Review: The Tea Dragon Society

Title: The Tea Dragon Society
Author: Katie O’Neill
Genre: Children’s, Graphic Novel, LGBT
Publisher: Oni Press
Source: Owlcrate
Format: Paperback
Release Date: October 18, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

From the award-winning author of Princess Princess Ever Aftercomes The Tea Dragon Society, a charming all-ages book that follows the story of Greta, a blacksmith apprentice, and the people she meets as she becomes entwined in the enchanting world of tea dragons. 

After discovering a lost tea dragon in the marketplace, Greta learns about the dying art form of tea dragon care-taking from the kind tea shop owners, Hesekiel and Erik. As she befriends them and their shy ward, Minette, Greta sees how the craft enriches their lives—and eventually her own.

Review:

This is a short and sweet graphic novel.

In the Tea Dragon Society, they harvest tea that grows in the form of leaves on dragons. Their owners have a special bond with the dragons, allowing them to harvest the leaves. The dragons are named after various kinds of tea, such as Jasmine and Chamomile, and they grow those types of tea.

I loved the importance of friendship in this story. The members of the Tea Dragon Society have to form a special friendship with their dragons. The dragons united Hesekiel and Erik, and Greta and Minette. Greta also learns the importance of passing down knowledge to the next generations so skills, such as blacksmithing, are not lost.

I loved this story. I’m excited to read the next book in the series!

What to read next:

The Tea Dragon Festival by Katie O’Neill

Princess Princess Ever After by Katie O’Neill

Have you read The Tea Dragon Society? What did you think of it?

Review: Moth and Whisper Vol. 1

Title: Moth and Whisper Vol. 1
Author: Ted Anderson and Jen Hickman
Genre: LGBT, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Aftershock Comics
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 16, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Everyone knows that the two greatest thieves in the city are the Moth and the Whisper. Very few know that the Moth and the Whisper disappeared six months ago. And what nobody knows is that the new Moth and Whisper are actually one person pretending to be both of them. One supremely skilled but uncertain young genderfluid thief: Niki, the child of the Moth and the Whisper.

Niki has been trained by their parents in the arts of stealth and infiltration, but they’re still just a teenager, and now they’re alone, searching for their parents in a hostile cyberpunk dystopia. Corporations run the streets while crime lords like Ambrose Wolfe run the alleys-identity is a commodity and privacy is impossible. The truth about Niki’s parents and their disappearance is out there, but can Niki survive long enough to find it?

A YA cyberpunk thriller starring a genderqueer super-thief, MOTH & WHISPER is the brainchild of Ted Anderson (My Little Pony, Adventure Time) and Jen Hickman (Jem and the Holograms, The Dead), that just HAD to be told at AfterShock!

Review:

This is an amazing new graphic novel with a genderqueer main character.

I was hooked on this story right from the beginning. It started with Niki pulling off some stealth thefts by changing their identity. It was so exciting to see them change their entire look with a special mask that draws on make-up. The plot was very exciting and the book was hard to put down!

It is so important to see genderqueer characters in books so that readers can relate to the characters. Niki’s genre idenity is only a small part of their story, but it helps out when they can change their look into either a man or a woman. It made the thefts more intense when they could disappear into a crowd by changing their identity in that way.

I loved this story!

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

What to read next:

The Umbrella Academy, Vol. 1: Apocalypse Suite by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá

Have you read Moth and Whisper Vol. 1? What did you think of it?

Review: Hurricane Season

Title: Hurricane Season
Author: Nicole Melleby
Genre: Middle Grade, LGBT
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

This debut novel—about taking risks and facing danger, about love and art, and about growing up and coming out—will make its way straight into your heart.

Fig, a sixth grader, wants more than anything to see the world as her father does. The once-renowned pianist, who hasn’t composed a song in years and has unpredictable good and bad days, is something of a mystery to Fig. Though she’s a science and math nerd, she tries taking an art class just to be closer to him, to experience life the way an artist does. But then Fig’s dad shows up at school, disoriented and desperately searching for Fig. Not only has the class not brought Fig closer to understanding him, it has brought social services to their door.

Diving into books about Van Gogh to understand the madness of artists, calling on her best friend for advice, and turning to a new neighbor for support, Fig continues to try everything she can think of to understand her father, to save him from himself, and to find space in her life to discover who she is even as the walls are falling down around her.

Nicole Melleby’s Hurricane Season is a stunning novel about a girl struggling to be a kid as pressing adult concerns weigh on her. It’s also about taking risks and facing danger, about love and art, and about coming of age and coming out. And more than anything else, it is a story of the healing power of love—and the limits of that power.

Review:

This is a great middle grade novel.

This story features important life events which are not usually discussed in middle grade books. Fig is discovering her own sexuality, while her father is as well. Her father is an adult, but he is still figuring out his identity. It was challenging for Fig to learn that her dad was changing in this way.

I loved the comparison of art and life in this story. Fig studies Van Gogh for her art class, and she notices a lot of similarities between him and her father. This is a great way to introduce kids to artists like Van Gogh. She was able to learn a lot from his art, which could be applied to her life as well.

I really enjoyed this story!

Thank you Algonquin Young Readers for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

A Possibility of Whales by Karen Rivers

The Mozart Girl by Barbara Nickel

Have you read Hurricane Season? What did you think of it?

Review: Deposing Nathan

Title: Deposing Nathan
Author: Zack Smedley
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ
Publisher: Page Street Publishing
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

For sixteen years, Nate was the perfect son—the product of a no-nonsense upbringing and deep spiritual faith. Then he met Cam, who pushed him to break rules, dream, and accept himself. Conflicted, Nate began to push back. With each push, the boys became more entangled in each others’ worlds…but they also spiraled closer to their breaking points. And now all of it has fallen apart after a fistfight-turned-near-fatal-incident—one that’s left Nate with a stab wound and Cam in jail.

Now Nate is being ordered to give a statement, under oath, that will send his best friend to prison. The problem is, the real story of what happened between them isn’t as simple as anyone thinks. With all eyes on him, Nate must make his confessions about what led up to that night with Cam…and in doing so, risk tearing both of their lives apart.

Review:

This book begins at the end. Nate and Cam get into a fight right at the beginning. Cam is charged with stabbing Nate, yet it’s hard to see why when they become friends. Nate recounts their relationship as part of his deposition following the fight. Cam insists that Nate tell the whole story of what happened in their fight during his deposition, which seemed strange since he is the one who was charged.

The ending was a complete shock to me. I had no idea what would happen at the end of the deposition. However, when I look back on the story, there were hints at what would happen throughout it. My jaw dropped open when I read it. It was an amazing twist!

I found this story so compelling and hard to put down. I loved it!

Thank you Page Street Publishing for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

We Contain Multitudes by Sarah Henstra

Love and Other Curses by Michael Thomas Ford

Have you read Deposing Nathan? What did you think of it?

Review: We Contain Multitudes

Title: We Contain Multitudes
Author: Sarah Henstra
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ
Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: May 14, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universemeets I’ll Give You the Sun in an exhilarating and emotional novel about the growing relationship between two teen boys, told through the letters they write to one another.

Jonathan Hopkirk and Adam “Kurl” Kurlansky are partnered in English class, writing letters to one another in a weekly pen pal assignment. With each letter, the two begin to develop a friendship that eventually grows into love. But with homophobia, bullying, and devastating family secrets, Jonathan and Kurl struggle to overcome their conflicts and hold onto their relationship…and each other.

This rare and special novel celebrates love and life with engaging characters and stunning language, making it perfect for fans of Jandy Nelson, Nina LaCour, and David Levithan.

Review:

I loved this story! I couldn’t put it down!

This story begins with Adam and Jonathan writing letters back and forth to each other as a school assignment, but it quickly blossoms into a friendship. I think this way of developing a relationship, which was basically orchestrated by the teacher, could be realistic. Sometimes teachers can see things in students that they can’t see themselves, so they can pair up students who would work well together. I’m curious to see the teacher’s perspective on their relationship and to know if she ever read their letters.

I loved the way that the letters told the story. The boys would recount things they did together. They often had a different perspective of events, so the letters weren’t repetitive. The letters would give two sides to the same story. This demonstrated the way that two people can see the same event in different ways.

This was an incredibly moving story.

Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Have you read We Contain Multitudes? What did you think of it?

Review: Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens

Title: Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens
Author: Tanya Boteju
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Perpetually awkward Nima Kumara-Clark is bored with her insular community of Bridgeton, in love with her straight girlfriend, and trying to move past her mother’s unexpected departure. After a bewildering encounter at a local festival, Nima finds herself suddenly immersed in the drag scene on the other side of town.

Macho drag kings, magical queens, new love interests, and surprising allies propel Nima both painfully and hilariously closer to a self she never knew she could be—one that can confidently express and accept love. But she’ll have to learn to accept lost love to get there. 

Review:

This was a great story about finding your identity.

The story was a lot of fun. I enjoyed the scenes where Nami learned about drag queens and kings. I had never heard of drag kings before reading this novel. At first, Nami was unsure of the drag show, but she ended up loving it. She also befriended a king and a queen.

Some of the story was upsetting. Nami’s mother left her and her father without warning. When her reason is finally revealed, I didn’t like it. I didn’t think it was a good enough reason, because she was essentially running away from her problems. Nami was dealing with her own problems, so it wasn’t fair for her to see her mom run away like that.

Nami had some embarrassing moments in the story, including vomiting in a hot tub. I felt so sympathetic for her in those moments, because they were humiliating. However, when something embarrassing happened or she made a mistake, she always got back up and kept going.

I loved this book. It’s a great story about finding your gender identity.

What to read next:

The Summer of Jordi Perez (And The Best Burger in Los Angeles) by Amy Spalding

Dumplin’ (Dumplin’ #1) by Julie Murphy

Have you read Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens? What did you think of it?

Review: I Hate Everyone But You

Title: I Hate Everyone But You
Author: Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Source: Library
Format: Ebook
Release Date: September 5, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin’s I Hate Everyone But You is a hilarious and heartfelt debut novel about new beginnings, love and heartbreak, and ultimately the power of friendship.

Dear Best Friend,
I can already tell that I will hate everyone but you.
Sincerely, 
Ava Helmer
(that brunette who won’t leave you alone)

We’re still in the same room, you weirdo.
Stop crying.
G


So begins a series of texts and emails sent between two best friends, Ava and Gen, as they head off to their first semesters of college on opposite sides of the country. From first loves to weird roommates, heartbreak, self-discovery, coming out and mental health, the two of them document every wild and awkward moment to each other. But as each changes and grows into her new life, will their friendship be able to survive the distance?

Review:

I loved this book! It made me laugh so many times. It was a rough week, so this book made me feel a lot better.

Ava and Gen reminded me of my best friend and I. Ava is more conservative like me, while Gen is more outgoing like my friend. We definitely aren’t as funny as these two girls though!

I really liked the gender diversity in the story. Gen comes out as queer while she is at college. She makes a few friends who have a variety gender identities. Meanwhile, Ava can’t understand any of it. She made insensitive comments because she didn’t know any better. I loved how Ava represented how many people think, and Gen was able to point out the problems with her comments.

I loved this book and I can’t wait to read the next one!

What to read next:

The Summer of Jordi Perez by Amy Spalding

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Have you read I Hate Everyone But You? What did you think of it?