by Adrienne Kress

Based in the setting of 1946, New York City, seventeen-year-old Buddy is trying to escape the Lower East Side slums. Working as a delivery boy to help support his family, Buddy realizes that he wants to be an artist. A dream that seems to be impossible. That changes when his delivery boy job leads him to a Mister Joey Drew, who is the owner of an animation studio. Buddy starts working his new job in the studio and meets Dot, a writing intern for the animation studio. Buddy starts believing in what Joey Drew says about dreams coming true. But Buddy discovers that Mister Joey Drew’s animation studio is not as simple or perfect as it seems. Buddy and Dot team up to discover the secrets of the animation studio and find something they probably never expected to find lurking in the studio.

This novel was based in the universe of the video game Bendy and the Ink Machine. As I did play the video game and enjoyed it as well, I was drawn to read this novel. Dreams Come to Life does a wonderful job translating the universe of Bendy and the Ink Machine into it. If you have played Bendy and the Ink Machine, some characters that do appear in that game, such as Mister Joey Drew himself, are very similar to who they were in the video game personality-wise. Even if you have no experience or prior knowledge of the original video game, this is still a great novel! It has a great plot, good pacing, interesting settings, and a wonderful cast of characters. I would however add on to Buddy’s grandfather’s backstory a little more. It seemed very brief. Despite this little flaw, I would highly recommend you check out this novel!

Emily W.

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by Nagata Kabi

3.5 Stars

My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness is a manga that follows the life of Kabi/Nagata, yes this is a memoir, and her experience with loneliness and mental health. While the book may seem like it’s about lesbianism, lesbophobia, dealing with compulsory heterosexuality and other lesbian-related issues but lesbianism is barely even mentioned in this book! This book more so focuses on the author’s struggle with her parents and her mental health, and for this, I offer you a list of trigger warnings that I found especially prevalent. Disclaimer beforehand: this may not be a full list so please do your own research if you are aware of your triggers. Without further ado: disordered eating (anorexia and binge eating), depression (extreme low-functioning), self-harm (cutting and hair pulling), verbal abuse and shame (mostly from parents), and mentions of sex. I’m sure there are more, don’t be fooled by the playful cover — this is a heavy book, but those were the ones that stuck out to me. Because of those, I would recommend this book for 16+ year olds, but it really just depends on your maturity and triggers!

Before I end this review, I would like to mention the things I liked: I related to almost everything Nagata/Kabi wrote (ED, depression, being a lesbian, self-harm, wanting to please parents, etc.), the writing, though short, was wonderful. The drawings were cute, and it was a fast-paced book.

In conclusion, read this if you can handle all the triggers and if you can’t, that’s completely fine- read what you’re comfortable with.

Jazleen H.

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by Karen M. McManus

4 Stars

One of Us is Lying was my first YA “Whodunit” book, and it did not disappoint. Karen M. McManus writes in a way that hooks you right from the very beginning and keeps you guessing until the end!

One of Us is Lying follows the story of five Bayview High students, Bronwyn, Addy, Nate, Cooper and Simon. Bronwyn is an intelligent and introverted girl whose goal is to get into Yale. Addy is the popular high school girl who wishes to become the homecoming princess. Nate, also known as the school “bad boy,” is on probation for dealing and doesn’t believe he has a future doing much else. Cooper is a star athlete who has many successes ahead of him. Finally, there is Simon, the outcast and the creator of Simon Says, the high school’s notorious gossip app.

On Monday, these five students find themselves all wound up in detention. At the end, only four exit the classroom. Why you ask? Because Simon is dead, and according to the investigation, it wasn’t an accident. Simon had planned to reveal dirty secrets on the four survivors the next day. Once this is found, Bronwyn, Addy, Nate and Cooper all become prime suspects… is one or all of them guilty?

This novel is definitely a page-turner. It is impossible to put down once you start reading as you want to figure out what happened to Simon. The story is told from the viewpoint of the 4 “prime suspects,” so you get to really relate to each of the characters in unique ways. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and would recommend it to any teenager or YA!

Emily O.

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by Carrie Mac

5 Stars

Do you like to read books about lesbians, sapphic relationships, mental health topics (such as anxiety), or heavy topics (handled with humour)?

Well, if so, read 10 Things I Can See from Here by Carrie Mac. If I’m being 100% honest, this book took me by surprise. I was expecting a badly written, basic, contemporary romance and instead I got this amazing blessing of a book.

This book is pretty lax about the plot but the main gist is that Maeve, the main character, is stuck with her step-family and drunk dad in Vancouver for 6 months while her mother is in Haiti with her boyfriend. Maeve has severe anxiety and so this was even harder for her to manage, which the author does an amazing job conveying. Maeve soon meets Salix, a seemingly fearless lesbian violinist and the book dives into their budding relationship while also managing Maeve’s anxiety and her father’s relapse in addiction.

I loved, loved how everything in this book was handled. The writing was great and the characters were relatable. The characters were flawed but perfect in their own way, much like in real life. The romance between Salix and Maeve was so damn cute and as someone who has been hating contemporary romance lately, that says a lot. There was only one thing in the entire book that I disliked: the author is a lesbian and she did write the D-slur (which is fine) but she also wrote the F-slur (which is a slur for gay men).

I rated it 5 / 5 stars and I recommend it a lot!
 Representation: Lesbian main characters, bisexual step-mom, addiction.
 Make sure to look up the trigger warnings!

Jazleen H.

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