenge

#Books #BookReview #BenHatke #GraphicNovel #SciFi

The Return of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke

(Zita the Spacegirl #3)

The conclusion to the Zita series follows the conventions of most sequels, in that each subsequent sequel is a little bit worse than the one before it. It still has the fun graphics, playful aliens, and characters you love but the story in this one isn't as strong as Zita the Spacegirl #1, or even #2.

I understand an artist needs to publish to make money, but I hope Hatke can come up with some new exciting characters and keep things fresh. As I've said before, I hope he tries doing some more children's books because my daughter and I enjoyed Nobody Likes a Goblin and Julia's House for Lost Creatures immensely.

Rating: ★★★ Book #9 in my My 2020 Reading Challenge

#Books #BookReview #BenHatke #GraphicNovel #SciFi

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

In this one, he weaves together 3 stories: the monkey king, a Chinese-American boy who is trying to fit in at school, and cousin ChinKee, the racist stereotype of Chinese people. I think this would be a good book for discussion groups for young adults. It has themes of racism, identity, and bullying too. It also can introduce Westerners to a bit of Chinese culture.

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Legends of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke

(Zita the Spacegirl #2)

This is a continuation of the wonderful “Zita the Spacegirl” series by Ben Hatke. For those who haven't read “Zita the Spacegirl” (and you should!), at the end of the story, Zita is stranded in space with her 'friend' (frenemy?) Piper after she saves the planet Scriptorium. In “Legends of Zita the Spacegirl”, she tries to avoid some of the unwanted attention brought on by her new 'superhero' fame, but in the process someone impersonates her and travels to go save another planet. The book is about her trying to get back to Piper and the gang, and also trying to save that other planet so she can get the reward, a time crystal, and find her way home.

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Marvel 1602 by Neil Gaiman

I don't read comic books anymore (not since I was a teenager) but I do like Neil Gaiman and history so this graphic novel was a good fit for me. The story was interesting. I could see at points where Gaiman was trying to tie things into the Marvel universe. I recognized most characters but will admit that I didn't recognize them all. I read many reviews of this graphic novel, and I have the same gripe as most others do – where the heck is Wolverine? He could've been the perfect character to replace Rojhaz with. Oh well, it was still a fun ride. I will look up the characters I didn't know and re-read again some day. A solid graphic novel, especially for fans of Gaiman and history.

Rating: ★★★★ Book #98 in my My 2019 Reading Challenge

#Books #GraphicNovel #BookReview #HistoricalFiction #NeilGaiman #Marvel #superheroes

Drama by Raina Telgemeier

This graphic novel is quite different from her Smile series. The Smile series is an auto-biographical telling of her childhood, while this Drama story is about a high school girl named Callie who's a set designer in the Drama club.

The author still has the same beautiful drawing style in this book, but the story didn't feel as 'real'. I didn't get pulled into the story as much as the Smile series: Smile & Sisters.

I was reading this to my 5 year old daughter so the themes of this book: crushes, gay friend, prom didn't really appeal to us.

Rating: ★★ Book #88 in my My 2019 Reading Challenge

#Books #BookReview #RainaTelgemeier #GraphicNovel #YA