By the way, have I mentioned how glad I am that it’s March? I’m not thrilled that we didn’t have a single hard freeze this year (zomg the bugs we’ll have this summer!), but the trees are in bloom and budding and the weather is getting warmer and we’ve even had our first round of spring storms. Bring on spring!!
Below you’ll find snippets for the second half of my Comics in February month. Read about Saga, I Remember Beirut, The Shadow Hero, and The Sculptor here. Feel free to click on the panel pictures to enlarge. All links for Amazon are affiliate and I’ll get a tiny commission if you purchase anything using my link (and thank you if you do!)
This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki
Published: 2014 | Pages: 318 | Genre: Young Adult
Quick Take: Every year since they were little, Rose and Windy reunite as summer friends at their cottages in the lake country. Rose is a little older than Windy and she starts to feel their age difference as Rose is going through changes of her own. While this is very much a coming of age story, there is also a side story with Rose’s parents and their failure to have another baby that colors much of the book.
Bottom Line: A lot of This One Summer felt familiar to me–the curiosity about boys and wanting to be noticed but wanting to remain invisible, the awkwardness of growing older while others still seem to be more innocent, the pain of your parents fighting but not really understanding the whole of it (my parents divorced when I was 14). I wish the story would have focused more on Rose and Windy rather than bringing the parents into the mix, but I suppose that’s all part of life! I really liked the illustrations in This One Summer–there were a few full page spreads that were just gorgeous–but the depiction of the skinny blonde and the rounder brunette bothered me for some reason. In the end, this read was just OK for me.
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Published: 2015 | Pages: 266| Genre: Young Adult
Quick Take: Nimona, a young and precocious shapeshifter, offers her services to villain Lord Ballister Blackheart. As she starts to unfold her plan for widespread mayhem, she and Blackheart uncover a potential conspiracy within the kingdom.
Bottom Line: While I found Nimona the character to be a little pesky, I loved the way that this book subverts the notions of good and evil–of the villain and hero. The book was full of surprises and fun, but also a lot of heart where it wasn’t expected. By the end of the book I wanted more of the backstory between Blackheart and his nemesis Goldenloin. Stevenson hints at some of their relationship in the endnotes of the book and I hope that we’ll be seeing more of them in the future. My biggest complain is how small the lettering is–I had a tough time reading it! Otherwise, lots of giggles and a thoroughly enjoyable read!
Habibi by Craig Thompson
Published: 2011 | Pages: 660 | Genre: Fiction
Quick Take: Dodola, a young escaped slave girl, takes a child Zam under her wing as they fight to survive in the desert of the Middle East. Alone together, she consoles him at night with stories from the Qu’ran (which we also see as parallels in the Biblical stories) until Dodola is taken as a concubine of the Sultan and Zam meets his own fate. Above all, this is a story of sacrifice and love.
Bottom Line: Wow! Habibi is both ambitious and impressive. Apparently it took Thompson six years to write Habibi and it shows in every one of his illustrations–from the intricate scrolls to the puzzle pieces that fit together in each drawing. I was constantly in awe at each turn of the page (all 660 of them!). While the story didn’t capture my heart like Blankets did, I was mesmerized while reading the tale. There is a lot of religious background within the book and it made me want to learn more about the stories of Islam and the Old Testament. Some of them were familiar to me, but I honestly had no idea that there were so many similarities between the different faiths. While the other two books featured on this post are young adult, this one is decidedly not. There is quite a bit of nudity and mature adult subjects. Not without faults, it was still a captivating read.
Want the super short version? Read Nimona for the fun, This One Summer for the nostalgia, and Habibi for the gorgeous art. Enjoy!
So dear reader, which graphic novel MUST I read next?? What have you read lately?