by Lincoln Peirce

5 Stars

Big Nate: Hug It Out!: Amazon.ca: Peirce, Lincoln: Books

Better prepare your laughing muscle as you prepare to read this hilarious new book. Big Nate: Hug it Out is one of the newest additions to the Big Nate comic series by Lincoln Peirce that explores more events of his sixth-grade school year and preceding summer vacation. Whether you are someone just diving into the series or someone who has enjoyed the books for a while, you will still enjoy this comedic book the same as always. It was so much fun going through the nostalgia and reliving my time reading those comic books smiling and laughing at all the jokes.

The story takes place in Rackleff, Maine and follows sixth-grade student of P.S. 38, Nate Wright, and his friends, Francis Pope and Teddy Ortiz. They are there to support him with most of the troubles that come their way, but no matter, they will still stay friends at the end of it all. But there are also many other characters that you will meet along the way and will get to see their relationship continue with Nate. It could be through comedy or romance or rivalry or something entirely new. “Never a dull moment with Nate and his crazy gang is around,” said Garima from a review on goodreads.com. It will be so interesting and exciting that you might want to read more books, to see the connections to them or for more funny jokes and great stories.

Whatever your comic reading style is, whether it is one-page shorts or longer storylines, and detailed image or simple readability, you can get it all in this book along with the other ones in the series. Maybe Francis will finally end his factoids, or his baseball team will do well, or maybe Nate will finally find love (again for about the 4th time)? Well, you won’t know until you read the amazing book by Lincoln Peirce, Big Nate: Hug It Out! I enjoyed my time reading it, and I hope you will too.

Elijah J.

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By Kei Sanbe 

5 Stars

Erased, Vol. 1: Sanbe, Kei: 9780316553315: Books - Amazon.ca

This mystery, science fiction, suspense manga is full of twists and turns, and each chapter leaves you wanting to read more while also leaving you with a lot of unresolved questions. The original Japanese name of ERASED is called Boku Dake ga Inai Machi which means ‘The town where only I’m missing’. The title refers to a time when children in Hokkaido, Japan, went missing. 

This manga is about a man by the name of Satoru Fujinuma, a 26-year-old Japanese man, aspires to be a great name in the manga industry but has had difficulty breaking through, and is usually depressed during his days. Satoru has an unknown ability called “Revival” which allows him to go back in time to prevent tragedies. He is sent back in time to the year 1988 to help save kids from being abducted. 

The plot is interesting because his choices will have an impact on the future, and he can’t rely solely on his ability to save him from danger. Another fascinating thing about this is that the protagonist is in the body of an 11-year-old boy but has the mind of a 28-year-old man, which aids him in decision-making due to his experience. 

There are several points in the manga where the protagonist has reservations about these decisions and is unable to overcome them, resulting in horrific circumstances. When I was reading the novel, I came across a quote that stuck with me: “The future is always blank. Only your willpower can leave footsteps there.” Satoru discovers that the only person on whom he can fully depend for his decisions is himself. 

Benjamin J.

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by Tyler Bevins

5 Stars

Ninja: The Most Dangerous Game: [A Graphic Novel]: Amazon.ca: Blevins,  Tyler "Ninja", Jordan, Justin, Magaña, Felipe: Books

The graphic novel Ninja: The Most Dangerous Game is written by Tyler “Ninja” Blevins and Justin Jordan, and illustrated by Felipe Magaña. It tells the story of Ninja, a very good gamer that plays a battle royale game. Ninja and his friends receive a box in their mail, and when they open the box, they are “teleported” to a battle royale game. Inside the game, they become characters of it, and they have to play and win the game. 

The plot is very well written, in many instances, the reader thinks something is going to happen, but actually, the opposite of that happens. The book is written especially for battle royale players because the plot is set on a battle royale game. The characters have to go through the same experiences of battle royale players, but they are inside the game, and as the book says, “the last player standing wins the game and all of the others die”. 

Felipe Magaña did a great job of illustrating this graphic novel. Magaña made the players look like it is game, and the objects inside the game are very well-drawn. The effects like powers, teleporting, and others are kind of realistic but at the same time are illustrative, so it has very nice comics. 

The book is short in length and can be easily read in some hours. There should be some more details like explain what are some things for and why some things happened because sometimes the reader could get a little confused. 

Overall, it is a really fun read, and the plot makes the reader want to keep reading forever. 

Even though it is intended for teenagers, youth adults, and battle royale gamers, other groups would also like it because it is very engaging, the reader is kind of forced to think of solutions to some problems that happen in this graphic novel.

Thales R.

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by Raina Telgemeier

5 Stars

Drama: Telgemeier, Raina: 9780545326995: Books - Amazon.ca

Callie Marin is a middle school student with a love for all things related to theatre. As soon as she is made aware of the fact that her school is putting on a production of a play named “Moon Over Mississippi”, Callie immediately signs up to be in charge of set design, with a passion to create a Broadway-worthy set with a middle-school budget. Faced with challenges along the way, Callie does the best she can in order to overcome all the drama at school and in her personal relationships. The story focuses on her as she learns the importance of teamwork, friendship and being inclusive, as well as how that can be beneficial both off and on stage. It also introduces and teaches children about LGBTQ+ topics, normalizing the idea of being different.  

Drama is a beautifully written graphic novel with fantastic characters that many kids can relate to, those feeling like outcasts because of their sexualities are taught that they are not alone. It is one of my favourite books I’ve read in a while. It’s very refreshing to see openly gay characters portrayed as normal people, not having their whole personality being based on the fact that they have a different sexual preference than those around them. I would rate Drama a definite 10/10 based on its quality, story-telling, and representation. I’d recommend this graphic novel to those who are 13 or older since some scenes are more for mature audiences, but it is amazingly written, and the style is beautiful therefore I’m positive anyone can enjoy it.

Vlada E.

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by Raina Telgemeier

5 Stars

Smile: Telgemeier, Raina, Telgemeier, Raina: 8601300314594: Books -  Amazon.ca

The autobiographical graphic novel named Smile follows the author, Raina Telegemeler, as she takes the reader through the events that took place from 6th grade all the way to when she graduated from high school. The graphic novel starts off by introducing then 11-year-old Raina as she goes with her mother to the orthodontist’s office, learning she will need to get braces in order to repair her overbite. Later that night, as she is chasing her friends around having fun, Raina ends up falling face-first on the hard concrete breaking her 2 front teeth. As soon as her mother sees what happened, she immediately takes Raina to the orthodontist’s office to see if they can do anything to save her teeth. After the orthodontist does his best to repair her damaged teeth, they notice that the teeth are lodged too far up compared to all her other ones. Due to this fact, she has to wear braces that would be even more intrusive and painful to her life, trying to pull them back down, even going as far as having to wear headgear at night to help. The story continues following Raina throughout her teenage years, showing her struggles with friends and other obstacles she had to overcome due to her braces. Raina Telgemeier also illustrates how escaping a toxic friend group can change the way you see yourself, and she learns to have more confidence in herself by changing her environment. 

This is an excellent read, in my opinion. I’ve personally loved this book for years, I’d recommend it to younger audiences who enjoy reality, comedy and a satisfying conclusion. I would rate this book a solid 10/10. 

Vlada E.

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by Kayla Miller

4 Stars

Click: Miller, Kayla: 9781328911124: Books - Amazon.ca

This graphic novel written by an amazing graphic novelist author, Kayla Miller, was about a girl named Olive in grade 5 who’s facing a dilemma. In her grade 5 class, there’s a talent show going on that she’s very excited about. When all her classmates have an act she has to decide what to do. Whether she asks to be in one of her many friend’s acts or go solo. Olive is expecting to be asked to be included and not ask her classmates. She even says in the book that if she were to ask, it would make her seem like a dork. This graphic novel not only tells you about Olive and what she does to fix her situation but, it also teaches you about how at the right time and the right place something good can happen to you that may or may not fix our problem. Lastly, it also teaches you about who are your friends and who aren’t your friends. I would recommend this book to kids from grade four to grade 8. This book is based on a girl in middle school and might be too “childish” for those that are in high school

Not only was it an entertaining book, but it was also funny, exciting, and had a few moments of suspense. I liked the graphic novel so much that I finished it in the span of two days with a total of 2 hours, maybe even less. This graphic novel would be very age-appropriate for the ages of 9 and above. Although I’m above the age of middle school, I really enjoyed this book. I give this graphic novel a score of 4 stars out of 5 because there are some parts of the graphic novel I’d change. Olive was quite popular among her fellow classmates, but she didn’t seem to really have a best friend. All her classmates were basically her friends that she’d hang out with during different periods of the day, whether it was during the weekend, sleepovers, or just at school. Another thing that I’d change is some of the attitudes that Olive had toward different things. She didn’t want to ask anybody to be in their performance for the talent show because it would make her seem like what she thought was a dork. If I was her, having the whole class as my friends, I’d ask. It doesn’t hurt to ask, when you ask you’ll get your answer. Lastly, I’d change the appearance of some of the characters. In the graphic novel, some characters shown included Olive’s little brother, aunt, and mother. The presence of her brother in this graphic novel wasn’t there as much as I would have liked. What were her mother’s friends, her aunt’s friends, her brother’s classmates? Overall it was a well-written graphic novel to read. In the future, I’d most definitely read another novel like this, written by Kayla Miller.

Faith D.

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by Derek Fridolfs

5 Stars

Field Trip Disaster (Secret Hero Society, #5) by Derek Fridolfs

A graphic comic novel that is intriguing and filled with fun and adventure describes what this book contains. And looking at the book I could tell that it was a part of a series; specifically the 5th book in the DC Comics: Secret Hero Society. I knew that this book would have aspects of adventure and mystery which drew my attention. This book was written by Derek Fridolfs and published in October of the year 2019. The Story is about Diana Prince, who is Wonder Woman, Bruce Wayne, who is Batman, and Clark Kent, who is Superman. But it all begins when a new exchange student arrives at their school, and they begin to have some suspicions due to the sole fact that they couldn’t find anything about the student.

As they dig deeper into the mystery they find themselves accidentally travelling into the future. They find out some terrible things that the villains are planning on doing, and it’s up to them to save the future and make their way back to the past in time. I think that this book was overall a pretty good read, but I feel as though it wasn’t as much for my age group, and it was meant for a much younger audience. I found it quite difficult to keep up with the plot. But overall, I personally enjoyed reading this comic. The author displayed a good sense of humour and creativity; For example, when he put the text messages so we would really see it from the character’s perspective. Personally, I don’t like how the book was all in black and white because I feel as though it took away from the imaginary aspect of the story. I recommend this book to much younger audiences who are into the thrill, adventure, and DC Comics.

Anne I.

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by Jen Wang

5 Stars

The Prince and the Dressmaker: Wang, Jen: 9781626723634: Books - Amazon.ca

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 lives, forever. 

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.

Timi O.

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by Raina Telgemeier

5 Stars

Ghosts: Telgemeier, Raina, Telgemeier, Raina: 9780545540629: Books -  Amazon.ca

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.

Mackenzie M.

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