Review: Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass

Title: Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass
Author: Mariko Tamaki, Steven Pugh
Genre: Young Adult, Graphic Novel
Publisher: DC Ink
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Release Date: September 3, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Harleen is a tough, outspoken, rebellious kid who lives in a ramshackle apartment above a karaoke cabaret owned by a drag queen named MAMA. Ever since Harleen’s parents split, MAMA has been her only family. When the cabaret becomes the next victim in the wave of gentrification that’s taking over the neighborhood, Harleen gets mad.

When Harleen decides to turn her anger into action, she is faced with two choices: join Ivy, who’s campaigning to make the neighborhood a better place to live, or join The Joker, who plans to take down Gotham one corporation at a time.

Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass is at once a tale of the classic Harley readers know and love, and a heartfelt story about the choices teenagers make and how they can define—or destroy—their lives. This is the first title in DC’s new line of original graphic novels for middle grade and young adult readers.

Review:

I love Harley Quinn, so I was really excited to see her as a kid in this graphic novel. Her mom goes to work at a cruise company, so Harley is sent to live with her grandmother. When she arrives at her grandmother’s apartment in Gotham City, she discovers that her grandmother has passed away. The man who owns the apartment let’s Harley stay in the apartment for a while. When the town is taken over by Kane Enterprises, Harley has to work with her friends to save their homes. She tries to pay back the vandals who destroy their homes, but she meets a vandal who goes by the pseudonym, The Joker.

This origin story was really different from the other ones I’ve read. In the traditional story, Harley was a psychologist at Arkam Asylum, where she met the Joker who corrupted her. However, this story still had elements of the original Harley. She became friends with a girl named Ivy at school, like Harley’s best friend Poison Ivy. She also lived above a drag queen club, like in the original Harley story.

There were a lot of important issues in this story too. Ivy fought to have films by women shown in the film club at school. Ivy also called out the principal for disrespecting her. Harley didn’t wear the skimpy costume that was left for her, and opted for something that was more covered up. I liked that these feminist issues were addressed in this graphic novel, because they are not present in most comics.

I loved this book! I hope there will be a sequel.

What to read next:

Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale by Lauren Myracle, Isaac Goodhart

Batman: Nightwalker: The Graphic Novel by Marie Lu, Stuart Moore, Chris Wildgoose

Have you read Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass? What did you think of it?

Review: Guts

Title: Guts
Author: Raina Telgemeier
Genre: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Scholastic
Source: Borrowed from a friend
Format: Paperback
Release Date: September 17, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Raina wakes up one night with a terrible upset stomach. Her mom has one, too, so it’s probably just a bug. Raina eventually returns to school, where she’s dealing with the usual highs and lows: friends, not-friends, and classmates who think the school year is just one long gross-out session. It soon becomes clear that Raina’s tummy trouble isn’t going away… and it coincides with her worries about food, school, and changing friendships. What’s going on?

Raina Telgemeier once again brings us a thoughtful, charming, and funny true story about growing up and gathering the courage to face — and conquer — her fears. 

Review:

This book talks about Raina’s experience with IBS and anxiety as a child. I could relate to that, because I have both IBS and anxiety. It is something that isn’t talked about much, especially in children’s books, but it is very common.

Even if readers can’t relate to Raina’s sick stomach, they could relate to her being stressed out in class or the stresses that her friends had. One of her friends was moving away, so she was worried about that. It was a different kind of stress than what Raina had, but still relatable to young readers.

I really liked this book. I wish it was around when I was a kid. I’m excited to see what Raina writes next!

What to read next:

Smile by Raina Telgemeier

Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

Have you read Guts? What did you think of it?

Review: Topside

Title: Topside
Author: J.N. Monk, Harry Bogosian
Genre: Young Adult, Graphic Novel, Science Fiction
Publisher: Graphic Universe
Source: Thomas Allen and Son (book distributor)
Format: Paperback
Release Date: October 1, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A wild outer-space fantasy about fixing your mistakes and the friends you meet along the way.

When Jo, a headstrong maintenance technician, makes an error that destabilizes her planet’s core, she only knows one way to fix things: leaving her underground home for a trip to the planet’s dangerous, unruly surface. Soon she’s wandering through deserts, riding on the back of giant beasts, and cutting deals with con artists and bounty hunters. Meanwhile, agents of the core are in hot pursuit. J. N. Monk and Harry Bogosian (co-creators of the web-comic StarHammer) present a wild outer-space fantasy about fixing your mistakes and the friends you meet along the way. 

Review:

This was a fun sci fi graphic novel.

Jo is a maintenance worker in the core of the planet she lives on. She makes a mistake one day that will take a long time to get the supplies to fix. Instead of waiting, she goes to the surface of the planet, or the topside, to get the supplies. She ends up leading a bunch of people on a chase around the planet.

There were some funny parts to the story. When the workers were chasing Jo to reprimand her for making the mistake, they had to keep stopping to get approval for different tasks. They couldn’t pursue her without permission. That was funny, because every time they caught up to her, she got away because they had to wait for permission.

I didn’t like the colours used in the graphics. The colours were good when the characters were on the top side, but when they were in the core, the colours were monochromatic. That made it difficult to tell what was actually happening in the graphics, since everything was the same colour.

I enjoyed this graphic novel.

Thank you Thomas Allen and Son for providing a copy of this graphic novel in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Unplugged and Unpopular by Mat Heagerty, Tintin Pantoja, Mike Amante

Have you read Topside? What did you think of it?

Review: Captain Marvel, Vol. 1: In Pursuit of Flight

Title: Captain Marvel, Vol. 1: In Pursuit of Flight
Author: Kelly Sue DeConnick, Dexter Soy, Emma Rios
Genre: Graphic Novel
Publisher: Marvel
Source: Library
Format: Ebook
Release Date: January 1, 2013
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The “Mightiest” of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes is back! 

Ace pilot. Legendary Avenger. One hundred percent pure bad-@$$. Carol Danvers has a new name, a new mission – and all the power she needs to make her own life a living hell. As the new Captain Marvel, Carol is forging from a challenge from her past! 

It’s a firefight in the sky as the Banshee Squadron debut – but who are the Prowlers, and where has Carol seen them before? And how does secret NASA training program Mercury 13 fit in? Witness Captain Marvel in blazing battlefield action that just may change the course of history! Avengers Time Travel Protocols: engage! 

Review:

I liked this graphic novel much more than the first Captain Marvel graphic novel I read.

This story wasn’t an origin story, but it told the story of how Captain Marvel got her powers through time travel. She travelled back in time to figure out why she was left a plane by her mentor, Helen. Through this adventure, I learned about how Carol Danvers became Captain Marvel.

In the middle of the story, Captain Marvel went to a battle in World War II. I didn’t really understand why that was included in the book. It didn’t tie into the main plot of Carol learning about Helen’s past, but it did show what it was like to be a female pilot during that time.

I really enjoyed this book!

What to read next:

Captain Marvel, Vol. 2: Down by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Christopher Sebela

Have you read Captain Marvel, Vol. 1: In Pursuit of Flight? What did you think of it?

Review: Angel Catbird, Vol. 2: To Castle Catula

Title: Angel Catbird, Vol. 2: To Castle Catula
Author: Margaret Atwood, Johnnie Christmas, Tamra Bonvillain
Genre: Science Fiction, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Dark Horse
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Release Date: February 14, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The cat-centric adventure continues, in the all-ages follow-up to best-selling novelist Margaret Atwood’s debut graphic novel. Genetic engineer Strig Feleedus, also known as Angel Catbird, and his band of half-cats head to Castle Catula to seek allies as the war between cats and rats escalates. 

Margaret Atwood, the respected, worldwide best-selling novelist, and acclaimed artist Johnnie Christmas continue their action-packed adventure!

Review:

The cat/humans had to run away from the rat creator, Murtroid, in this second volume. They travel through the forest to Count Catula’s castle.

I love the cat references in this series! There were new cats in this book, including NeferKitti (who is the real Nefertiti) and her mummykittens, as well as the bird human Athen-Owl (who is the Greek goddess Athena). These were really funny references.

There were more great cat facts in this book, too. Every few pages, there are some facts about cats and their impact on the world. This included how many people abandon cats and how many species of birds that cats have been involved in making extinct.

I love this series! It’s funny and great for cat lovers!

Other Books in the Series:

What to read next:

Angel Catbird, Vol. 3: the Catbird Roars

Have you read Angel Catbird, Vol. 2: To Castle Catula? What did you think of it?

Review: Harley Quinn, Vol. 2: Harley Destroys the Universe

Title: Harley Quinn, Vol. 2: Harley Destroys the Universe
Author: Sam Humphries, Sami Basri, Lucas Werneck
Genre: Graphic Novel
Publisher: DC Comics
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Release Date: April 2, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Harley Quinn has a tough road ahead: travel through time and space to fix all the continuity errors she’s created in her many misadventures. Luckily, she’ll have help, because riding shotgun is none other than special guest star Jonni DC, Continuity Cop! Good thing, too, because if Harley fails, it means her own mom will be lost forever. Hey, that sounds more painful than funny! Learn more in these tales from HARLEY QUINN #50-54.

Review:

These Harley Quinn comics keep getting better and better. This one had me laughing out loud.

I love it when Harley reads her own comics in the story. She finds one that is telling the story of her current life, doing exactly what she’s doing. That causes a continuity problem, making the entire DC universe explode. Superheroes from the Golden Age of comics, decades ago, start appearing in her modern world. This was a funny way of creating a mess for Harley to clean up.

The final comic was separate from that storyline. Harley is allergic to cats so she starts giving away her neighbour’s cats for free. This causes an uproar in the pet industry, which is run by men. They believe pets should only be sold to men, by men. It’s an absurd rule, but many of our gendered aspects of society don’t really make sense when you think about it. This was a great comic!

I loved this graphic novel! It was hilarious and entertaining.

What to read next:

Harley Quinn, Vol. 3: The Trials of Harley Quinn by Sam Humphries, John Timms

Have you read Harley Quinn, Vol. 2: Harley Destroys the Universe? What did you think of it?

Review: Cassandra Steps Out (Cassandra: Animal Psychic #1)

Title: Cassandra Steps Out (Cassandra: Animal Psychic #1)
Author: Isabelle Bottier, Hélène Canac
Genre: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Graphic Universe
Source: Thomas Allen & Son (book distributor)
Format: Paperback
Release Date: September 3, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Cassandra has a gift. Animals can show her what they’re thinking. And she’s done keeping her talent a secret. In the first volume of the Cassandra: Animal Psychic series, Cassandra sets out to help pets and their people. 

The trouble is, other parts of Cassandra’s life are changing too. Her mom has a boyfriend she really likes, but his daughter can’t stand Cassandra. And Cassandra’s best friend is about to leave town. Not even her trusty dog Miss Dolly can make things feel okay. When Cassandra gets on the trail of a lost cat, will she be able to help its owners? Or will her first case be a flop? 

Review:

This is a cute story about a girl who can communicate with animals.

I love dogs and cats, so I enjoyed this story. Cassandra has a special power that lets her communicate with animals. This includes an ability to reach out with her mind to find a lost cat.

There were some great tips throughout the book on how to treat pets. There was a section at the end about Cassandra’s pet dog and how she trained her and looks after her. This would be great for kids with pets.

I didn’t like the way the story about the lost cat turned out. There was a twist involving the person who sent them a ransom note for the cat, but it was very strange. I wish it had a better conclusion.

Overall, I liked this book and I’d like to see what happens in the rest of the series.

Thank you Thomas Allen and Son for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Okay Witch by Emma Steinkellner

Have you read Cassandra Steps Out? What did you think of it?