Graphic Novels/Manga

Book Review: Dork Diaries: Tales From A Not-So Dorky Drama Queen

Author
Russel, Rachel Renee
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

Next to the 1st book in this 12 series collection, this one is hands down my favorite. Nikki goes through a series of events in this book and it is a real attention grabber. I loved these books as long as I can remember, and I picked this one up today and realized how awesome these books are! Even in eighth grade, these books still leave me in a feeling of awe. I HIGHLY recommend these books to anyone looking for an easy to read book series. Considering this is the ninth book of this incredible series, I am not too sure how to sum this book up without spoiling the rest of the story line, but this is a ten out of ten book and the collection as a whole! 10/10 highly recommend!!!!

Reviewer's Name
Abigail

Book Review: Real Friends

Author
Hale, Shannon
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

The graphic novel “Real Friends” is about a girl named Shannon. Shannon and Adrienne have always been best friends, but when Adrienne begins hanging out with the popular girl, Shannon is just left in the dust. The novel follows Shannon as she goes through one big roller coaster called middle school. The book touches on the subject of how difficult middle school can be and challenging middle school friendships.
I enjoyed this book because I can relate to the lessons and feelings Shannon has towards her friendships and surroundings. Middle School is a tough and confusing time in everyone’s life, and knowing that you have similar experiences to others is nice to know. I would recommend this book to anyone who is struggling to find themselves throughout middle school or even awkward years.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name
Abigail

Book Review: In the Time of the Butterflies

Author
Alvarez, Julia
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez is a fictionalized account of resistance to the dictatorial rule in the Dominican Republic inspired by the stories of the three Mirabal sisters who were murdered in 1960. Alvarez expertly captures the terrorized atmosphere of living in a police state and the courage of a few to stand up in resistance. Despite the underlying anguish and dread, the novel is brimming with romance, hope, and faith as Dominicans try to find life under a dictator. Suppose you want a captivating novel enriched with courage, feminism, and intimacy and are willing to read a challenging narrative to stomach. In that case, this anxious page-turner will not disappoint.

Reviewer's Name
Lucia

Book Review: No Longer Human

Author
Dazai, Osamu
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

No Longer Human is a cultural phenomenon, widely known as the second most bestselling novel in the history of Japan. Within, Osamu Dazai explores the life of a man who feels that he has never been a part of humanity, and his desperate strivings to find a piece of happiness in a life full of terror and vice. The timeless, existential themes of the novel will haunt the reader past the last page.
I chose to read this book because I'd seen a lot of people all over the internet praise it as the saddest book they'd ever read. There are about a thousand videos and essays and think pieces about the depressing nature of this book, and how it can devastate and eviscerate emotionally. Weirdly enough, I don't see it. The book is definitely very sad, but to me it didn't extend very far beyond the other grimly written books about very sad people with very sad lives. However, the psychology of the protagonist definitely sets the book apart. Unlike other books of the same nature, this book cuts to the bone by showing the terrifying underbelly of humanity. The protagonist is paralyzed by fear because he comprehends what many of us forget: that we are at all times surrounded by our own apex predators. Each of us has our own deep desires that could stir us to violence at any given time. We lie and cheat and steal to get what we want, effortlessly wearing masks that can obscure our entire character and can last a lifetime. The protagonist isn't like other antiheroes of hardened books about the horribleness of humanity. He doesn't accept it, or rail against it. He is very much afraid of it, and does everything he can to get out of its way. The protagonist's perspective is also interesting in the way it views humanity. The detachment of the central character is clinical, and portrays the characters in an alien light. He is scared of humans, but he also doesn't understand them. He sees all hunger and desire as something strange, and he wonders how people can be so insincere so easily. But despite his abject horror of humanity, the protagonist is slowly transformed into everything he despises and cannot understand. Perhaps the most fascinating part of this tale is how the protagonist is dragged, slowly but steadily, into the grips of humanity's vices and horrors.
Despite the intriguing nature of the protagonist's psychology, I didn't find the rest of the book as interesting as I thought I would. I was likely just disappointed that after all the build up, this amounted to another very well done, very sad bildungsroman in the vein of Catcher in the Rye or Little Friends. There's also issues with the way the writer portrays women, but since everyone in the book is fairly dehumanized it doesn't bother me as much as I thought it would. All in all, No Longer Human is a fascinating journey through the most base natures of humanity, all through the eyes of a man who feels disqualified from being human. I'd recommend this to someone who wants something dark and strangely fascinating. I would not recommend this to anyone who is anywhere close to being in a bad place, or anyone who got annoyed by Holden in Catcher in the Rye. This guy is ten times worse.
Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name
Eve

Book Review: Heartstopper: Volume Four

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

Every time I think, "Alice Oseman can't possibly outshine previous Heartstopper books," she proves me wrong! This graphic novel had beautiful art and great representation. Heartstopper: Volume Four follows Charlie and Nick as they deal with separation anxiety, saying "I love you", and working through Charlie's declining mental health. There are some really important themes introduced, the biggest being Charlie's anorexia and OCD diagnosis. This was a really emotional part of the book, but it is also crucial for more young adult books like this to spread awareness about how common mental illnesses are. Charlie and Nick's relationship is strong, but it was also cool that they discussed how spending time with other loved ones instead will strengthen their relationship. Plus, their friends are diverse, endlessly kind, and could easily be real people. It is always a joy to read this series, and I can't wait for Volume Five!
Grade 12

Reviewer's Name
Maggie

Venom Vol. 1, Rex

Image
Venom Vol. 1, Rex
Author
Cates, Donny
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

Donny Cates was chosen by Marvel Comics back in 2018 to be the writer for Venom, and they picked Ryan Stegman as the artist. The result was a truly wonderful three year comic book run, very detailed and planned out by Cates, and with phenomenal artwork by Stegman.
They also introduced some very important, new things to the Venom mythos.
Eddie Brock, AKA Venom, discovers that centuries ago, an evil god called Knull created a race known as the symbiotes. He tried to use these beings to revert the universe back to it's former state of darkness, but his plans for foiled by Thor, god of thunder.
But now, the presence of Knull is felt once again within the symbiote hive mind, and Venom must stop him.
It's an interesting premise, and is truly great if you continue reading the series past this first volume. Stegman's art is fantastic as well.
I highly recommend this comic if you are fan of Venom and Marvel comics in general.

Reviewer's Name
Camden

Wings of Fire

Image
Wings of Fire
Author
Sutherland, Tui
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

This book is pretty good, the art is amazing, and the story is very fun to follow. The main point of this book, at least through my eyes is friendship. The characters are really interesting and feel very real! I rate this book 5 stars for an amazing message and great execution. (I wouldn't recommend for young kids however, it contains some graphic scenes, 10-13+ is how old I'd say you should be to read this)

Reviewer's Name
Cody

Book Review: Roller Girl

Author
Jamieson, Victoria
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

This graphic novel has lovely art and an even better storyline. Astrid is a middle-schooler who has a tough time doing roller derby without knowing anyone on the team. She has to learn how to hold her own and find her place doing a sport she loves. I liked how the author depicted Astrid's friendship with Nicole and they were able to learn from each other despite not being on the same path anymore. It was also cool to see Astrid's character development as she gained confidence and found her identity. The dedication it took to do that is a great lesson for anyone!
Grade 12

Reviewer's Name
Maggie

Book Review: Roller Girl

Author
Jamieson, Victoria
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

I liked this book a ton! This book is an easy read considering it’s a graphic novel. The story in this book is very inspiring for “shooting for the stars” or doing what you love. In other words, commitment. I can relate with the main character, Astrid, by getting through something tough with something you love. For Astrid, the love is all about roller derby.
I picked this book because I love graphic novels. The storyline to this book was extremely interesting, I could barely put the book down! I was honestly surprised by how good the book was. This book is by far my favorite graphic novel. I have read this book many times since my first.
Astrid was a teenager in junior high. The only thing getting her through the rough days of school was roller derby. Astrid loved roller derby and was committed to putting in her best work. Astrid’s character develops over time in the novel, and it’s interesting to read about her change.

Reviewer's Name
Abigail