Review: Secrets of Camp Whatever, Vol. 1

Title: Secrets of Camp Whatever, Vol. 1
Author: Chris Grine
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Oni Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 30, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

“Just the right amount of chills for tweens who enjoy supernatural suspense.” — KIRKUS

Perfect for fans of Lumberjanes and Brain Camp, there’s more than mosquitos at Camp Whatever and Willow will need to face truths about herself and her family as summer camp dread goes head to head with the supernatural.

Eleven year-old Willow doesn’t want to go to her dad’s weird old summer camp any more than she wants her family to move to the weird old town where that camp is located. But her family—and fate itself—seem to have plans of their own. Soon Willow finds herself neck-deep in a confounding mystery involving stolen snacks, suspected vampires, and missing campers, all shrouded in the sinister fog that hides a generation of secrets at Camp … Whatever it’s called.

Review:

Eleven-year-old Willow’s family has moved back to her dad’s strange hometown of Nowhere. She’s going to go to his old camp, Camp Whatever. He enjoyed the camp when he went there, but one of the campers went missing while he was there. As soon as Willow boards the ship to go to the camp, she can see that it is going to be a strange week. She ends up encountering supernatural mysteries, including gnomes, Bigfoot, and a possible vampire, all hidden in the fog of Camp Whatever.

This was such a fun graphic novel. Going to a new camp can be intimidating enough, without the possibility of encountering supernatural creatures. There were a couple of warning signs before Willow left for camp, such as when her dad said a kid went missing while he was there and there was a creepy clown holding a balloon standing on the dock to the ship. I could tell things would get creepy after those two events.

This story kept me guessing until the end. There were so many different supernatural creatures that I didn’t know what was going to happen next. The setting of a camp can be exciting enough, with kids isolated in a space with limited supervision, but the addition of fantasy creatures made it even more exciting.

I really enjoyed this graphic novel! I can’t wait to read more in this series.

Thank you Oni Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Lumberjanes, Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters, Brooklyn Allen

Martian Ghost Centaur by Mat Heagerty, Steph Mided

Have you read Secrets of Camp Whatever, Vol. 1? What did you think of it?

Review: Gudetama: Mindfulness for the Lazy

Title: Gudetama: Mindfulness for the Lazy
Author: Wook-Jin Clark
Genre: Graphic Novel
Publisher: Oni Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 6, 2021
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Mindfulness takes a lot of mental energy to wrap your brain around. Gudetama is here to help you become a better person…sort of.

Empathizing with others, understanding your feelings, learning to be selfless. These all sound like really hard things to do! Well fear not, come along with Gudetama who’ll guide your way to learning things and more. Living selflessly is something many struggle with. Don’t worry, Gudetama does too, and wants to join you on your journey in finding the wonders of mindfulness. 

Review:

Gudetama is a lazy egg who gives advice. In this book, Gudetama gives people advice on how to be mindful. This includes how to treat others, how to stay organized, and how to live selflessly.

This was such a cute book. Gudetama is an adorable, lazy egg, who likes to sleep in his shell. Gudetama and his friend Nisetama help people with problems in their daily lives, such as balancing their workload or mending relationships with friends.

This was a fun book on life advice for kids and adults.

Thank you Oni Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Gudetama: Love for the lazy by Wook-Jin Clark

Gudetama: Surviving the Holidays by Wook-Jin Clark

Have you read Gudetama: Mindfulness for the Lazy? What did you think of it?

Review: Getting It Together, Vol. 1

Title: Getting It Together, Vol. 1
Author: Sina Grace, Omar Spahi, Jenny Fine
Genre: Graphic Novel
Publisher: Image Comics
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 30, 2021
Rating: ★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Marvel Comics and GLAAD nominated award Iceman writer SINA GRACE and co-creator OMAR SPAHI deliver the all-new modern dramedy you didn’t know you needed! Sam and Jack are best friends, and Sam is dating Lauren, Jack’s indie rocker sister and roommate. Tensions skyrocket when Sam and Lauren open up their long-term relationship, sending social shockwaves through their friend group and the entire Bay Area, leaving poor Jack caught in the middle! Life gets pretty messy when you’re in your 20s and your friends are your family. Newcomer artist JENNY D. FINE shines in this series about love, friendship an rock n’ roll!

Collects GETTING IT TOGETHER #1-5

Review:

This graphic novel is about a group of friends in San Francisco. Sam and Jack are best friends, and Sam is dating Lauren, Jack’s sister. After Sam and Lauren decide to have an open relationship, Lauren sleeps with her her band mate. That devastates Sam, leading them to break up. Jack ends up in the middle of the break up, between his best friend and his sister. Meanwhile, Jack is constantly using dating apps to meet new guys. They all have lots of drama in their lives.

I was drawn to this graphic novel because of the cover, which resembles the cast of the tv show Friends. This story was also about a group of friends in their 20s, and it opened with a couple breaking up because one of them misunderstood what it meant to be “on a break.” However, that’s where the resemblance ended.

I couldn’t connect with any of the characters. There wasn’t a lot of plot either, other than them having random romantic encounters. The graphic novel began with Sam and Jack, but they had disappeared from the story by the end. Some plot points were so dramatic, I think they were just included for a shock factor, rather than actually moving the plot forward.

The art style changed, and improved, in the final chapter of the book. At the beginning, the images were less defined and detailed, which made many characters look alike. I’m not sure if it was part of the story or just in my advanced copy, but I wish the later art style was throughout the story.

Unfortunately, this graphic novel didn’t work for me.

Thank you Image Comics for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Ghosted in L.A., Vol. 1 by Sina Grace, Siobhan Keenan, Cathy Le

Have you read Getting It Together? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: My Last Summer with Cass

Title: My Last Summer with Cass
Author: Mark Crilley
Genre: Graphic Novel, Young Adult
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 16, 2021
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

This One Summer meets The Edge of Seventeen in this poignant coming-of-age YA graphic novel about two childhood friends at a crossroads in their lives and art from the author of Mastering Manga.

Megan and Cass have been joined at the brush for as long as they can remember. For years, while spending summers together at a lakeside cabin, they created art together, from sand to scribbles . . . to anything available. Then Cass moved away to New York.

When Megan finally convinces her parents to let her spend a week in the city, too, it seems like Cass has completely changed. She has tattoos, every artist in the city knows her. She even eats chicken feet now! At least one thing has stayed the same: They still make their best art together.

But when one girl betrays the other’s trust on the eve of what is supposed to be their greatest artistic feat yet, can their friendship survive? Can their art? 

Review:

Cass and Megan met when their families would rent cottages for the summer in the same town. They both loved to create art, and even got in trouble for drawing on one of the cabin walls together. When they were in high school, Cass moved to New York City with her mom. Megan went to visit her one summer, and she got a taste of Cass’s mature artist lifestyle. Cass insisted that Megan act like her, by drinking, going to parties, and painting more mature subjects. Cass and Megan decide to collaborate like they did when they were children, but the sudden appearance of Megan’s parents causes her to make a decision that could ruin their friendship.

This was a great story about growing up and growing apart. Cass and Megan had a lot in common when they were kids, but their lives changed when they grew up. Megan was still very much controlled by her parents, whereas Cass had a lot of freedom to do anything she wanted in New York City. Even though the two friends had similar childhoods, they ended up on very different paths in life.

I loved the art in this graphic novel. The characters had very expressive faces. The drawing style reminded me of Disney princesses. This story makes a perfect graphic novel, since it’s about two girls who are artists.

I really enjoyed this coming of age graphic novel!

Thank you Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and TBR and Beyond Tours for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Mooncakes by Wendy Xu, Suzanne Walker

You Have a Match by Emma Lord

About the author:

Mark Crilley was raised in Detroit, Michigan. After graduating from Kalamazoo College, he traveled to Taiwan and Japan, where he taught English for nearly five years. It was during his stay in Japan that he created the Eisner Award–nominated comic Akiko on the Planet Smoo, which spawned a series of graphic novels and prose novel adaptations. In 1998, Mark Crilley was named to Entertainment Weekly’s It List of the 100 most creative people in entertainment.

Tour Schedule:

March 15th
Stuck in Fiction – Interview & Review
The Broke Book Blog – Review & Playlist

March 16th
Diary Of A Bookgirl – Review
Sadie’s Spotlight – Promo Post
Nine Bookish Lives – Review & Creative Post

March 17th
The Book Dutchesses – Review
The Writer’s Alley – Review, Favourite Quotes & Mood Board

March 18th
Kait Plus Books – Interview & Top 5 Reasons to Read My Last Summer with Cass
paperbacktomes – Review
ohsrslybooks – Review & Top 5 Reasons to Read My Last Summer with Cass

March 19th
Musing of Souls – Review
Allisa White’s Book Blog – Review & Mood Board
Bookishfairytail – Review & Favourite Quotes

March 20th
Jill’s Book Blog – Review
The Someday Librarian – Review & Favourite Quotes
Velarisreads – Review

March 21st
sunnysidereviews – Interview & Top 5 Reasons to Read My Last Summer with Cass
Miss Linda Bennet – Review & Favourite Quotes

Have you read My Last Summer with Cass? What did you think of it?

Review: Delicates (Sheets #2)

Title: Delicates (Sheets #2)
Author: Brenna Thummler
Genre: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Oni Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 23, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Following the events of the bestselling graphic novel SheetsDelicates brings Brenna Thummler’s beloved characters, artwork, and charm back to life.

Marjorie Glatt’s life hasn’t been the same ever since she discovered a group of ghosts hiding in her family’s laundromat. Wendell, who died young and now must wander Earth as a ghost with nothing more than a sheet for a body, soon became one of Marjorie’s only friends. But when Marjorie finally gets accepted by the popular kids at school, she begins to worry that if anyone learns about her secret ghost friends, she’ll be labeled as a freak who sees dead people. With Marjorie’s insistence on keeping Wendell’s ghost identity a secret from her new friends, Wendell begins to feel even more invisible than he already is.

Eliza Duncan feels invisible too. She’s an avid photographer, and her zealous interest in finding and photographing ghosts gets her labeled as “different” by all the other kids in school. Constantly feeling on the outside, Eliza begins to feel like a ghost herself. Marjorie must soon come to terms with the price she pays to be accepted by the popular kids. Is it worth losing her friend, Wendell? Is she partially to blame for the bullying Eliza endures?

Delicates tells a powerful story about what it means to fit in, and those left on the outside. It shows what it’s like to feel invisible, and the importance of feeling seen. Above all, it is a story of asking for help when all seems dark, and bringing help and light to those who need it most.

Review:

Eighth grader Marjorie has a group of ghosts that live in her family’s laundromat. When Marjorie starts school after the summer, she’s become friends with the kids that used to bully her. This year, the kids have turned to bullying Eliza, a girl who has been left back a grade and is in their class. Eliza feels left out and finds comfort in her photography hobby. Eliza tries to take photos of ghosts, which also makes her the subject of teasing. However, Marjorie knows that ghosts do exist. Eventually, the bullying reaches a breaking point, and Marjorie is the only one who can save Eliza.

This is the perfect companion to the graphic novel Sheets. In that story, Marjorie and her laundromat full of ghosts were introduced. In this sequel, Marjorie has to use what she learned in the first story to help Eliza.

There was a lot of bullying in this story. There was also some discussion of suicide. This theme of death is part of the story, since Marjorie is friends with the ghosts of people who have died. This could be triggering content, but this story is also an important teaching experience about depression.

I really loved this graphic novel!

Thank you Oni Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Martian Ghost Centaur by Mat Heagerty, Steph Mided

Girl Have by Lilah Sturges

Other books in the series:

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

Review: Martian Ghost Centaur

Title: Martian Ghost Centaur
Author: Mat Heagerty, Steph Mided
Genre: Young Adult, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Oni Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 16, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Full of humor, heart, and hilarious hijinks, Martian Ghost Centaur is a touching story about protecting the things you love and following your passion.

The town of Southborough used to be a major tourism destination, drawing folks from all over in the hopes they’d spot the famous Sasquatch, reportedly seen in the town many times over the years. But it’s been ages since anyone’s spotted the ‘squatch, and tourism is starting to dry up. To build their techie headquarters, a tech company called Start-up.com begins buying places all over town, driving out all the local townspeople. Luckily, Southborough is also home to Louie O’Connor, firm believer in the Sasquatch’s existence and all-around mega ‘squatch fan.

When Louie’s dads’ restaurant, Squatch Burger, starts to go under and fall prey to the techie start-up, Louie and her best friend Felix decide they’ll do whatever it takes to save the town from losing all the people and places that make it special. In hopes that convincing people the Sasquatch is real and to re-attract tourism, Louie and Felix plan an elaborate hoax in hopes of saving the town from the dot-com takeover. But when Felix starts talking about leaving their hometown for college in LA, Louie will have to face some tough questions about herself, her future career, and her place in her beloved hometown.

Review:

The town of Southborough is known for their Sasquatch sightings. Since the first sighting eighteen years ago, it has been a popular tourist destination. However, now people aren’t as eager to visit the famous town. Louie O’Connor is worried about her family and their restaurant. Many stores and houses in the town are being bought by a tech entrepreneur who wants to own the town. When the truth behind their Sasquatch is uncovered by an vlogger who Louie invited to the town, they have to find another way to draw tourists to the town. Louie and her best friend Felix form a plan to save their town.

This story shows how our perception of things has changed over time. It wasn’t very long ago that we didn’t have the internet and smartphones with us everywhere we went. Now, we know how easily photos or videos can be edited to show something that isn’t real. That becomes a problem for towns like Southborough in this story, which survived on the mystery around their Sasquatch. It wasn’t difficult to find the truth behind those sightings, which destroyed the tourism in the town.

There were some fun references to pop culture from the 90s and early 2000s. The first Sasquatch sighting was made by Louie’s dad while he was filming an audition tape for American Idol in 2003. Louie had a friend who made costumes, including many different costumes of Uncle Joey from Full House. Those were so funny and accurate. I love it when stories make references to things from my childhood, because it makes me feel more connected to the story.

This was a really fun story!

Thank you Oni Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

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

The Okay Witch by Emma Steinkellner

Have you read Martian Ghost Centaur? What did you think of it?

Review: Red School (Part 2)

Title: Red School (Part 2)
Author: Victoria Aveyard, Soman Chainani, Joel Gennari (illustrator)
Genre: Graphic Novel, Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: N/A
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Release Date: December 2, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Fantasy titans Victoria Aveyard and Soman Chainani team up in a two-part graphic novel event! Featuring your favourite characters from ‘Red Queen’ and ‘The School for Good and Evil’ series.

Review:

The characters from Red Queen and the School for Good and Evil are still fighting a plague at the school. Mare, Maven, Cal, Agatha, Sophie, and Tedros must find a way to get to the School Master’s Tower and get the magical Storian pen to stop the virus that is infecting everyone at the school.

This was a great conclusion to the Red School graphic novels. There were some more cameos of characters from the novels that appeared at the heart of the problem. I would recommend reading at least the first book of the Red Queen series and The School for Good and Evil series before reading this one because the action begins right away without much of an introduction to the characters.

These comics were such a fun collaboration. It was exciting to see characters from two great series come together in this short adventure.

I hope there are more collaborations between these characters or other series in the future.

What to read next:

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

Other books in the series:

Have you read Red School (Part 2)? What did you think of it?

Review: The Times I Knew I Was Gay

Title: The Times I Knew I Was Gay
Author: Eleanor Crewes
Genre: Graphic Novel, Memoir
Publisher: Scribner
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 6, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A charming, highly relatable graphic memoir that follows one young woman’s adventures in coming out and coming of age.

Ellie always had questions about who she was and how she fit in. As a girl, she wore black, obsessed over Willow in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and found dating boys much more confusing than many of her friends did. As she grew older, so did her fears and a deep sense of unbelonging. From her first communion to her first girlfriend via a swathe of self-denial, awkward encounters, and everyday courage, Ellie tells her story through gorgeous illustrations—a fresh and funny self-portrait of a young woman becoming herself.

The Times I Knew I Was Gay reminds us that people sometimes come out not just once but again and again; that identity is not necessarily about falling in love with others, but about coming to terms with oneself. Full of vitality and humor, it will ring true for anyone who has taken the time to discover who they truly are.

Review:

This graphic memoir is about coming out and growing up. Ellie had a close group of friends as a kid, but she always felt different. She dated boys but didn’t feel the same way about them as her friends did. Ellie came out multiple times before having the courage to live as her true self.

This was an original coming of age memoir. In most stories, when a character comes out, it’s a single moment that changes the course of their life. This book gave another perspective, where a person has to come out many times before finally deciding to live that way. Even though Ellie knew she was gay, she continued dating boys because that’s what her friends did. When she finally accepted herself, she was able to live her true life.

I loved this original graphic memoir!

Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Love Letters to Jane’s World by Paige Braddock

Juliet Takes a Breath: The Graphic Novel by Gabby Rivera and Celia Moscote (illustrator)

Have you read The Times I Knew I Was Gay? What did you think of it?

Review: Sylvie

Title: Sylvie
Author: Sylvie Kantorovitz
Genre: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel, Memoir
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: February 9, 2021
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

In a wise and witty graphic memoir, a young artist finds her path apart from the expectations of those around her.

Sylvie lives in a school in France. Her father is the principal, and her home is an apartment at the end of a hallway of classrooms. As a young child, Sylvie and her brother explore this most unusual kingdom, full of small mysteries and quirky surprises. But in middle and high school, life grows more complicated. Sylvie becomes aware of her parents’ conflicts, the complexities of shifting friendships, and what it means to be the only Jewish family in town. She also begins to sense that her perceived “success” relies on the pursuit of math and science—even though she loves art. In a funny and perceptive graphic memoir, author-illustrator Sylvie Kantorovitz traces her first steps as an artist and teacher. The text captures her poignant questioning and her blossoming confidence, while the droll illustrations depict her making art as both a means of solace and self-expression. An affecting portrait of a unique childhood, Sylvie connects the ordinary moments of growing up to a life rich in hope and purpose.

Review:

Sylvie was born in Morocco and moved to France as a child when her dad got a job as a principal. They lived in the teacher’s school where he worked. Sylvie and her younger brother loved to explore the school. As she got older, Sylvie started to notice her parents arguing and became aware of being different, since they were the only Jewish family in the town. Sylvie was passionate about drawing, but her mom wanted her to have a more secure job, which forced her to study math and science even though she didn’t want to. This was a great coming of age memoir.

This graphic novel consisted of a variety of anecdotes from Sylvie’s life. There were moments with her friends and her siblings. Each chapter was like a snapshot of a moment in her life, which all added up to her childhood.

I loved the illustrations in this graphic novel. They looked like innocent drawings by a child, though they were more detailed than a child’s art. Since they had a childlike simplicity, it reinforced the theme of Sylvie’s childhood.

This is a beautiful graphic memoir!

Thank you Candlewick Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Smile by Raina Telgemeier

Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm

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

Review: Girl Haven

Title: Girl Haven
Author: Lilah Sturges, Meaghan Carter (illustrator)
Genre: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Oni Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: February 16, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

When seventh-grader Ash, his crush Eleanor, and their friends are transported to a girls-only imaginary world, Ash must come to terms with the fact that he may actually be a transgender girl. Full of wonder, humor, and heart, Girl Haven is the newest original story from the author of Lumberjanes.

Three years ago, Ash’s mom, Kristin, left home and never came back. Now, Ash lives in the house where Kristin grew up. All of her things are there. Her old room, her old clothes, and the shed, where she spent her childhood creating a fantasy world called Koretris.

Ash knows all about Koretris: how it’s a haven for girls, with no men or boys allowed, and filled with fanciful landscapes and creatures. When Ash’s friends decide to try going to Koretris, using one of Kristin’s spellbooks, Ash doesn’t think anything will happen. But the spell works, and Ash discovers that the world Kristin created is actually a real place, with real inhabitants and very real danger.

But if Koretris is real, why is Ash there? Everyone has always called Ash a boy. Ash uses he/him pronouns. Shouldn’t the spell have kept Ash out? And what does it mean if it let Ash in?

Review:

Seventh-grader Ash joins the Pride club at school. The club consists of friends Eleanor, Chloe, and Junebug. After the club meeting, Ash invites his new friends to his house to show them his mom’s art. His mom created a world called Koretris in her art and stories when she was a child. Koretris is a world filled with talking rabbits, where only girls exist. His mom disappeared years ago. Ash and his friends recite a spell from the spell book she created, which transports them to Koretris. Since boys aren’t allowed in Koretris, Ash questions whether he is meant to be a boy or a girl while also searching for his mom in this fantasy world.

This was a fun fantasy story. It’s a common storyline to be transported into a fantasy world, such as Narnia or Wonderland. I would have loved to go into the worlds of my favourite novels as a kid, so I think this story is relateable.

This story also explored what it means to be a boy or a girl. Ash had always felt more like a girl, but since everyone said that he was a boy, he figured he must be a boy. He really began to question it when he was transported to the world that was only meant for girls. This shows readers that it’s okay to question your feelings and figure out who you really are, not who others say you have to be.

I loved this middle grade graphic novel!

Thank you Oni Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Sheets by Brenna Thummler

Mooncakes by Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker

Have you read Girl Haven? What did you think of it?