Graphic Novels/Manga

Book Review: Heartstopper

Author
Oseman, Alice
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

I'm not a huge graphic novel fan because previous ones I've read have been too complicated to get hooked on. This series totally changed my mind! Heartstopper is a wholesome story of two schoolboys who fall in love and deal with all sorts of backlash from it. Even through the pain and sadness that bullying can cause, Charlie and Nick have a lovely way of persevering and having great communication with their diverse support system. It teaches that no matter how alien you might feel, there is always someone ready to listen and accept you. Plus, if you like this series already, try out the Netflix series for a beautiful adaptation of it.
Grade 11

Reviewer's Name
Maggie

Book Review: The Odd 1s Out: The First Sequel

Author
Rallison, James
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

If you have read my first review, then you now that this sequel was a wish come true. I say this because I was so excited to have more stories from James Rallison in the first place, which I did not see coming. I am choosing one story to talk about in this review and that story is the missing mattress. He starts talking about how he isn't the "let me speak to your manager," type. This sets up the story pretty well because it gives that little bit of foreshadowing that makes you want to keep reading. The next thing that happens is that the movers don't bring his mattress from his old apartment to his new house, and they apparently have no idea where it is. He checked his account were all of the pictures of his stuff that needed to be moved had been posted, and lo and behold, his mattress wasn't there. He decided to call customer service and see if his mattress was on his friend's account and the other person on the phone asked him to describe it to confirm it was his. Normally he is an expert at mattress description, but today he was drawing a blank, so he just asked whether or not there were two mattresses in his roommate's account. Sadly he/she, couldn't, "disclose that information." Because of this, he attempted to fairly describe it and they said that they had a mattress that fit the description he gave. They said that they would move it to his account if it was his, but just to be safe, he called his roommate to look at his account and he said it only had one mattress in it, so he assumed they moved his mattress back to his account. He checked his account the next day and, NO MATTRESS. He filled out a missing item form on the website and still 2 days later, no mattress. He was going to have a guest room in his house, so he decided to just buy his guest bed and mattress now. The company finally found his mattress a week later, and he returned with a passport, a suntan, and passable Spanish.

I liked how the author made a sequel because it gave me even more hilarious stories to enjoy before I fell asleep at night. I didn't dislike anything about this book per say, but as I said before, I do wish there were even more stories. When you finish it, it is almost like a disappointment, and you just decide to read it again. I chose this because I had already read, and thoroughly enjoyed, the first one. It wasn't predictable because you can't really predict a book that is full of different stories with each of them having their own little plot. I would recommend this book to anyone who possesses the ability to read and enjoys a good laugh.

Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name
Cooper

Book Review: Diary of a Wimpy Kid Wrecking Ball

Author
Kinney, Jeff
Rating
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review

The book, "Wrecking Ball," the main plot doesn't start immediately. First there are a couple of stories including a garage sale and a segment talking about how rich he would be when he grows up. When you finally get pass this entrance into the book, we can get to the beginning of the main plot. Greg Heffley and his family are initially devastated to find out that their Great Aunt Reba had died, but then they found out that she had left them a decent amount of money. This of course started to make them argue over what to do with it. Each suggested their own idea, but the mom's idea of expanding the kitchen won out despite unpopular response because she, quote on quote, was the only one who ever wrote Great Aunt Reba any Thank You cards. Nothing seemed like it could go wrong, the expansion began, and the family began to actually get excited about a bigger kitchen. But as you probably already know in these books, something goes wrong, but this time, everything goes wrong. Trash and concrete moving into the neighbors yard, toxins in the walls, and wasps getting into the house. The neighbors by this point were obviously not the agreeable type so when they found out that part of the extension was on one of the neighbors property, they had to take the extension down. The family hit down by this failure, decides that instead of improving the house, they're going to move to a new one in a new school district. Will this work out? Will Greg and Rowley stay friends? I guess you will just have to read.

I liked this book because it was a new story that didn't have any similarities to the previous books like some of the other stories have. I didn't dislike this book, but it was a fairly mediocre read for me and it didn't amaze me. I chose this book because I have been reading the series since I was young, and I enjoy getting the new book in the series when a new one comes out. I would recommend this book to anyone really who likes a good easy story to read before you fall asleep at night.

Reviewer's Name
Cooper

Book Review: The Odd 1s Out: How to Be Cool and Other Things I Definitely Learned from Growing Up

Author
Rallison, James
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

Diving straight in, this book isn't a single story. It is actually a collection of stories from James' childhood that are about, of course, "How to be cool and other things that I definitely learned growing up." As to not give too many spoilers, I will only give the premise of one of my favorite stories in the book, Harry the Moth. Harry is a White Lined Sphinx Moth that was hanging out on their porchlight when the door opened, and he was drawn into their house. James and his twin sister Faith find him hanging out on the windowsill, put him in a jar, and they decide to keep him as a pet. Back when James thought his mom had good ideas, he listened to her suggestion that he should take Harry to his kindergarten class so he could be the class pet there. The teacher realized that having a class pet with a lifespan shorter than a year would be a bad idea, so she decided to release him a recess so they all could learn about nature. This was also back when he thought his teacher had good ideas, so they released the moth, and he had a great life left. 10 seconds. Those moths were probably supposed to only come out at night, so it flying around in an open space during the day gave the birds a free excuse to eat it. I guess this story is to show how James learned not to think that his mom and teacher had good ideas and never to release moths during the day. All the stories have little bits of funny wit and irony that make it a good read.

I liked this book because it gave me even more comics and stories from the Youtuber and Cartoonist, James Rallison. The only thing that I didn't like about this book was that it wasn't longer! Every single story in there is so good that when you finish, you just want more. I chose this book because, as I said before, I had seen James' YouTube videos and I wanted to read more of his stories from his childhood. This book wasn't predictable as it didn't have one story to follow so it meant that it took lots of twists and turns that were interesting to read. Based on all of this, I think this is one of the best books that I have read this year and would recommend it to anyone.

Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name
Cooper

Book Review: Big Nate Strikes Again

Author
Peirce, Lincoln
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

Nate Wright is back at it again when the unexpected strikes. Mrs. Godfrey gives a difficult assignment to research a great American. Not only this, but Nate is forcefully paired up with his archenemy and helpless teacher suck-up, Gina. She isn't exactly thrilled about it either as she is afraid that being partnered up with Nate will ruin her perfect GPA. They get assigned the topic of Ben Franklin, but Nate is more concerned with who became the captains for the Fleeceball teams. Fleeceball is a version of indoor baseball that their school plays for a season every year. Luck and disaster strike when Nate finds out he was made one of the captains, but unfortunately, so has Randy Betancourt the school bully. Nate gets in trouble, as usual, and inadvertently misses the captains meeting. Nate panics and rushes to tell the coach, but all seems good when Nate looks at his team. The coach picked all good players for him, except one, the absolute worst when it comes to athleticism, Gina. Will Nate be able to meet Gina's high expectations on their project, win the Fleeceball tournament, and deal with Randy all at the same time? I guess we will just have to see if Big Nate can, "Strike Again."

The reason I enjoyed this book so much was because Nate finally found an interest in something academic even if it is just one person from history. I guess this shows that he is not completely hopeless. I honestly didn't dislike any part of this book which I immensely enjoyed while reading it. The story stayed fresh and relevant, and it moved in a way that kept me reading. I picked this book just because I was at my cousin's house and needed something to read to fall asleep at night when I was younger, so I chose to read this, and I was hooked to the series ever since. This isn't one of the best books that I have read this year, but it does come fairly close.

Reviewer's Name
Cooper

Book Review: Big Nate: In a Class by Himself

Author
Peirce, Lincoln
Rating
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review

Big Nate, or Nate Wright, is a boy who has to deal with an arrogant teacher suck-up Gina, his perfect sister Ellen, who, Nate says, adults are too short-sighted to see how annoying she is, and a number of teachers including the worst one of all, Mrs. Godfrey. She apparently fails to recognize that despite his lack of knowing anything about history, or really anything else academic, that he is destined for greatness in the future. Nate feels though that at the current stage in his life, 6th grade, he can't do much about people not realizing his greatness, especially when surrounded by misguided teachers, his clueless father, or his joking best friends Francis and Teddy. Luck strikes when Nate didn't eat breakfast and one of his best friends Teddy offers him a fortune cookie. Most of the time Nate wouldn't get anything worth thinking about, but this time is different because, "Today you will surpass all others." As soon as he gets this, He realizes that the only place that he will surpass all the others is at school because at home the only people he could surpass is his clueless dad and his annoying sister. Because of this, he tries every class out of the day to make it happen, causing him to land seven detentions throughout the day. Will Nate Wright be able to surpass all of the others, or will he be in detention, "In a class by himself."

I liked this book because Nate seems to not understand very much about what he should do in the world, so this means that he will inevitably make his own funny decisions. The only reason that I didn't like this book as much was because it was the first in the series and I just didn't feel like it was the best one out of them. I picked this book because I had already read some of the other books in the series, (I read them out of order,) and I decided that I probably should read the first one to see how the story began. This book surprised me because I had no idea what the "origin story" could possibly be for this kind of a character, but if I would have guessed, the story would have exceeded my expectations. I have read many books like this, this year so sadly I can't say that it is one of the best ones that I have read this year.

Reviewer's Name
Cooper

Book Review: Wings of Fire: The Hidden Kingdom

Author
Sutherland, Tui
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

Wings of Fire: The Hidden Kingdom, is one of my favorite books of all time. Escaping their captivity in the Sea Kingdom, the dragonets of destiny flee to the rainforest. There, they meet the infamously lazy tribe of dragons, who shelter them. But someone, or something, is disturbing this peaceful and colorful tribe. Can the dragonets save the missing dragons, and find a way to save the world before the brightest night? Well, you’ll only find out by reading the book. Although this book is about dragons, the qualities we find in our society are replicated in theirs. Each of the characters have flaws and strengths. Their personalities vary, and show emotions like greed, kindness, and sadness. As said before, qualities in our society are portrayed in the dragon society too. For example, racism, politics, and rivalries exist, and Tui. addresses these problems through the characters and their actions. By having anti racist characters, and peacekeeping characters, Tui. presents solutions to the problems in our society. All in all, I definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a good read.

Reviewer's Name
Jenny

Book Review: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Deep End

Author
Kinney, Jeff
Rating
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review

The main gist of the fifteenth book by Jeff Kinney, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Deep End, is that Greg Heffley and his family have been living in their grandmother's basement ever since some "financial issues" surfaced in the previous book. Ergo, there house was destroyed by a hot tub falling through their roof. Anyways, the conditions in which they are living in are not only uncomfortable for Greg, but also extremely boring. He has to not only face being cramped in a basement with his family all summer, but he can't even go hang out with his best friend Rowley because he and his family are on a trip to Europe. The family comes to the conclusion that they need a vacation, but the problem is that they are in strict money-saving mode. With a stroke of luck, they are able to find opportunity when Greg's Dad's brother, Uncle Gary, leaves an old RV in Greg's great grandmother's driveway. They clean it out, buy supplies, and hit the open road. On the way to finding their perfect camping paradise, they hit many road-bumps such as finding a place to park the RV, getting lost in the woods, and having a run in with a bear. Finally, they find Campers Eden, which is an RV park and resort where it seems that they can enjoy the perfect vacation. Will things turn out the way they think, or will they go off, "The Deep End."

Personally, I fairly enjoyed this book despite the fact that I am probably older than most of the audience that enjoys it. I find that the simple humor and writing is a good thing to help me relax at night and give me a laugh at the same time. The main reason why I picked this book to read was because I had been reading the books since third grade and like to keep up with them even though they are not quite at my reading level anymore. The only thing that I didn't enjoy about this book was it was the same basic story for the Long Haul which was the ninth book in the Wimpy Kid franchise. In the Long Haul the family decides to take a trip during their summer vacation so their family could bond. Besides this fact, the book was a fairly decent read. It was not necessarily the best book I have read this year, but it was a definite nice taste of nostalgia and humor. I would recommend this book for anyone in the second grade or higher. It is what I would call a timeless and easy read.

Reviewer's Name
Cooper

Book Review: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Big Squirrels Don't Cry

Author
North, Ryan
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

In this second collection of Squirrel Girl comics, you'll once again find Doreen Green trying to balance her life as Squirrel Girl and as a computer science student at Empire State University. This can be quite the balancing act, especially when you have a huge fluffy tail that you have to hide when you're in your civilian persona. While other superheroes have origin stories that explain their tremendous powers, Squirrel Girl is...Squirrel Girl.

Doreen's "unbeatable" title continues to be tested as she uses both her skills as a squirrel person who can communicate with and control squirrels and as a computer science major to defeat villains who terrorize New York City. The fact that she's a superhero who can talk to and control squirrels is just amusing enough that fans of the first collection will likely enjoy this one. However, I wasn't prepared to read a Howard the Duck crossover in this collection, so know that it's not necessarily a volume completely dedicated to Squirrel Girl.

Once again, I enjoyed Ryan North's writing (there's a lot since Dorreen rarely resorts to violence to solve her problems). I haven't read many comic books, so I'm still getting used to the art styles, especially since they are distinctly different between the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl issues and the Howard the Duck issues. And while this volume was entertaining, there is a certain limitation that comes with a superhero whose only abilities revolve around squirrels. Doreen can use only so many iterations of these powers before they become repetitive.

More Squirrel Girl action with a Howard the Duck crossover, I give The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Big Squirrels Don't Cry 3.5 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name
Benjamin W.