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Emiko Superstar

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  1,378 ratings  ·  146 reviews
A borrowed diary, a double life, and identity issues fuel a teenager's quest to find herself before she cracks and commits social suicide, in this new series written especially for girls. Young adult.
Paperback, 176 pages
Published October 14th 2008 by Minx (first published October 7th 2008)
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Average rating 3.68  · 
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 ·  1,378 ratings  ·  146 reviews

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Emiko's summer looks like this: babysit all day, hang out with her own parents at home in the evening, rinse, repeat. It's pretty dull, but the babysitting gig pays well.

But then Emiko sees a charismatic artiste called Poppy at the mall, and Poppy personally invites her to the Freak Show, held in an abandoned warehouse on Friday nights.

Emiko isn't a freak. Not exactly. But could she be?
This is a tiny book that manages to cover a lot of emotional ground and pack a pretty big punch.

Emiko is
Colleen Venable
Jun 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
I pretty much loved everything about this book, from the fantastic character designs (both in personality and in actual visual portrayal-woo for chunkier protagonists whose storyline never talks about the fact that she isn't a twig!), to the story itself which was layered in amazing ways most YA novels don't ever attempt. Thought-provoking and inspirational, not to mention being a damn fine read. A MUST READ for anyone who secretly or not so secretly is an art freak at heart. One complaint: ...more
Dov Zeller
Sep 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
So often freaks and geeks are, well, social categories that get connected by an "and." But in Emiko Superstar freaks and geeks are not one and the same. Of course, hours, days, even years could be spent in a debate of what distinguishes one from the other, and how these terms came to be, and how they are used in self-identification vs. other-identification. But, in this book, there is a clear (ish) delineation. Geeks are those who pursue knowledge for the sake of becoming successful at something ...more
I'm not picking graphic novels all that well it seems. At least not every time. It's true, I don't read the synopsis and just look at the cover and briefly flip through the book to check the artwork, so I suppose it's my own fault for picking another "lonely emo girl finds a boy who finally 'gets' her and disappoints her parents to 'find herself' with a ragtag group of misfits." This wasn't as extreme in those regards as Ivy was, but this actually ended up lacking substance in spite of that.

David Schaafsma
May 31, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: gn-ya
If I had not first read Skim and This One Summer I might have liked this more, but this title, in the Minx series for young girls, while well written, does not have sister Jillian Tamaki as artist, which seems like the perfectly in sync collaborative team for both of them. This one is about an insider who chooses to be an insider, or a geek who wants to be a geek, or something like that. Fine writing of story and dialogue by Mariko Tamaki, and just okay art.
Mar 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
Cybils YA Graphic Novel Award winner
I surprised myself by being engaged by this iconic YA search for identity where Emi, a self-proclaimed geek, dares to attend a Freak Show, after being captivated by its star, the Amazing Poppy Galore, at a mall. At this point in the story, the words fail and the image takes over: Poppy is full-page glorious, "covered in silver and pieces of mirror. Like a disco ball..." Emi dares to dream that even she could remake herself into Emiko Superstar.
I noticed
Sarah Sammis
Jan 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Emiko Superstar by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Steve Rolston won the YA Graphic Novel category of the Cybils earlier this year.

Emiko is a geeky and awkward teenager who wants to find her place in the world. She's an Asian Canadian growing up in Toronto. The book covers her summer vacation where she is baby sitting for a dysfunctional family and spending her nights as a performance artist in a club that draws its influence from Andy Warhol's Factory.

Emiko Superstar drew me into the story
Dec 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this one! Emiko doesn't really fit into any mold and she feels out of place where ever she is, which I can totally relate to. She is labeled a nerd/geek, but she's not really, she's just uncomfortable around people. Her summer is typical. Lousy. While at the mall she has an experience that changes her life... and no, its not a sale at the Gap.

I loved the story. In high school I was uncomfortable and unsure of how to act. The one thing that I loved to do was write. It was the perfect
Dec 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
The fate of the Minx imprint is really a crying shame. For an all-too-brief moment, DC Comics was publishing these fantastic narratives about teenage girls who were not even remotely the assumed norm, delivered in the form of extremely viewable and readable graphic art. Sadly, these books were published under a false imprimis ("'Minx'? Srsly???") and not under any other and didn't have a great fate.

This is a great story about being mixed-race, about transitioning from one grade to another and
Feb 14, 2009 rated it it was ok
I did not get this story and I thought it was stupid. I never felt for the main character and I thought that some of the things she did were downright irresponsible and reckless. I couldn't fathom why the author of this book would want us to then applaud these things the girl did. The illustrations were okay, but because of the rest of the story I just couldn't bring myself to enjoy them. I got really frustrated with the main character and I just wanted her to grow up. I would not recommend this ...more
May 23, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphicnovel, ya
Minx. I had serious issues with what Emi does - she copies out diary entries of the young trapped suburban mother she's babysitting for, and turns that woman's pain into performance art in order to impress a bunch of sleazy disaffected hipsters. She never owns to her dishonesty, and while there are happy endings all round, it just doesn't sit right with me.
Feb 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
Ok, first of all, I love the MINX books. I know they aren't perfect, but they go a long way for me. I like them not only because I read them nostalgically for my teenage self, who probably would have loved them, but also because I think they are just cute, interesting stories that are a nice breather from un-minx books. When I read in September that Minx is giving up the ghost, I felt genuinely bummed. I'm glad my local library carries a bunch of Minx titles so I can work through the cannon ...more
Jan 17, 2009 rated it liked it
I picked this up at the library and started flipping through. Only after a close look at the back cover did I realize that I have read another of Tamaki's graphic novels, Skim. I liked Skim, but it seemed a little light-weight and unfocused. This book definitely comes out of the same ethos as Skim. Emi is a geek who doesn't even fit in with the other geeks. She almost accidentally stumbles upon this non-conformist group of people, where each person is weirder than the last and many are ...more
Mar 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
My new crush is on Mariko Tamaki. I loved her book Skim, and this is more proof that she's up-and-coming in the graphic novel universe. I can't wait for her to write something else. And she should update her website. :)
Anyway, the book. This is a story of a girl who decides to leave the geeks and join the freaks. You know I like a book with that premise. I want to tell you more, but I don't think it's necessary. I LOVED it. I want to LIVE it. This is far and away the best Minx title so far (and
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This description on the back says it all:
"Watch Emi go from dull suburban babysitter to eclectic urban performance artist."

A quick read of a graphic novel, it could have gone deeper in a bunch of directions. I was actually surprised it was stand alone because I would have liked to know more of the story of the woman she babysat for, as well as Poppy. Of course, I've read that Minx Books isn't around anymore, so perhaps any plans that were there fell through.
Mar 14, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: women, graphic-novel
This graphic novel was just kind of 'meh' for me. I wish the story was a bit more fleshed out. I did appreciate that Emi is a chubby girl, but no one talks about it because it isn't an issue, and I liked her artsy tendencies (despite the fact that her art was stolen from someone else). I think it's probably good for teenagers (the target audience), but I would have liked to see more.
Jul 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Read this in my attempt to track down more girl-centric graphic novels at the library to suggest to patrons. It's a fun read and might appeal to the girls who like Drama.
Kaprisha Campbell
Nov 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Loved it. Funny and
Jan 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, graphic
Good story. Kind of made me excited about writing and making art again. Thanks, Mariko.

Also nice previews of other books published by Minx Books in the back. I'll look for these titles.
Oct 07, 2015 rated it liked it
This was ok. Not great, but not bad either. It was an enjoyable hour reading it.
Apr 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
I miss Minx.
May 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A lot of the "Minx" books just make me feel kind of, um, old? But this one is special.
Barnaby Haszard Morris
Addictive. I smashed through this, borne along by very well drawn characters & scenes and a number of unanswered questions. When the answers come, few are very surprising, so the dramatic tension of the last few pages isn't particularly thrilling. It is a book for teen girls, I suppose; God knows they've got enough tension in their lives as it is.

It's strange how much of the narrative is carried by dubious or plainly immoral decisions, and even stranger how few of these decisions have
Hannah Givens
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel, ya
I love Minx books because they seem like boring contemporary YA lit, but there's always something more to them. An authenticity, but also a sense of wonder. Emiko Superstar is structured like a geek-becomes-popular story, but her popularity isn't at school or a mainstream performance club, it's at one of those gross hipstery warehouse venues where people do performance art. I actually just went to a show like that for the first time in a long time, so this had all the more impact.
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
Color me unimpressed. Story and character's actions made this story somewhat unredeemable, especially as she's only doing it to fit in amongst a bunch of slightly older, disaffected youths who claim that they are pursuing "art". Sprinkled throughout with some truths learned through insight and bad decisions, most of this graphic novel is a bit of a snooze.

Art was okay, but nothing to write home about.
Jul 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
I really enjoyed this fast read. Emiko is a high school student who has to find something to do for the summer after losing her job. She finds a new job but something better as well -- an opportunity to try something new.
Anneke Alnatour
Sep 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: female-author
An okay graphic novel about a girl who wants to be a superstar, or just anything that is not boring. She succeeds.
Feb 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen
teen graphic novel (geeky Hapa teen finds her voice, LGBTQ interest)
Lizzie (Littlehux) Huxley-Jones
A very cute coming-of-age graphic novel about finding your place within an art world.

Emiko Superstar is an engaging story from Mariko Tamaki, as Emiko finds herself wanting to explore other sides to herself. With help from a plucky journalist, she investigates the strange world of the Freak Show, alongside her summer of babysitting for an increasingly unhappy couple.
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
Almost none of the plotlines resolve. Cool story, bro.
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Mariko Tamaki is a Toronto writer, playwright, activist and performer. She works and performs with fat activists Pretty Porky and Pissed Off and the theatre troupe TOA, whose recent play, A vs. B, was staged at the 2004 Rhubarb Festival at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. Her well-received novel, Cover Me (McGilligan Books) was followed by a short fiction collection, True Lies: The Book of Bad Advice ...more
“Did you ever wish you had a book that would explain the full meaning of life's random happenings to you?” 19 likes
“It's funny right, how you can ask one question and you get a piece of an answer and a million NEW questions.” 0 likes
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