The Hero’s Guide to Being an Outlaw is the latest book in a series that keeps me coming back for more. I almost wish sometimes I would wait until the...moreThe Hero’s Guide to Being an Outlaw is the latest book in a series that keeps me coming back for more. I almost wish sometimes I would wait until the book came out to read it, because I love the illustrations inside and end up glancing through finished copies as soon as I get them into my library. The beginning of this book does not take place much after the second, but suddenly our Princes are on the run, they are outlaws, wanted for the murder of Briar Rose. The only problem is, nobody killed her and although they may have had conflicts in the past, they wouldn’t wish harm on her, especially not death.
Obviously, there is something more going on in the different kingdoms and slowly the book reveals the evil plans of the man pulling all the strings to get the princes on the run and the kingdoms in his hands. I love the zany way of the princes, the various romantic plots that make me smile, and the strength of Lila, who is Liam’s younger sister. I love the role she plays in this book, with Ruffian the Blue and how often times the princesses have it more together than the princes. I love that Healy cleverly plays on the strengths of each characters and makes their weaknesses full of hilarious moments.
This is possibly one of my favorite fairy tale series, because it takes such a great spin on the princes and giving them life and personalities that we do not see in the fairy tales, or older Disney movies. I love that it’s such a thick book but it’s reads so fast that the 500 pages never feels like enough. There’s so much in these books that I love and I hope my students will enjoy The Hero’s Guide to Being an Outlaw as much as the previous books. I hope this series continues on, as I cannot get enough of the characters and all the moments and hilarity in these books.(less)
Battling Boy was one of my many exciting finds at ALA this year and as a big fan of graphic novels, I could not wait to dig into it. I loved the mix...more Battling Boy was one of my many exciting finds at ALA this year and as a big fan of graphic novels, I could not wait to dig into it. I loved the mix of mythology with fantasy right away. Now, I have to say I'm not a big fan of traditional super hero graphic novels, and I felt this one fell a little in toe with what you'd see in adult superhero stories. It's definitely a lot more graphic, gross and geared towards middle grade readers.
As for character development, Battling Boy has a long way to go. I know he is the son of a God which makes him quite less human, but I honestly felt more attached to Aurora's character – the daughter of the deceased Haggard West. She is trying to become prepared to take her father's place when Battling Boy makes his entrance and steals the show. He's a bit disorientated and feels guilty about needing his father help to take out his first monster.
The politic involvement drove me a little away from liking Battling Boy as he went along with the parade in his honor after taking out just one monster. Since I'm not a traditional superhero graphic novel reader I didn't really connect with what was happening and it felt a little forced. I'm hoping the second volume picks up speed and that more of Aurora is shown and hopefully in a way that empowers her as a female character. I'm a bit weary that it will follow the traditional story of women always needing to be rescued, etc.
Overall, I really enjoyed the illustrations and the basic story line. I hope the characters develop more as the graphic novels continue and felt it was a bit of a slow start getting to know them in this first volume. Definitely for those who love a good superhero story. (less)
I loved Level Up for a variety of reasons. I’ve always been a fan of graphic novels and have fallen in love with Gene’s stories and Liam’s illustratio...moreI loved Level Up for a variety of reasons. I’ve always been a fan of graphic novels and have fallen in love with Gene’s stories and Liam’s illustrations. Having grown up surrounded by video games, but not really a gamer, I still felt a connection to the main character. Dennis is in college for something he doesn’t think he will enjoy, because of a promise he made to his parents and just when he is about to give up and commit his life to video games, four angels come and keep him going.
This book is really about finding yourself and what you want to do with your life. I feel like any person starting off college may think they want to do one thing and suddenly develop a passion and find opportunities in another. I loved the scenes where the angels show up and bully Dennis back into going to classes and how he tries to dodge the angels as he falls off his studies.
The illustrations are wonderful and I love the style, with the watercolors and the very basic character drawings. It definitely fits the story perfectly.(less)
In Polterguys, Bree is a nerdy college student who is studying to become a doctor, but is a bit awkward when it comes to relationships. When she move...more In Polterguys, Bree is a nerdy college student who is studying to become a doctor, but is a bit awkward when it comes to relationships. When she moves into a house haunted by five guy ghosts, she is a bit put off, but soon learns to live with her new roommates. When a strange man comes out of nowhere and tries to take them through a portal, she promises to help them resolve whatever is keeping them there. The only problem is, they have no idea who they are or what their lives were like before they were ghosts.
I really loved the art style in this graphic novel. It's a little more manga styled, but still with more realistic features. I loved Bree's character design along with the guys. I'm looking forward to seeing more of her artwork in future volumes.
The end of the first volume surprised me. I was expecting that Bree would have more time or more difficulty in finding information on one of the characters. Also, I'm really intrigued as to the character who popped out of nowhere and tried to start snatching the ghosts. I'm not sure what role he will play in later volumes, but I'm looking forward to seeing more of him.
Overall, I loved the artwork and the overlying plot along with the silly moments in Polterguys. It wasn't perfect, but I'm hoping it will pick up more in the next volume.(less)
Champion is the last of a great trilogy. Day and June are separate, but not for long, as a new threat has June asking Day once again for his help. If...moreChampion is the last of a great trilogy. Day and June are separate, but not for long, as a new threat has June asking Day once again for his help. If he doesn't it could mean war between the Colonies and the Republic, something that is best avoided. A new plague has cropped up and once it affects Day's close friend, he can no longer resist helping.
Day and June are probably one of the best literary couples I've seen in a while. They both have their own goals that keep pulling them apart, but they cannot deny their feelings for each other. I love the style of these books, giving perspective into different characters so you can see both sides of the story. I like that the romance is somewhat to the side, but entangled in the main plot all the same. Lu has a great balance of action, intrigue and romance that really makes this a compelling trilogy to read.
Also, I loved seeing more insight into some of the other areas of the world. I loved their visit to Antarctica to ask for their help and the unique way of keeping peace in that territory. The politics involved in the novel really add to the enjoyment of this book, giving it more than the typical dystopian novel. I loved meeting the Chancellor, who tries to sway Day in his own way and also the re-involvement of the Patriots and their role in the incidents that occur in this novel.
The epilogue of Champion really pulled at my heart strings and gave me goosebumps and really pulled together what we wanted from the novel, but in a realistic light. If you haven't read this trilogy, I would suggest checking them out.(less)
The Grimm Conclusion is one of my most anticipated fall reads and I was excited to meet the author at a conference, where I picked up the book. On th...more The Grimm Conclusion is one of my most anticipated fall reads and I was excited to meet the author at a conference, where I picked up the book. On the inside of the book, he wrote "May it give you nightmares" and indeed it would. Taking some of my favorite stories, like the Juniper Tree, we find different adventures in store for a brother and sister who must fight to survive.
But beyond that, I felt like I got an insight into the head of Gidwitz himself as he brings the characters into modern day and reveals the truth behind the narrator. I love this full turn circle that makes me wish this book wasn't The Grimm Conclusion. Taking the goriest fairy tales and skewing them to follow our two main characters really works for me and I love seeing which story they will end up in as one comes to a close. I also love the heartbreak found in these tales, the promises made and broken that really tugs at the heart of the reader.
Overall, I really think that there's quite the treasure trove of fairy tales in these books and adds a narration that really brings it all together. These tales are meant to have an outside voice involved and I was surprised at the way the narrator turned out to be someone that readers could relate to, whether old or young. I also applaud him from keeping close to the old stories, even with all the wonderfully added gore involved in them.
Final Verdict: A series that you won't want to miss, The Grimm Conclusion wraps up a trilogy I am sad to see end. I hope Gidwitz's next project is just as wonderful. (less)
One of my favorite series of all times, I was anticipating the latest installment of The Shade of the Moon. Taking place after the third book, Jon is...more One of my favorite series of all times, I was anticipating the latest installment of The Shade of the Moon. Taking place after the third book, Jon is the main character, the youngest of three siblings. Jon is seventeen and lucky enough to be a claver, privileged in his enclave and living with his stepmother and half brothers. The kids at school call him a "slip", meaning he slipped into the enclave on passes and live a great life, with purified air, playing soccer to keep up morale of the community. Jon is not happy though, constantly haunting by his past – the girl named Julie who he blames himself for letting die.
When Jon meets Sarah, he finds himself looking at the community around him in a different light. His sister is pregnant but has to live as a grub, working in the greenhouses and her husband Alex is a bus driver. His own mother lives as a grub, and is a teacher of grub students. Things only get worse when a riot breaks out at a soccer game against their own grubs. Jon finds his own life and the ones he loves in danger and the community suddenly is torn apart.
Full of loss and seeking redemption, Jon must figure out what he can do to save the rest of his family from the terrible life they are living. I love seeing how Jon grew in this novel, forcing him to face his past and his future. Sarah is a character I enjoyed and was flawed herself, wanting a better life for the grubs but taking advantage of her own prosperity at the same time.
Final Verdict: A great new adventure and story in a series that is truly harrowing and reveals the best and worst part of human nature. A must-read for lovers of post-apocalyptic novels. (less)
I have enjoyed Faith Erin Hicks' graphic novels before and was looking forward to this latest release. Hicks' artwork always draws me into the story a...moreI have enjoyed Faith Erin Hicks' graphic novels before and was looking forward to this latest release. Hicks' artwork always draws me into the story and really brings her characters to life. The story behind this book is that of Charlie, a boy who is the captain of the basketball team, former boyfriend of head cheerleader and mean-girl Holly and sort of a quiet laid back kind of guy. So when his friend and neighbor Nate tries to run for student council to save the budget of the robotics team, the cheerleaders retaliate by forcing Charlie into running against him.
What occurs next is quite an interesting situation for Charlie and he finds he can't just let it all work itself out like he usually does. He has to take an active role in making both parties happy so it doesn't ruin his own life. I love Charlie, who is a guy who just wants to get through high school with as little drama as possible. Unfortunately, that isn't working out for him. Nate cracks me up with his crazy bad driving skills and his geeky appeal. My favorite character has to be Joanna, the one girl who is on the robotics team and I just love her attitude and geek charm.
Final Verdict: Overall, a fun and exciting read that really pulls the reader in until the end. Awesome illustrations and great characterization make this graphic novel a must-read for teens.(less)