Review: Lumberjackula

Title: Lumberjackula
Author: Mat Heagerty, Sam Owen
Genre: Graphic Novel, Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Source: Author
Format: Paperback arc
Release Date: July 19, 2022
Rating: ★★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

This middle grade graphic novel follows a half-vampire, half-lumberjack boy who feels torn between his parents and just wants to be a dancer.

Jack is in a pickle. His lumberjack mom wants him to go to Mighty Log Lumberjack Prep to learn how to chop wood and wear flannel. His vampire dad wants him to go to Sorrow’s Gloom Vampire School to learn how to turn into a bat and drink blood-orange juice. And Jack has a secret: what he really wants to do is dance.

When he finds out about Tip Tap Twinkle Toes Dance Academy from new friend Plenty, Jack feels he’s finally found the place where he can be his true self. But he’s too afraid of disappointing his family to tell them. What’s a half-lumberjack, half-vampire boy to do?

To summon the confidence to pursue his dreams, Jack will have to embrace every part of himself—his lumberjack toughness, his vampire eeriness, and most especially his awesome dance moves.

Review:

Lumberjackula, AKA Jack, is half-lumberjack and half-vampire. His mom wants him to go to Mighty Log Lumberjack Prep and his dad wants him to go to Sorrow’s Gloom Vampire School. However, Jack doesn’t feel like he fits in at either of those schools. What he really loves is to dance, so when he discovers Tip Tap Twinkle Toes Dance Academy, he knows it’s the right school for him. Jack doesn’t want to disappoint either of his families, though, so he pretends he still doesn’t know what school he wants to attend. Jack has to learn how to embrace all parts of his personality and be his true self. 

This was such a fun graphic novel! Jack comes from two very different backgrounds, lumberjack and vampire. He didn’t really feel like he fit in completely with either group, but he didn’t want to let either of his parents down. I think this would be relatable for kids who come from more than one cultural background. Jack had to learn that he didn’t have to fit into either group, and he could follow his own path to become a dancer. 

The illustrations in this graphic novel were vibrant and adorable. There were even some dances that Jack did to music that were mapped out. I really enjoyed reading this story!

Lumberjackula is an uplifting middle grade graphic novel about being true to yourself. 

Thank you Mat Heagerty and Simon Kids for sending me a copy of this book!

What to read next:

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

Martian Ghost Centaur by Mat Heagerty, Steph Mided

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

Blog Tour Review: Slip

Title: Slip
Author: Marika McCoola, Aatmaja Pandya
Genre: Young Adult, Graphic Novel, LGBTQ, Contemporary
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: June 7, 2022
Rating: ★★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

From Eisner-Award nominated writer Marika McCoola and debut artist Aatmaja Pandya, an emotional coming-of-age graphic novel for fans of Bloom and Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me.

Right before Jade is about to leave for a summer art intensive, her best friend, Phoebe, attempts suicide. How is Jade supposed to focus on herself right now?

But at the Art Farm, Jade has artistic opportunities she’s been waiting for her whole life. And as she gets to know her classmates, she begins to fall for whimsical, upbeat, comfortable-in-her-own-skin Mary. Jade pours herself into making ceramic monsters that vent her stress and insecurities, but when she puts her creatures in the kiln, something unreal happens: they come to life. And they’re taking a stand: if Jade won’t confront her problems, her problems are going to confront her, including the scariest of them all—if Jade grows, prospers, and even falls in love this summer, is she leaving Phoebe behind?

Review:

Jade is a young artist who has the opportunity to go to an art camp and possibly get a scholarship to an art school. However, right before she leaves, her best friend, Phoebe, attempts suicide. Jade is reluctant to leave her, but Phoebe needs to go into treatment. Jade finds it hard to stop worrying about Phoebe and blaming herself for what happened, but when she reaches deep down for those strong emotions, she can make her best art yet. 

Jade’s art form that she created was pottery. I took pottery classes for years, so I loved seeing all of the familiar tools. One tricky thing about pottery is that the creation is partly out of your control when it’s put in the kiln. Jade had to deal with one of her pieces ruining the work of another artist. It’s a tricky art form but can be beautiful. 

I appreciated the portrayal of mental health in this graphic novel. Though it doesn’t show the perspective of the person who attempted suicide, we can see the way it affected people around her. Jade blamed herself for not being there for Phoebe and she didn’t want to enjoy her time at the art camp because of it. In this way, Phoebe’s mental health struggles were reflected in Jade. 

Slip is a beautiful graphic novel with an important message. 

Thank you Algonquin Young Readers for providing a digital copy of this book.

What to read next:

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me by Mariko Tamaki, Rosemary Valero-O’Connell

Mooncakes by Wendy Xu, Suzanne Walker

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

Review: Squad

Title: Squad
Author: Maggie Tokuda-Hall and Lisa Sterle
Genre: Young Adult, Graphic Novel, Contemporary, Fantasy
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Source: Purchased
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 5, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

Pretty Little Liars meets Teen Wolf in this fast-paced, sharply funny, and patriarchy-smashing graphic novel from author Maggie Tokuda-Hall and artist Lisa Sterle. When the new girl is invited to join her high school’s most popular clique, she can’t believe her luck—and she can’t believe their secret, either: they’re werewolves. Fans of Mariko Tamaki and Elana K. Arnold will devour the snappy dialogue, vivid artwork, and timely social commentary.

When Becca transfers to a high school in an elite San Francisco suburb, she’s worried she’s not going to fit in. To her surprise, she’s immediately adopted by the most popular girls in school. At first glance, Marley, Arianna, and Mandy are perfect. But at a party under a full moon, Becca learns that they also have a big secret.

Becca’s new friends are werewolves. Their prey? Slimy boys who take advantage of unsuspecting girls. Eager to be accepted, Becca allows her friends to turn her into a werewolf, and finally, for the first time in her life, she feels like she truly belongs.

But things get complicated when Arianna’s predatory boyfriend is killed, and the cops begin searching for a serial killer. As their pack begins to buckle under the pressure—and their moral high ground gets muddier and muddier—Becca realizes that she might have feelings for one of her new best friends.

Lisa Sterle’s stylish illustrations paired with Maggie Tokuda-Hall’s sharp writing make Squad a fun, haunting, and fast-paced thriller that will resonate with fans of Riverdale, and with readers of This Savage Song, Lumberjanes, and Paper Girls.

Review:

When Becca and her mom move to an elite suburb in San Francisco, she’s surprised to be welcomed into the popular clique at school. Arianna, Marley, and Mandy are idolized at school and go to all the parties. However, one night Becca learns their secret: they’re werewolves. Every month the wolves target a guy from another school who takes advantage of girls. Then the werewolves take turns feeding off of him. Becca joins in their hunting, until things take a dark turn. Arianna’s boyfriend is murdered, which makes the police investigate a number of similar murders of young men in the area. This puts pressure on the pack, and they have to figure out how to hide their true lifestyle. 

This graphic novel immediately reminded me of Mean Girls. Arianna, Marley, and Mandy were a lot like the Plastics. Becca was an unsuspecting new girl, who they took under their wing, just like Kady in Mean Girls. That’s one of my favourite movies, so these similarities were so fun. 

I loved the social justice part of this story. The werewolf pack wanted to get justice for the girls who had been harmed by these horrible guys, so they chose them as their targets. Some of the names of these guys were similar to real life male predators, which was an insightful reference. Eventually, though, these attacks went too far and the trail appeared to lead back to the wolf pack.

Squad is a fun, feminist graphic novel!

What to read next:

Paper Girls, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan

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

Review: The Witch’s Hand (The Montague Twins #1)

Title: The Witch’s Hand (The Montague Twins #1)
Author: Nathan Page, Drew Shannon
Genre: Young Adult, Graphic Novel, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Fantasy, LGBT
Publisher: Knopf
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: July 14, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

Brothers. Detectives. Witches? Meet Pete and Alastair Montague in the first installment of a new graphic novel duology that is the Hardy Boys meets Paper Girls.

Pete and Alastair Montague are just a couple of mystery-solving twins, living an ordinary life. Or so they thought. After a strange storm erupts on a visit to the beach, they discover there is more to their detective skills than they had thought. Their guardian, David Faber, a once prominent professor, has been keeping secrets about their parents and what the boys are truly capable of.

At the same time, three girls go missing after casting a mysterious spell, which sets in motion a chain of events that takes their small town down an unexpected path. With the help of David’s daughter, Charlie, they discover there are forces at work that they never could have imagined, which will impact their lives forever.

An exciting new graphic novel from innovative creators Nathan Page and Drew Shannon that is at once timely and thrilling.

Review:

Pete and Al Montague are teenage twins who live with a professor and his family. Pete and Al solve mysteries in their town. However, they have a magical secret behind their success. After a storm, the boys find a mysterious witch in a lighthouse. Then three girls disappear, including the daughter of a prominent man in town. Along with the professor’s daughter, Charlie, Pete and Al investigate this disappearance and the mysteries of their town. 

This story was set in the 1960s, which reminded me of vintage Archie comics meets the Hardy Boys. There was some diversity in this story, with queer characters talking about coming out. I enjoyed this setting for this story. 

This was an exciting mystery novel. I loved the addition of some magic along with the mysteries. There was some witch lore involved as well. I liked that the mysterious elements were introduced in this story, and it left a lot of questions to be explored in the next volume. 

The Witch’s Hand is an exciting start to the Montague Twins series!

Thank you Penguin Teen Canada for providing a copy of this book.

What to read next:

The Devil’s Music by Nathan Page and Drew Shannon

Other books in the series:

  • The Devil’s Music

Have you read The Witch’s Hand? What did you think of it?

Review: Chef’s Kiss

Title: Chef’s Kiss
Author: Jarrett Melendez, Danica Brine
Genre: Graphic Novel, LGBT, Contemporary
Publisher: Oni Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 1, 2022
Rating: ★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

Watch things start to really heat up in the kitchen in this sweet, queer, new adult graphic novel! 

Now that college is over, English graduate Ben Cook is on the job hunt looking for something…anything…related to his passion for reading and writing. But interview after interview, hiring committee after hiring committee, Ben soon learns getting the dream job won’t be as easy as he thought. Proofreading? Journalism? Copywriting? Not enough experience. It turns out he doesn’t even have enough experience to be a garbage collector! But when Ben stumbles upon a “Now Hiring—No Experience Necessary” sign outside a restaurant, he jumps at the chance to land his first job. Plus, he can keep looking for a writing job in the meantime. He’s actually not so bad in the kitchen, but he will have to pass a series of cooking tests to prove he’s got the culinary skills to stay on full-time. But it’s only temporary…right? 

When Ben begins developing a crush on Liam, one of the other super dreamy chefs at the restaurant, and when he starts ditching his old college friends and his old writing job plans, his career path starts to become much less clear.

Review:

Ben Cook is a recent college graduate with an English degree. When he can’t find a job in publishing after weeks of interviews, he finds a restaurant that is hiring with no experience necessary. It doesn’t hurt that Ben also likes the cute sous chef who interviews him. Ben must do a series of challenges to prove to a tough critic that he has the skills to work there full-time.

I loved the quirky characters in this story. All of them, even the minor characters, had distinct personalities. There was also a pig, named Watson, who was just adorable.

The one thing I didn’t understand was why Ben had to do weeks worth of challenges for this job. He didn’t spend time actually working in the restaurant. He had to work on one dish a week to perfect it, but it seemed more like a training program or school rather than a job.

Chef’s Kiss is a cute queer graphic novel!

Thank you Oni Press for providing a copy of this book.

What to read next:

Giant Days by John Allison, Lissa Treiman

Heartstopper, Vol. 1 by Alice Oseman

Have you read Chef’s Kiss? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: Anne of West Philly

Title: Anne of West Philly
Author: Ivy Noelle Weir, Myisha Haynes (illustrator)
Genre: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel, Contemporary
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 1, 2022
Rating: ★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

Anne of Green Gables with a twist: in this follow-up to Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy and The Secret Garden on 81st Street, this full-color graphic novel moves Anne Shirley to modern-day West Philadelphia, where where she finds new friends, new rivals, and a new family.

When Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert decide to foster a teenage girl for the first time, their lives are changed forever. Their redheaded foster daughter, Anne Shirley, is in search of an exciting life and has decided that West Philly is where she’s going to find it. Armed with a big personality and unstoppable creativity, Anne takes her new home by storm as she joins the robotics club, makes new friends in Diana and Gilbert, experiences first love, and turns the ordinary into the extraordinary. But as Anne starts to get comfortable, she discovers one thing she wasn’t looking for: a family.

Review:

Anne Shirley moves in with her new foster family, siblings Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert. This is their first time with a teenage girl as their foster child. Anne has a big personality, which contrasts with Marilla’s and Matthew’s quiet demeanors. Anne makes new friends, joins the robotics club, and takes this quiet West Philadelphia neighbourhood by storm.

This is a fun, modern adaptation of Anne of Green Gables. Anne had a spunky personality, which made her stand out from the crowd. It took a while, but she eventually wins over everyone’s hearts.

Most of the events from the original story were updated in a way that made sense for today’s world. The only part that I didn’t think fit in as well was the part where Anne gives Diana the cordial. In the original story, Anne accidentally gives her friend cherry cordial which makes them drunk, so that couldn’t be in a children’s book today. In this modern version, they eat too many chocolates with liquor that make Diana sick. I don’t think those chocolates would make her drunk like the liquor did in the original story, so it felt a little forced to me. Other than that part, I think this modern adaptation was true to the feel of the original story.

Anne of West Philly is a great, modern graphic novel adaptation of Anne of Green Gables.

Thank you Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and TBR and Beyond Book Tours for providing a copy of this book.

The Secret Garden on 81st Street by Ivy Noelle Weir, Amber Padilla (illustrator)

Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy by Rey Terciero, Bre Indigo (illustrator)

Where to buy:

About the author:

Ivy Noelle Weir is a writer of comics and prose. She is the co-creator of the Dwayne McDuffie Award-winning graphic novel Archival Quality (Oni Press), the upcoming The Secret Garden on 81st Street (Little, Brown for Young Readers), and her writing has appeared in anthologies such as Princeless: Girls Rock (Action Lab Entertainment) and Dead Beats (A Wave Blue World). She lives in the greater Boston area with her husband and their two tiny, weird dogs.

Tour schedule:

February 28th
Jill’s Book Blog – Review
Book Notes by Athina – Promotional Post
Books with Michelle – Top 5 Reasons to Read Anne of West Philly & Mood Board

March 1st
Beneath A Thousand Skies – Review
Lily’s Cozy Blog – Review & Tik Tok
Rampant Reading Reviews – Review

March 2nd
Stuck in Fiction – Promotional Post
Not In Jersey – Review
Kerri McBookNerd – Top 5 Reasons to Read Anne of West Philly

March 3rd
Nine Bookish Lives – Promotional Post
Just a Gal and Her Books – Review

March 4th
dinipandareads – Review
The Book View – Review
Justice For Readers – Review

March 5th
The Book Dutchesses – Promotional Post
Oyinda Loves Books – Review
Kait Plus Books – Mood Board

March 6th
The Nutty Bookworm Reads Alot – Review
The Human Curveball – Review
PopTheButterfly Reads – Review

Have you read Anne of West Philly? What did you think of it?

Review: How to Pick a Fight

Title: How to Pick a Fight
Author: Lara Kaminoff
Genre: Young Adult, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Nobrow
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: October 5, 2021
Rating: ★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

Scrappy young Jimmy is a pro wrestler in the making, and he’s up for taking on anyone and anything. From his own family, his schoolwork, wild animals and pirates, he’s challenging the world one small fight at a time, but can his hopes and dreams take him all the way to stellar success? Or will his fists finally get him into too much trouble?

Jimmy dreams of one day being recognised as JIMMY RUCKUS, world famous featherweight, beloved by all but in his eleven-strong house, Jimmy is the last thing on anyone’s minds. He knows he’s destined for greatness, so he sets off to seek his fortune. What he finds are circus animals, painters, pirates and heavyweight champs, each one challenging Jimmy’s idea of success. By the end of it, Jimmy realises he has to decide whether living life fist first is all it’s cracked up to be. Lara Kaminoff’s stellar art style and sharp characters give us a snappy, fresh story about a scrappy kid who means well, but never quite gets it right.

Review:

Jimmy dreams of becoming a pro wrestler, like his idol Pimmy. When he’s constantly ignored by his large family, he decides to run away and make his dreams a reality. He goes on a journey where he encounters circus animals, pirates, a painter, and a castaway. Each of these encounters make Jimmy question if his dream is really the only path to success.

This graphic novel had a really good premise. Jimmy felt overlooked by his family, so his solution was to run away. However, it wasn’t as easy to follow his dream of becoming a pro wrestler as he thought it would be. He saw a lot of people who had worked hard all their lives yet hadn’t reached the levels of success that he expected.

By the comical cover and exaggerated look of Jimmy’s hair, I expected this story to be funnier. There were some serious learning moments that I wasn’t expecting. There was a surprising twist near the end, but I found the ending to be too open ended. I would have liked to see a more positive and concrete ending to Jimmy’s story.

How to Pick a Fight was a good graphic novel.

Thank you Nobrow Press for providing a copy of this book.

Girl Haven by Lilah Sturges

Have you read How to Pick a Fight? What did you think of it?

Review: ExtraOrdinary (Villains #1.5)

Title: ExtraOrdinary (Villains #1.5)
Author: V.E. Schwab, Enid Balám
Genre: Graphic Novel, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Publisher: Titan Comics
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: November 16, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

Written by #1 New York Times bestselling author V.E. Schwab, Extraordinary expands deeper into the world of Schwab’s critically acclaimed novels Vicious and Vengeful.

Torn from the world of ‘Vicious’, where death is not the end, only the beginning of extraordinary powers… Three new “EO”s must grapple with their new abilities… and with those who would hunt them down! Featuring unseen character design galleries from Andrea Olimpieri and story commentary from V.E. Schwab!

Review:

After a near death experience when her school bus is involved in an accident, teenage Charlotte Tills gains extraordinary powers. When she looks at someone, she can see that person’s death in their reflection. Her own reflection shows her the man who will kill her: Eli Cardale. She has to find other EOs to figure out how to use her new power.

This graphic novel is part of the Villains series. It can be read as a stand-alone, but it does mention characters from the novels in the series, such as Eli and Victor.

Charlotte’s power of being able to see someone’s death was such an interesting power. It made it difficult to look at people, since she could see them dying, but at the same time she knew what to expect. The ending had a great cliffhanger. I didn’t know this was going to be a series of graphic novels but now I’m so excited!

ExtraOrdinary is a great Villains graphic novel!

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Other books in the series:

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

Review: Shirley and Jamila’s Big Fall (Shirley and Jamila #2)

Title: Shirley and Jamila’s Big Fall (Shirley and Jamila #2)
Author: Gillian Goerz
Genre: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Dial Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: December 14, 2021
Rating: ★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

For fans of Raina Telgemeier and Victoria Jamieson, this middle grade graphic novel series tells the story of Shirley and Jamila, two girl detectives on a mission to stop their school’s biggest bully once and for all

As Jamila settles into the rhythms of classes and after-school basketball practice, Shirley has a new mystery on her mind. Her old enemy Chuck is up to his usual tricks: He’s been blackmailing kids all over school, and Shirley knows that she and Jamila can put a stop to it.

They hatch a plan: They’ll break into his house late one night and recover all the notes Chuck’s been using to blackmail innocent kids.

But while Shirley and Jamila are at the house, another intruder arrives–an intruder who can help them put a stop to Chuck’s crimes once and for all.

Review:

Shirley and Jamila are middle school detectives. In this story, they’ve just started the school year. Jamila is new at the school and eager to join the basketball team. Shirley is ready for their next case. She plans to take down her enemy Chuck, who has been blackmailing students, threatening to expose their most dangerous secrets. Meanwhile, Jamila makes a new friend at her community centre who makes her question if her friendship with Shirley is real.

Shirley and Jamila are like a modern day Sherlock and Watson. Shirley is methodical in her investigations, willing to wear disguises to catch the culprit. Jamila is quieter and thoughtful, questioning her relationship with Shirley. This mystery was based on the story “The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton.” I haven’t read that one but I’m curious about it after reading this graphic novel.

This story had important lessons about friendship. Though Jamila didn’t have any obvious interests in common with Shirley, they had fun together and that’s what’s important in a friendship.

Shirley and Jamila’s Big Fall is a great middle grade mystery!

Thank you Dial Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Real Friends by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

Other books in the series:

Have you read Shirley and Jamila’s Big Fall? What did you think of it?

Review: Geis II: A Game Without Rules

Title: Geis II: A Game Without Rules
Author: Alexis Deacon
Genre: Graphic Novel, Fantasy
Publisher: Nobrow Press
Source: Publisher
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: December 12, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

The second volume of Geis picks up right where the first graphic novel concluded: with the contenders divided against their will and thrown deeper into the mysterious game. Can the alliances of power be relied upon when so many rewards lay upon the line?

Deacons’ stunning illustrations carry forward the compelling and critically acclaimed narrative as the trilogy reaches its midpoint.

Review:

The competition continues in this second book in the Geis series. Everyone in the kingdom is competing to become the leader. However, only a couple of people know that they will fight to the death. Anyone who doesn’t win the competition will be killed. In this story, everyone is divided into two teams, either black or white. Alliances are broken as the stakes keep getting higher.

This is a fast paced and action packed story. There was more tension in this story because the stakes of the competition were raised. The fact that only some of the characters know that the competitors are destined to be killed also increased the tension.

I love how each character has a distinct appearance and style. Sometimes when a graphic novel has an extensive cast, it can be difficult to differentiate between the characters. It’s easy to tell these characters apart in this graphic novel.

Geis II is a great graphic novel! I hope the story will continue because it ended on a cliffhanger.

Thank you Nobrow for providing a copy of this book.

How to Survive in the North by Luke Healy

Other books in the series:

Have you read Geis II:A Game Without Rules? What did you think of it?