Reviews of Teen Books by Genre: Graphic Novels/Manga

Compass South
Larson, Hope
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Compass South is the thrilling story of Alexander (Alex) and Cleopatra (Cleo) Dodge, twins in 1850s America. With their single father missing, and no money left to live, the twins abandon their gang-ridden home in Manhattan. Cleo and Alex set out to impersonate missing boys who are heirs to a rich uncle in California. Along the way, they meet suspicious characters, new friends, and obstacles of every kind. This graphic novel is a thrilling adventure with lush artwork, a solid story, and lovable characters. Each chapter slowly unravels the journey of the Dodge twins and was good enough for me to read in a single sitting. Highly recommended to lovers of graphic novels, adventure/mystery, and Mark Twain-type stories.

Reviewer's Name: Lily
Spider-Man: The Darkest Hours
Butcher, Jim
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Peter Parker is all grown up and is now a teacher. But his Spidey senses go haywire when siblings of one of his most dangerous enemy's are in town seeking revenge. The are part of a powerful race known as the Ancients. Peter is warned of an ambush by none other than the cat burglar turned good, Felicia Hardy - aka Black Cat. These beings are so powerful that Dr. Strange refuses to help him. This is the traditional Spider Man tale. Only the trial and tribulations of being a high-schooler are replaced by the trials and tribulations of adulthood.

Reviewer's Name: Rayn
My Hero Academia, Vol. 1
Horikoshi, Kohei
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book takes place in a world of super-humans where people are born with unique abilities called quirks. The main protagonist in this story is Midorya Izuku, a teenage boy who looks up to a superhero named All Might. Midorya’s dream is to become a strong hero like All-Might, but he becomes discouraged when he is told it is impossible because he was born with no quirk.

Reviewer's Name: Rayn
A teal background with a large yellow smiley face. the smile is filled with braces
Telgemeier, Raina
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Smile is one of my favorite comic books. It goes through the author's struggle with her teeth after a traumatic accident while she has other struggles in her daily life such as friends, crushes, insecurities, and fake friends. Over time, she learns to accept herself and come into her own, and smile. She grew to be a confident, happy teenager. This is definitely a book I would recommend to anyone, and a book that I have and will read over and over again!

Reviewer's Name: Shieana H.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid Book Cover
Kinney, Jeff
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book is very relatable for pre-teens. It shows how a young boy (with a big ego) thinks he's stuck in school going nowhere. This book really focuses on all the characters. And shows how hard middle school can be. It also shows how were able to work through any of our problems. Overall it's a really great book for young minds.

Reviewer's Name: Vince D.
Book Review: Manga for the Beginner : Chibis
Hart, Christopher
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book is good to start with for someone who is new at drawing anime. It gives simple step by step instructions on how to draw cute chibi characters. It helps the reader draw expressions and poses. There are also examples of how to draw chibi animals. There is also a chapter on how to draw furniture and objects. This book is easy enough for kids to follow. Chibi art is a good style for children to draw in. Kids might like this book because the characters are adorable.

Reviewer's Name: Lynniah C.
Black Butler, vol. 3
Toboso, Yana
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Black Butler is about a 13 year old boy who makes a deal to give his soul to a mysterious demon butler named Sebastion. Black Butler takes place in Victornian- Era London. The main protagonist Ciel is born into the wealthy Phantomhive family. He loses his family when his house is allegedly set on fire and he is kidnapped. When Ciel meets a demon named Sebastion, he agrees to make a deal to give Sebastion his soul when he dies, and in return, Sebastion will protect him. Ciel lives with Sebastion as his demon butler as a servant to protect him and one day have revenge for his family.

Reviewer's Name: Lynniah C.
Sonic/Mega-Man: World's Collide
Sonic/Mega man scribes
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This is the first part of a twelve part series. It’s a story that combines two video game characters: Sonic and Megaman. It compares the similarities and differences between Sonic and Mega Man. The art style is detailed and nice. Each panel has a lot of detail and expression. It’s very consistent. It is interesting to see both Mega man and Sonic’s worlds put into one book. There is a lot of action and humor. This book would be good for audiences of all ages to read.

Reviewer's Name: Lynniah C.
Naruto, Vol. 53, The Birth of Naruto
Kishimoto, Masashi
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Volume 53 of Naruto stands out from a lot of other volumes. This book gives the reader a backstory of how the main protagonist Naruto, a strong ninja from the Hidden Leaf Village grew up, and where he came from. This book shows the reader details about Naruto’s past. This book has great and detailed illustrations that show the reader a lot of expressions. The art helps the reader understand how the characters feel and relate to them.

Reviewer's Name: Lynniah C.
Attack on Titan, Vol. 1 Graphic Novel
Isayama, Hajime
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Attack On Titan is about how a boy’s life changes when he loses his family to titans. The main protagonist is a 15-year-old named Eren Yeager who lives with his sister and parents until one day, his village is destroyed by giants called titans. After Eren’s mother is eaten by a titan, Eren decides to avenge her death and become strong enough to kill titans. This book is awesome because of the illustrations and interesting stories.

Reviewer's Name: Lynniah C.
Book Review: Guts
Telgemeier, Raina
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Another great graphic novel by Raina Telgemeier. As Raina deals with friends, food, and changes in school she begins to find herself. This is a great book that many teens would find relatable and fun to read. The art in these books is so detailed and colorful. I have read all of Raina Telgemeier's books and I love her stories of finding your way.

Reviewer's Name: McKenna B
Book Review: Drama
Telgemeier, Raina
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This was a very sweet book. The three things I liked best about it were the following:
1. It was a play within a play.
2. A character breaks up with his girlfriend because she was trying to get someone to cheat on a test.
3. The main character doesn't give a second chance to the boy who disrespected her.
It's a lighthearted book that addresses some deep themes and is fun to read.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Awards:
Bleach, Vol 2
Kubo, Tite
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

In the second Bleach manga book Ichigo and Rukia search for Chad. They encounter a hollow that killed a boys parents and the boy was stuck in a parrots body and told that his mother could come back to life. Afterwards Rukia gives Ichigo a soul candy which allows him out of his body without Rukia having to be there. The soul candy goes rogue and steals Ichigo's body. They have to hunt down his body and they make friends with him and put him in a stuffed animal.

Reviewer's Name: Vincent D
Sidekicked
Anderson, John David
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Andrew Bean is a normal kid on the outside but on the inside he is the Sensationalist, a sidekick with super senses. Andrew joins a superhero organization called H.E.R.O this affiliation trains people with superpowers so they can be sidekicks for superheros and someday supers themselves. His hero, The Titan used to be the best (and coolest) superhero but after an unfortunate accident while fighting a notorious criminal called The Dealer he disappeared. This left the sensationalist with no hero to help him when he needs it most especially when the Dealer returns seeking revenge on The Titan. In the middle of this all he still has to be careful not to blow his cover, even to his parents.

Reviewer's Name: Vincent D
Book Cover
Garcia, Kami
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

After a car accident that killed her mother, Raven is living with her her new mom (her aunt) and foster sister Max, in New Orleans. In addition to losing her mother in the accident, Raven lost all of her memories. Adding to that, she can hear the thoughts and feelings of those around her. As she tries to remember who she was, Raven is making new friends and learning that what matters is who she is, and who she chooses to be going forward. That is, until her past catches up with her...

I'm not at all familiar with the Teen Titans but know enough to know that Raven's a popular character from that series. And I can see why! In this iteration, she immediately (albeit accidentally) puts mean girls in their place, and stands up for those being bullied, which I like. Memory loss may not be the most original way to begin an origin story, but its certainly an effective way to slowly introduce the audience to the character, and it was used to good effect here. The high school bits were just right - prom, foiled romance, mean girls - Garcia nails those elements. I just wish there had been a bit more to the story. I liked it, but it all felt a bit trite. Its a perfectly good origin story, but there's nothing new here. Just when it starts to get really interesting, it ends. I do hope there is a sequel planned.

For me, the thing that can really make-or-break a graphic novel is art, and the art in this is wonderful. The coloring was just right - its mostly purples, blacks, light blues and beige, and the muted palatte really sets and fit in with the overall tone. When a red character emerges, he really pops. Also, sometimes I find artwork to be confusing (especially in action sequences), but that was not at all the case here. In fact, this would be excellent graphic novel for those who are just starting out with the medium.

TLDR: A run of the mill but nonetheless entertaining origin story that will delight teenagers (and adults) who aren't sick of superheroes.

Overall, this is a really solid graphic novel for teens that I'll probably end up booktalking. 3 stars - it was pretty good!

Thanks to DC Ink and Netgalley for the advance copy which I received in exchange for an unbiased review. Teen Titans: Raven will be released on 02 Jul, but you can put your copy on hold today!

Reviewer's Name: Britt
Lumberjanes
Stevenson, Noelle
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Do you like magical creatures? Do you like actually well-executed pop-culture references? Do you like respectfully handled minority representation? Then the Lumberjanes series is definitely for you! It follows the adventures of five girls at a very unusual summer camp - Ripley, Jo, Mal, Molly, and April. Together, they encounter all manner of magical beasts, artifacts and locations, all while bonding with each other & following their motto of 'Friendship to the MAX!'

The series also has representation to offer, as I previously mentioned. With not only a main-cast lesbian couple, but a trans character,a nonbinary character, and several characters of color, it does well showing the diversity that exists in our world. "But, the art! What do you have to say about the art?" I hear you ask. Well, being a comic, it does have to convey much of its story through images. Through volumes, the art style does shift as different artists draw for Lumberjanes, but it consistently holds in a quality range of 'good' to 'great'. The main artist's style is a little unusual & a bit difficult to get used to, but it'll quickly grow on most readers. Overall, the Lumberjanes series is worth a read, even if it doesn't quite sound like your thing. It's charming and sure to delight pre-teen and teen readers.

Reviewer's Name: Olivia F.
The Marvels
Selznick, Brian
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book begins on a ship at sea with a boy named Billy Marvel. He survives a terrible shipwreck and later finds work in a London theatre. There his family lives for generations as brilliant actors--some who are the best kind of people, some who are awful people. All of the family are actors and love the stage and spotlight until young Leontes Marvel. He hates acting, misses his cues, and can’t remember his lines. His parents are ashamed and banish him from the stage. He decides that his destiny lies somewhere else so he runs away.

A century later, Joseph Jervis, another runaway, finds a place to stay with an uncle in London. Grumpy Uncle Albert and his strange but beautiful house lure Joseph on a search for clues. He begins to think that he might be related to the Marvels and begins an incredible adventure to find out who he truly is.

I really enjoyed this book. During the mystery, I felt like I was right alongside Joseph as he found clues to his mysterious past. I am happy that I figured out the mystery before Joseph did. The story had a very sad ending, but overall stayed pretty bright. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes Brian Selznik’s other books, mysteries, or heartfelt books.

Reviewer's Name: Ben C
Maus II: A Survivor's Tale
Spiegelman, Art
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Maus II, the sequel/continuation to Maus, continues the story of Vladek Spiegelman told by his son in the form of a comic book. This book is amazing because, just like the first, it uses an animal metaphor to easily show the reader who is who in the story. Maus II takes a darker turn because Vladek is now in the depths of Aushwitz. I love these books and their creative outlook on the War and the Holocaust. No other historical book has made me this intrigued and want to continue reading.

Reviewer's Name: Maddie K.
Maus
Spiegelman, Art
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Maus 1 is a fascinating graphic history of the Holocaust and what Jewish people went through. Artist Art Spiegelman uses a variety of metaphors to depict his fathers experience as a Polish Jew during the Holocaust. I found this book incredible because it uses an animal metaphor like Animal Farm to give a deeper insight into the story. This graphic history, much like a graphic novel, uses lights and darks, white and black, and special images to draw the reader in and help them understand the hardships Vladek Spiegelman faced. I loved this book and think it is a must read book for everyone.

Reviewer's Name: Maddie K.
Batman: Nightwalker
Lu, Marie
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

In "Batman: Nightwalker", the early years of Bruce Wayne is retold in the style of a YA novel. Years after the death of his parents, Bruce struggles with loss, a sense of purpose, and the empire he has just inherited. When a string of mysterious crimes pop up in Gotham City, he soon gets tangled in the web.

First off, when I started this book, I didn't actually know much about the Batman universe, but it was easy to catch up -- especially considering it takes places years before Bruce's story actually begins as Batman. However, I have read Marie Lu's work before, so I had a general idea of what I was getting into. There are quite a few things I liked about this book: the plot was intricate and engaging, the protagonist was likable and interesting, and the twists and turns were really well executed. But, what kept me from giving this book five stars was the writing style. Normally, I really enjoy Marie Lu's writing style, but this book was different than her other work. The dialogue often felt really unnatural (especially when it came to Bruce and his friends). There were lots of lines that I thought were cheesy or robotic and that pulled me out of the story. Had the writing flowed a little more and the dialogue been more natural, I would've definitely given this book five stars. But, I would still recommend it because, despite the flaws, I really enjoyed it for its elaborate, high-paced plot.

Reviewer's Name: Gillian P.

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