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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by Mark Waid Illustrator: Fiona Staples, Annie Wu, Veronica Fish

4 Stars

Archie, Vol. 1 by Mark Waid

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.

Liza P.

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Heartstopper Vol. Two

by Alice Oseman

Heartstopper Vol. Two picks up where Heartstopper Vol. One left off. Charlie and Nick are slowly discovering that their bond may be more than friendship.

Heartstopper: Volume Two (Heartstopper, #2) by Alice Oseman

As Charlie discovers who he is, and who his friends are, Nick grapples with his mental illness and his love for Charlie.

Together, they share the small things in life that equal the big picture. And in each other they find a love worth sharing.

A beautiful second installment in the Heartstopper series, Alice Oseman has created a story about love, friendship and finding yourself.

Heartstopper Vol. One

by Alice Oseman

Charlie and Nick could not be more different. Charlie, an openly gay, anxious teen has spent the last year avoiding bullies and dealing with being outed at school. Nick is a soft hearted jock who just happens to be the star of the school rugby team.

Heartstopper: Volume One (Heartstopper, #1) by Alice Oseman

Nick and Charlie do not know each other, at least not yet. As Charlie learns more about Nick and gets to know him, he discovers that there may be something there that’s bigger than friendship.

Meanwhile, Nick thinks he’s chasing after something that’s impossible. Little does he know that Charlie may be exactly what he’s looking for.

A beautiful and heartfelt romance, Heartstopper Vol. One is the book version of the heart eye emoji.

by Aiya Kyu, Artist: Aneko Yuagi

5 Stars

The Rising of the Shield Hero Volume 01: Yusagi, Aneko ...

This book is told in first-person from Naofumi’s point of view. Naofumi goes to the library to catch up on his light novels and finds this mysterious book about four heroes who save the kingdom of Melromarc from these waves of calamity. As Naofumi flips through the pages of the book, he then loses consciousness. When he wakes up, he finds himself in the kingdom of Melromarc, in a fantasy type world along with three other people: Ren Amaki, Motoyasu Kitamura, and Itsuki Kawasumi. These four are informed that they will help and save the kingdom from these calamity waves, and they will be given one of the Four Holy Weapons. Ren Amaki is given the sword, Motoyasu Kitamura is given the spear, Itsuki Kawasumi is given the bow, and Naofumi Iwatani is given the shield. The fate of this world is now in the hands of these four heroes as they try to save the kingdom. Naofumi thinks that this will be the adventure of his life, but little does he know he will be backstabbed by his only squadmate. He will have to live his life in humility, and now his real adventure starts in this other world.   The book was in first-person because I would sometimes lose track of where I am, and sometimes I am not that engaged since there isn’t a traditional narrator that isn’t in the first-person view. This book is also very cliché that it’s another one of those “isekai” genre light novels, where the main character is transported to another world, most of the time a fantasy world, to save the world from a demon lord of some sort of a villain threatening this other world. This book also has a lot of video game tropes where the characters can pull up a menu to look at like their stats, health menus, and party menus. At first, I thought this was going to be the same “isekai” plot books where a person is trapped in a video game world, trying to go back to their world. But I was wrong. Everything gets flipped, and it turns out that the other three heroes are basically jerks, and Naofumi finds himself screwed over, and eventually he is left to fend for himself in this world. Suddenly we have this “anti-hero Naofumi” where is always angry and grumpy. He’s not like those other main characters of other “isekai” books. Naofumi is a very unique character, which grabbed my attention and pulled me in, and I always thought to myself while reading the book, “what is going to happen to this guy now that the whole kingdom hates him and he is in a very lousy situation.” In the end, this book is interesting. The thing that does surprise you is the main character himself and the other characters around him…   In conclusion, this is a really good and different book from the other “isekai” genre books and I would recommend it to people who like this genre and to people who don’t even read books like these. 

Jirho A.

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