by Jen Wang
In her 2018 award-winning graphic novel, The Prince
and the Dressmaker, Jen Wang takes us back to Paris at ‘the dawn of a new
age’. We meet Frances, an aspiring seamstress hoping to be noticed and work
under her idol, Madame Aurelia, and Sebastian, the Crown Prince of Belgium and
the heir to the Belgium throne. Sebastian and his family had come to Paris to
meet some of Sebastian’s potential suitors for when he ascended to the throne.
Frances, on the other hand, had lived in Paris for most of her life and no
longer wanted to work as a minimum-wage seamstress.
In a strange twist of fate, Frances finds herself within
the royal castle working for an unknown client, but, she quickly finds out that
she is working for the Crown Prince of Belgium, Prince Sebastian. Sebastian
asks Frances to keep his secret and she agrees. Frances realizes that working
for the Prince would lead her a few steps closer to fulfilling her lifelong
dream of working with Madame Aurelia. Sebastian realizes that with a seamstress
at hand who knows his secret it would be easier to fulfill his deepest desires.
In the daytime, he is Prince Sebastian, and Frances doubles as his best friend
and his personal seamstress, but when the sun fades to black and the moon
appears, he is known as Lady Crystallia and Frances is her friend. Together,
these two friends engaged in scandalous adventures, heated arguments, romantic
endeavors, and drawbacks that may change the whole course of both of their
The Prince and the Dressmaker is a great book for anyone who wants a Cinderellaesque story. It teaches a lesson about not giving up on your dreams and on the people you care about.
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by Raina Telgemeier
Ghosts, written by Raina Telgemeier was
written very well. Like many people in the world, Cat, who is also known as
Catrina, faced a new struggle. The task was moving to a foreign place where you
know absolutely no one except the family that travelled with you. On top of
knowing not many people, she had to make a good situation out of something that
she would not have ideally chosen. The family moved to find better doctors to
treat Maya, Cat’s little sister who has cystic fibrosis. Although the family
did not move out of the state they previously lived in, it was still far from
the place they called home for a very long period of time.
The illness that caused the family to relocate is cystic
fibrosis. It is a progressive, genetic disease that causes persistent lung
infections and limits the ability to breathe over time. The illness has no
cure, and people don’t generally survive and live ‘till the normal life
expectancy. People with cystic fibrosis have a general life expectancy of
living to their mid-forties if they have a generally healthy lifestyle.
Many people have a fear and that is perfectly normal.
The fear that Cat faces throughout the story goes undetected for most of the
story. It is not until she becomes close friends with their neighbour Carlos’s
cousin, that she finds what her true fear is. Fears are perfectly normal and
this story can help young readers understand that. Sometimes you need the right
people in your life to help you get through your problems. From having a
sibling, like Cat or Maya in the story, or even a neighbour, someone is always
there to help.
After an incident with Cat’s ghost loving sister, Cat
shut herself off from her friends. “No! Leave me alone!” (Telgemeier 107) she
shouted as she began to avoid one of the only friends she had made. Cat seems
very protective of her little sister like many older siblings in the world are.
Even though she may not always want to be around her sister, she is always very
loving with and to her.
This book teaches us, as readers, that everyone has their own sort of struggles. Even though Maya has a severe illness, she does not let that get to her. When they first got to the new house she was doing her treatment for cystic fibrosis where “the vest helps loosen the mucus in her lungs.” (Telegemeier 15) But, according to Maya’s family, “Maya’s soul doesn’t need any loosening” (Telgemeier 15) as she is always happy and is the light of her family. Like Maya, we should not allow things in our lives to stop us from getting what we truly desire in life. We can learn that even though life may be rough, you can always be happy.
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by Mark Waid Illustrator: Fiona Staples, Annie Wu, Veronica Fish
The Graphic novel, Archie, written by Mark Waid,
illustrated by Fiona Staples, Annie Wu, and Veronica Fish, is a very alluring
and engaging book. It is about a freckled-faced teenager named Archie who
introduces himself right at the beginning as, “I’m not the most interesting
guy in town.” This causes actual interest in who Archie really is. The
story is about how Archie meets a rich new girl at Riverdale High and how that
affects him and everyone around him. He experiences many changes in his
friendships and love life. The story’s genre is based on drama, comedy, and
romance. As a person who has been reading many Archie Comics over the years,
this graphic novel is a very accurate representation of what the comics would
be like in modern times. The graphic novel has effective graphics and dialogue.
There is no inappropriate language and actions in this graphic novel.
I would recommend this book for ages 10 and up. This graphic novel has a lot of romance and drama that might be difficult for children under 10 years old to understand the situations and events. The plot of the story is thrilling to read. The story introduces interesting dilemmas where the reader wonders what would happen next. There are also parts of the story that pique the reader’s curiosity. This happens in the part of the novel where Archie says, “We’ve been a couple since kindergarten. Until last week. Until the Lipstick Incident.” This causes the reader to question what had happened. The big downside to this graphic novel is that the way it ends, it might be dissatisfying to a reader. This graphic novel would be great for people that love books or series with cliffhangers at the end. Overall, I would rate this graphic novel 4 stars. It’s a very good story to read, and would be especially interesting for people that have read Archie comics.
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by Nicola Yoon
Natasha believes in science,
facts, and things that can be proven with evidence. She doesn’t care for fate,
and she most certainly doesn’t care for love. Not that she has time to worry
about either of those things. She and her family are being deported to Jamaica
in twelve hours, and she is going to do everything in her power to stop that
Daniel wants to be a poet. In
fact, he is a strong believer in fate and the way of the universe. But that’s
not the path his parents have planned for him, and rather than following his
dreams he plans on meeting his parent’s high expectations. This changes when he
meets Natasha. He knows something greater is at play—it’s destiny, decided by
the universe, and he can’t let Natasha go.
The Sun is Also a Star explores themes of fate and destiny, and how they
compare and connect to science and reasoning. Both main characters are people
of colour, and I really enjoyed the chapters that explain the history behind
elements of their cultures as they are mentioned. I also like Yoon’s style of
storytelling, which includes the main storyline, the cultural history parts,
pieces of the characters’ pasts, and side characters who only appear in a few
scenes but are crucial to the story.
This book is perfect for those who are just getting into reading, and people want a quick or fast-paced read that will hold your attention, because the entire story takes place over twelve hours. I think this is a five-star read, and I really enjoyed reading it!
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by Rick Riordan
Jason has amnesia. He wakes up
on a bus full of kids he doesn’t recognize, and a girlfriend and best friend
he’s sure he’s never met. His friends inform him they go to the Wilderness
School for “troubled youth,” but he has no idea what he’s done, or why he’s
even there, but he can tell that something is terribly wrong.
Piper has a way with words.
She’s been sent to the wilderness school for stealing a BMW, except she didn’t
really. She simply asked the car dealer for it, and he obliged. But Piper’s dad
is missing, her boyfriend Jason doesn’t recognize her, and she’s having awful
nightmares that may lead her down a horrible path.
Leo is good with tools, he’s
known for his expert ability with them. He spent his childhood running from
foster home to foster home but finally feels comfortable with his friends Jason
and Piper. Of course, with his luck, things take a turn for the worse.
Monsters attack the three on a
field trip, and Jason can somehow fight them off using wind powers. However,
it’s not Jason who saves them, but some teenagers calling themselves demigods,
flying down from a chariot. The trio is taken to a place called Camp
Half-Blood, where they learn they are children of the Ancient Greek gods. But
Jason, Piper, and Leo are special even amongst demigods and must embark upon a
quest that could determine the fate of the mortal world.
This is the first book in the series after the Percy Jackson books, and I think fans of those books will love it. The Lost Hero has lovable characters, an excellent plot, and like all of Riordan’s books, plenty of humour. I’d recommend it to younger audiences or anyone who read the Percy Jackson books!
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