Book Review: Lumberjanes, Volume 9 by Shannon Watters

Book: Lumberjanes, Volume 9: On A Roll by Shannon Watters

Published July 2018 by BOOM!Box|112 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the paperback from the library

Series: Lumberjanes, Volume 9

Genre: YA Graphic Novel

When the Yetis are kicked out of their treehouse, it’s up to the Roanokes to win their home back from the Sasquatches that took it over by beating them at roller derby.

You just gotta learn to roll with the punches! When the yetis are kicked out of their humble treehouse abode, it’s up to Jo, April, Mal, Molly and Ripley to get them back where they belong amongst the trees…and not leeching the camp’s power and making all the ice cream melt. To get the sasquatches to clear out, though, the Roanoke girls will have to challenge them to a roller derby match!

This New York Times bestseller and multiple Eisner-Award and GLAAD-award winning series is written by Shannon Watters and Kat Leyh (Super Cakes) and illustrated by Carolyn Nowak.

I’ve really enjoyed the Lumberjanes so far, and this volume is no exception!  I know I’ve said this before, and I’ll probably say this in every review for the Lumberjanes, but I love seeing all of the hijinks and shenanigans these girls get into.

In this book, our campers have a roller derby match with some sasquatches.  It’s entertaining, and things get weird- because how else is it going to go?  It all works out for everyone, especially the Yeti’s and sasquatches.  The story is fun, and I liked the idea that Rosie assumes Jen will tell her if something weird is going on…and Jen doesn’t tell her. I liked that Jen just went with it, because it’s a relatively normal thing for her campers to do.  There’s nothing normal about a roller derby match with Sasquatch, but in comparison to everything else that’s happen, this is probably one of the more normal things.

Not that it goes normally, because it doesn’t.  Rosie does find out eventually (by a camper going by, not surprisingly) but Rosie didn’t have to jump in and save the day like I thought she would.  There is a lot of concern because where it happened, but all in all, it’s a pretty typical day at camp.

The artwork is pretty cool, but I still really miss the description of the badges that used to be before each chapter.  Now, we only get them at the end, right before all of the artwork.  I miss seeing it, and I’m not sure why that changed.  I know Shannon Watters is credited instead of Noelle Stevenson, so I’m wondering if it was her idea, and now it’s not there, because she’s not really working on it, or if it was too much trying to come up with a different badge and tying it into each chapter, or what’s going on.  It’s too bad, because I really liked it, but at least we’re getting one badge.

4 stars.  I really liked it, of course, and I really liked the story.  I think it’s one of my favorites in the series.

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Book Review: Lumberjanes, Vol 7: A Bird’s Eye View by Shannon Watters and Lumberjanes, Vol 8: Stone Cold by Shannon Watters

Book: Lumberjanes, Vol 7: A Bird’s Eye View by Shannon Watters, Kat Leyh, Noelle Stevenson (Creator), Grace Ellis (Creator), Carey Pietsch (Illustrator), Ayme Sotuyo (Illustrations), Maarta Laiho (Colorist), Brooke Allen (Creator)

Where I Got It: I borrowed the paperback from the library

Series: Lumberjanes Collected Edition #7

Genre: YA Graphic Novel

All Lumberjanes are on deck when the High Council comes to camp for inspection!

The High Council is coming to camp and counselor Jen is determined to make everything perfect, even though a storm is brewing and kittens from the boys’ camp are manifesting magical powers. It’s every Lumberjane on deck as the girls do their best to prep the grounds for inspection . . . but there are some storms no one can prepare for.

This New York Times bestseller and multiple Eisner Award-winning series is a story of friendship, hardcore lady-types, and kicking a lot of butt. Don’t miss out on the continued adventures of the Lumberjanes written by Shannon Watters and Kat Leyh (Super Cakes) with stories illustrated by Carey Pietsch (Adventure Time: Marceline Gone Adrift) and newcomer Ayme Sotuyo.

Collects issues #25-28.

Volume 7 is cool because 1- crazy kittens and 2- a visit from the Lumberjanes Grand Lodge.  They’re pretty cool, and while we might not see them again, I hope we do.

I mean, these ladies are clearly friends, and have been for a long time.  I can totally see our campers becoming these ladies when they’re older.  I hope that’s their future, because they’re pretty cool, and they have this great friendship.  I love that they have to go rescue the grand lodge, and that Jen wants them to pretend like they’re actually good, and that nothing weird happens.  I feel like the Grand Lodge would totally be okay with the weird goings on.

Can I talk about the magic kittens?  Because THEY’RE KITTENS AND THEY’RE MAGIC!!!!  Sorry, magic kittens are pretty cool.  Especially magic kittens at camp.  They’re pretty cool, and I wouldn’t expect anything else.  I can’t wait to see what happens next, considering how this one ends.  I’m pretty sure that we’ll see that in the next volume, and I’m curious to see where it goes.  It was definitely unexpected, which I think describes Lumberjanes so well.  It’s a good and fun unexpected, though, which makes this series fun.

4 stars.  MAGIC KITTENS!!!  Clearly, I loved the magic kittens, but this has been a fun series to read so far.  I can’t believe I’m almost all caught up, because it means I have to wait for each one to come out.

Book: Lumberjanes, Vol 8: Stone Cold by Shannon Watters

Published February 2018 by BOOM!Box|112 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the paperback from the library

Series: Lumberjanes Collected Editions #8

Genre: YA Graphic Novel

Five best friends at summer camp take friendship to the max when they team up to defeat the strange forces lurking within the surrounding forest.

Excited to have Barney starting their first week at the camp, the Roanokes run over to the Zodiac cabin, only to find everyone turned to stone! Between strange shadows and Diane being back, it looks like April, Jo, Mal, Molly, and Ripley are going to have their hands full trying to find a cure for their friends . . . as long as they don’t look the wrong thing in the eye first.

This New York Times bestseller and multiple Eisner Award-winning series is a story of friendship, hardcore lady-types, and kicking a lot of butt. Don’t miss out on the continued adventures of the Lumberjanes written by Shannon Watters and Kat Leyh (Super Cakes) with stories illustrated by Carey Pietsch (Adventure Time: Marceline Gone Adrift).

Here’s the thing.  I’m all caught up on Lumberjanes, at least what’s been collected into the larger volumes.  But…as much as I’m enjoying Lumberjanes, and as much as I really like Lumberjanes, I’m starting to think that reading all of them so quickly, and so close together, worked against it a little bit.  It’s definitely gotten harder to review each volume, to the point where I’m not really sure what to say.

I did like seeing what was going on with Diane, and how the Roanoke cabin tried to get the Zodiac cabin back.  I love how they stuck together to help out a neighboring cabin, and how important this little camping community is to all of the girls.  I liked seeing them work together, and seeing how close all of the girls are has been one of my favorite things about the Lumberjanes.

One thing I do miss seeing is the description of the different badges before each chapter.  We saw it in some of the earlier volumes, where a different badge was featured, and it always seemed to relate to what was going on in that particular chapter.  Now that I think about, we didn’t see it in Volume 7 either.

I know Noelle Stevenson has only been listed as a creator on the last 2 or 3 volumes, and I’m wondering if maybe she was the main one behind it, and if she’s not as involved in the series now as she was before.  I liked it, and I’m a little sad to see it go, but I’m hoping it comes back.

I also liked all of the Greek mythology in this one, and I’m glad that we learn more about Diane and what was going on with her.  I hope she sticks around, because she’s pretty cool.  And I like how friendship is really important in this series.  I really feel like it doesn’t come up as strongly or frequently as it does in this series.

4 stars.  I really liked Volume 8, but I miss seeing all of the different badges the girls can earn while they’re at camp.

Book Review: Lumberjanes, Vol 5: Band Together by Noelle Stevenson And Lumberjanes, Vol 6: Sink Or Swim by Shannon Watters

Book: Lumberjanes, Vol 5: Band Together by Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters, Carolyn Nowak (Illustrator), Grace Ellis, Brooke A Allen (Illustrator)

Published December 2016 by BOOM!Box|112 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the paperback from the library

Series: Lumbejanes Collected Edition #5

Genre: YA Graphic Novel

What gives, two-legs?!

It’s a battle of the bands… with mermaids! April takes it upon herself to restore a friendship that has fallen apart, but will she be in over her head as her above water friendships take a hit? When friendships are challenged, can the Lumberjanes save the day? Don’t miss out on this exciting collection!

This New York Times bestseller and multiple Eisner Award-winning series written by Noelle Stevenson (Nimona, Runaways), Shannon Watters, and Kat Leyh and illustrated by the tremendously talented Brooke Allen (Home for Mr. Easter) and Carolyn Nowak (Rungs).

I can’t believe I’ve read 5 volumes of the Lumberjanes already!  Volume 5 is my favorite one, I think.  For some reason, I really liked the mermaid battle of the bands, and while I liked seeing the start of camp, it felt out of place.  Like, why wait until volume 5 to show the arrival at camp?  That part, I didn’t particularly like, and it made the timeline a little off.

Still, it was nice to see how they became friends, and maybe we’ll see more of it in the future.  I like that friendship is important to the girls, and while I want to see more of how they became friends, I also am not sure about the flashbacks.  Maybe I’ll feel differently if they come up in the future.  I also think I tend to take their friendships as presented- they’ve always been friends, as far as I’m concerned, but I have mixed feelings about actually seeing it.  Maybe I just wasn’t ready or in the mood for it.  Or maybe it was just unexpected.

Basically, I liked it but it wasn’t something I loved.  It was nice, though.

And you can’t go wrong with mermaids.  I hope we see more of the lake and what’s living in it.  It can’t be just mermaids, and I hope we see more of whatever else is living in the lake.  Considering everything else that’s living near the camp, it wouldn’t be a surprise if there were other creatures in that lake.

4 stars.  I did like (but didn’t love) the flashback of seeing the girls meet each other.  I also loved the mermaid battle of the bands.  It was fun to read!

Book: Lumberjanes, Vol 6: Sink Or Swim by Shannon Watters, Noelle Stevenson (Creator), Kat Leyh, Grace Ellis (Creator), Carey Pietsch (Illustrations), Maarta Laiho (Colorist), Brooke A Allen (Creator)

Published April 2017 by BOOM!Box|112 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the paperback from the library

Series: Lumberjanes Collected Edition #6

Genre: YA Graphic Novel

Knot on your life!

All is fair in love and badges! Or so April, Jo, Mal, Molly, and Ripley thought until they met the mysterious counselor, Seafarin’ Karen. When the Lumberjanes decide it’s time to learn more about the theatrical yet intriguing counselor, things take a turn for the strange. Between a sudden storm hitting the camp, shapeshifters, and strange portals,
this is one badge that the Lumberjanes must go above and beyond for.

This New York Times bestseller and multiple Eisner Award-winning series is written by Shannon Watters and Kat Leyh(Super Cakes) and illustrated by Carey Pietsch (Adventure Time: Marceline Gone Adrift).

Collects issues 21-24.

I liked Seafarin’ Karen!  You can’t go wrong with portals and shapeshifters and mysterious counselors.  Seafarin’ Karen is cool, and while I have the feeling that she’s made her one and only appearance, I hope we see her again someday.

The pirate ship was cool, and pirates are pretty awesome.  I’m just waiting for ninjas to show up.  I’m curious to see what else we’ll see.  Anyway, I liked their adventures at sea.  It’s odd, though, because I don’t have much to say about this volume.  It’s fun, and there are a lot of wacky adventures, which is what I love about this series.  At this point, I just don’t have a lot to say about this one.  Maybe I’ll have more to say about the following books.

4 stars.  I really liked it and it’s fun.  Seafarin’ Kare and the selkies are pretty cool.

Book Review: Lumberjanes Vol 3: A Terrible Plan, and Lumberjanes Vol 4: Out Of Time by Noelle Stevenson

Book: Lumberjanes, Vol 3: A Terrible Plan by Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters, Carolyn Nowak (Illustrator), Maarta Laiho (Colorist), Aubrey Aiesa (Letterer), Brittney Williams (Illustrator), Aimee Fleck (Illustrator), Faith Erin Hicks (Author/Illustrator), Rebecca Tobin (Illustrator), Felicia Choo (Illustrator), T. Zysk (Illustrator)

Published April 2016 by BOOM!Box|112 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Lumberjanes Collected Editions #3

Genre: YA Graphic Novel

IF YOU GOT IT, HAUNT IT!

Trying to take advantage of the first quiet day at camp in a while, Mal and Molly’s date takes a bizarre turn with the appearance of the Bear Woman! Back at camp, Jo, April, and Ripley must stay on their toes as they try and earn every badge possible, which ends up being a lot harder than any of them ever planned.

This New York Times bestselling series continues with Lumberjanes #9, “If You Got It, Haunt It Badge;” #10, “Abscence Make the Heart Grow Fondant Badge;” #11, “Go Ball-istic Badge;” and #12, “Oldie but Goodie Badge.”

The more I read Lumberjanes, the more I like it!  Each girl has their own personality, and you can really see that in the ghost stories they choose to tell.  It wouldn’t be summer camp without ghost stories told around the camp fire!

You also see the girls go off in different directions for a “quiet” day at camp.  No day is quiet with these girls around, and two of our wayward campers have this epic adventure, while the rest of them try to earn badges- unsuccessfully, of course.  I almost forgot about the whole badge aspect of the Lumberjanes, and that they’re actually supposed to be earning badges.  You’d think their adventures would result in earning badges, and learning new skills but I guess it’s hard when the supernatural and weird takes over.

Still, I’d be both surprised and disappointed if they had a normal day at camp.  Even the typical day of activities becomes interesting and I like not knowing what’s going to happen, and what adventures are in store for our Lumberjanes.

We see more of the Bear Woman, and I have the feeling she’s not going anywhere.  I hope we see more of her, and get more of her story.  She seems pretty interesting.

I’m not really sure what else to say about the Lumberjanes.  I liked this one.

4 stars.  I really liked it, especially the ghost stories and how different they were.  I’ll definitely keep reading.

Book: Lumberjanes, Vol 4 by Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis (Co-Creator), Maarta Laiho (Colorist), Aubrey Aiese (Letterer), Brooke A Allen (Illustrator)

Published July 2016 by BOOM!Box|112 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the paperback from the library

Series: Lumberjanes Collected Edition #4

Genre: YA Graphic Novel

The mystery of history!

Jen just wants a normal lesson with her cabin, teaching Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley the basic survival skills needed without any supernatural intervention. But when a blizzard hits camp, Jen finds herself separated from the girls and in more trouble than ever… until a mysterious taxidermist swoops in to save the day. Who is she and what is her relationship to Rosie? Join Jen as she finds a way back to her girls, and a way to save the day!

This New York Times Bestseller and Eisner Award-Nominated series is written by Noelle Stevenson (Nimona, ADVENTURE TIME™), and Lumberjanes co-creator Shannon Watters, and illustrated by Brooke Allen (A Home For Mr. Easter).  

The Lumberjanes continues with Volume 4, and it seems pretty standard that while I don’t love it, I still really like it.  It’s fun, of course, and like with every other volume I’ve read, there are some really fun adventures!

It seems like their camp has had quite the history, and I liked seeing one of the campers who’s living in the woods.  It makes me hope that we see more history of the camp, because I have the feeling the weirdness of the forest and the camp isn’t limited to this group of campers.

I really like Jen, and she just wants a normal day at camp, where she teaches the girls survival skills without something weird happening.

So something weird happens…what else but a blizzard is going to happen?  And of course, Jen gets separated from the campers, where she comes across an old camper who just happens to know Rosie and the Bear Woman, and that is where we get some camp history.  I liked it because it put the camp in perspective, and you get the sense that things have really changed.

It makes me wonder what else has happened at the camp, and what else is in the woods.  It’s a strange area, but maybe that’s the whole point.  Maybe there is a reason this camp is located in this place.  Or maybe not but weird things just have a tendency to happen.  Either way, it makes it fun, because I like seeing all of the craziness at this camp.

4 stars.  I really liked it, and I feel like with each volume, we’re learning more about the camp and the campers!

Book Review: Lumberjanes, Vol 1: Beware The Kitten Holy And Vol 2: Friendship To The Max by Noelle Stevenson

Book: Lumberjanes, Vol 1: Beware The Kitten Holy, by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke A Allen (Illustrator), Shannon Watters, Kat Leyh, Brooke Allen (Illustrator), Carolyn Nowak (Illustrator), Various (Illustrator), Carey Pietsch (Illustrator)

Published April 2015 by BOOM!Box|128 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the paperback from the library

Series: Lumberjanes Collected Editions #1

Genre: YA Fiction/Graphic Novel

FRIENDSHIP TO THE MAX!

At Miss Qiunzilla Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s camp for hard-core lady-types, things are not what they seem. Three-eyed foxes. Secret caves. Anagrams. Luckily, Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley are five rad, butt-kicking best pals determined to have an awesome summer together… And they’re not gonna let a magical quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way! The mystery keeps getting bigger, and it all begins here. 

Collects Lumberjanes No. 1-4.

I feel like I’ve heard a lot about Lumberjanes, and I really wanted something that wouldn’t take forever to read, so it seemed like time to pick it up.  I’m glad I finally did, because it’s really cute!  I know I’m late to the Lumberjanes bandwagon, and if you haven’t picked it up, you really should!

So, I wasn’t sure if I’d like it or not, so I only requested the first one from the library.  I ended up liking it so much that I requested the rest of the series from the library.  I kind of wish I had done that in the first place, because right now, I’m wishing I could just read all of the volumes that are out, instead of having to wait to read it.

I didn’t love it, and I think it’s because it seemed so short!  I don’t normally go for graphic novels (I know I’ve read the March series and a couple of the Mouse Guard ones, but that’s about it), and while I really liked the story, the characters and the illustrations, I also felt like I didn’t have enough time to really get into it.  It didn’t seem like enough story, but it does seem like graphic novels are pretty short, so maybe I’m just not that used to it.  I’m much more used to novels, so it’s probably just me, and not actually the book.

I’m torn, because on the one hand, I want to read each one and let it sink in before starting the next one.  But at the same time, I feel like I’ll like it a lot better if I just binge-read them- maybe that will make it easier to get into.

I liked the setting- it’s summer camp for a Girl Scout type organization, and I like that each chapter (or section, whatever you want to call it) has a little introduction about different badges and that at the end of each chapter, you get photographs of the different adventures these girls have.  It definitely has a summer camp feel to it, and I can’t wait to see what hijinks ensue for this group of girls.

I liked the artwork as well.  I liked the colors, and it’s very summer camp.  Not surprising, with that being the setting- there’s a lot of greens and blues and browns, and it all comes together very nicely.

It’s definitely great for middle grade and up, but I think everyone would like it.  Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, it had more of a comic book feel to it instead of a graphic novel, but since I’ve never picked up a comic, I think I just automatically jumped to graphic novel.

I loved the friendships the girls had with each other, and it’s nice seeing them be friends and getting along.  Not that we don’t see it in middle grade and YA, because we do.  There’s just something nice about friendships, where one of them doesn’t leave the others behind for the more popular crowd.  And it’s nice to see a group of friends, instead of a character with, like, one friend.  Maybe it’s just on my mind because I’ve read a few books recently where I’ve encountered a friend making friends with someone in the more popular clique, or books where someone’s trying to figure out what happened to their only friend, who happens to be missing.

Anyway, I didn’t love it, but I did really like it!  I don’t know if I’ll get the strong feelings for this series that everyone else seems to have, but maybe I just need a little more time than everyone else.

4 stars.  I really liked Lumberjanes, and I loved the friendships the campers have with each other.  I just think I need a little more time with Lumberjanes to really get into it.

Book: Lumberjanes, Vol 2: Friendship To The Max by Noelle Stevenson (Writer, Creator), Grace Ellis (Writer, Creator), Shannon Watters (Creator), Maarto Laiho (Colorist), Brooke A Allen (Illustrator)

Published October 2015 by BOOM!Box|126 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the paperback from the library

Series: Lumberjanes Collected Editions #2

Genre: YA Graphic Novel

What a mystery!

Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley are not your average campers and Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady-Types is not your average summer camp. Between the river monsters, magic, and the art of friendship bracelets, this summer is only just beginning. Join the Lumberjanes as they take on raptors and a sibling rivalry that only myths are made of.

This New York Times bestseller and Eisner Award-nominated series is written by awesome all-star Noelle Stevenson and brilliant newcomer Grace Ellis, and illustrated by the tremendously talented Brooke Allen.

Lumberjanes, Vol. 2: Friendship to the Max includes issues 5-8 and the first fourteen pages of Giant Days, Vol. 1 by John Allison.

I really liked The Lumberjanes so far!  It’s really cute, and I love the friendships between all of the girls.  There are a lot of hijinks and shenanigans, and it was a fun volume to read.

I did enjoy it more than the first volume, and I think it’s because I was more into the story and the characters.  Some characters, we see more than others, and while I’m not sure who is who, this group of campers definitely seem to find trouble.  I liked seeing Jen, and she has her hands full with this group.  I am getting used to the characters, and they all have their own personalities.  I’m sure I’ll get to know them more in the volumes to come.

I am glad we learn what was going on the first volume.  The craziness makes a lot more sense now than it did in the first volume, and I’m glad it was explained.  Considering how things seem to go for these campers, it’s not surprising that weird and crazy seems to follow them.  Things are calm and peaceful one minute, and the next…something bizarre happens.  It makes it fun, because you never know what’s going to happen next, but at the same time, the story doesn’t exactly seem…coherent.  It works, though, and I’m starting to like how calm things are one minute before they veer off into something weird.

I also like that each chapter is a different badge.  It does connect, and it makes it seem more Girl Scout-type summer camp.  I love the polaroid pictures at the end of each chapter, and those have a scrapbook feel to them.  Overall, I love that’s a field guide sort of format, and sometimes, it seems like each adventure the girls have is a different chapter in the field guide.

The campers are such good friends, and I really like that about Lumberjanes.  Things aren’t always perfect, but they are there for each other, and they know they can rely on the other girls to help them out.  It’s weird how little you see awesome friendships in YA (at least in my experience, but maybe it’s because I tend to gravitate towards things with at least a little romance in them), but it’s fun to see friends having adventures and good times.

The setting is perfect for all the weird things that happen, and there are a lot of possibilities.  It’ll be fun to see what else these campers have to deal with.

4 stars.  I didn’t love it, but I still really enjoyed Lumberjanes, Vol 2  I think it’ll keep getting better as it goes on.

Book Review: American-Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

Book: American-Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

Published December 2008 by Square Fish|233 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the paperback from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Graphic Novel

 

Jin Wang starts at a new school where he’s the only Chinese-American student. When a boy from Taiwan joins his class, Jin doesn’t want to be associated with an FOB like him. Jin just wants to be an all-American boy, because he’s in love with an all-American girl. Danny is an all-American boy: great at basketball, popular with the girls. But his obnoxious Chinese cousin Chin-Kee’s annual visit is such a disaster that it ruins Danny’s reputation at school, leaving him with no choice but to transfer somewhere he can start all over again. The Monkey King has lived for thousands of years and mastered the arts of kung fu and the heavenly disciplines. He’s ready to join the ranks of the immortal gods in heaven. But there’s no place in heaven for a monkey. Each of these characters cannot help himself alone, but how can they possibly help each other? They’re going to have to find a way—if they want fix the disasters their lives have become.

I really liked American Born Chinese!  After reading his Boxers And Saints series, I knew I wanted to read this book, since I’ve heard a lot of really good things about it.

We see three different stories in this graphic novel- Jin, Danny, and The Monkey King.  I really liked The Monkey King’s story, and I also really liked Jin’s.  I felt so bad for Jin when we first meet him in American Born Chinese, and how his classmates and teachers made assumptions about him.  I also loved the story of The Monkey King, and I really want to know more about that story, because I really liked it.

Danny’s story was my least favorite of the three.  I still liked it, but…I’m not sure what it is about his story, but it just didn’t appeal to me the way the others did.  I wasn’t sure how Danny fit into the book at first, because he seemed really entitled and I wasn’t sure why his story was included for most of the book.  It did become clear at the end, and I honestly didn’t see it coming.  Now that I think about it, I might re-read it, because knowing how all three stories connect would definitely help me see Danny’s story in a completely different way.

One of my favorite things was how it all tied together, and I really liked how the book was about liking yourself and being true to yourself, no matter what.  And I loved how well-plotted the book had to be, because everything was so detailed and thought out so well for everything to work together so well.  I can’t imagine American Born Chinese being told in any other format, and I think, if it were told more traditionally (i.e., a novel) it would lose something. Somehow, it works beautifully as a graphic novel.  I think the illustrations are what really bring the book to life.

4 stars.  Unfortunately, my initial dislike of Danny’s story is what is lowering my rating of the book.  Even though his story made more sense at the end of the book, it didn’t work for me at the beginning.  Still, American Born Chinese is a great read because it’s a really good starting point for talking about a lot of different issues.

Book Review Round-Up: Saints And Dream Chaser

I’ve read quite a few books lately, and thought I’d do several short reviews of some of them!

Saints CoverBook #1: Saints by Gene Luen Yang

Published September 2013 by First Second|170 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the paperback from the library

Series: Boxers & Saints #2

Genre: YA Graphic Novel/Historical Fiction

What It’s About: China, 1898. An unwanted and unwelcome fourth daughter, Four-Girl isn’t even given a proper name by her family when she’s born. She finds friendship–and a name, Vibiana–in the most unlikely of places: Christianity.

But China is a dangerous place for Christians. The Boxer Rebellion is in full swing, and bands of young men roam the countryside, murdering Westerners and Chinese Christians alike. Torn between her nation and her Christian friends, Vibiana will have to decide where her true loyalties lie…and whether she is willing to die for her faith.

What I Thought: This is another one I’m not sure about.  I like the idea of history being told in the form of a graphic novel, because it’s definitely different, and it’s an interesting way to see what actually happened.

However, I was sort of confused about what was going on.  The Boxer Rebellion sounds really familiar, but I wasn’t quite sure what it was.  It wasn’t until after I read the book that I realized it was the 2nd book in a series.  I think you can still understand what’s going on, and I don’t know that Boxers, the first one, will necessarily explain the events of the 2nd, but for now, I kind of wish that I had read it in order.

I did like Four-Girl, and I felt really bad for her, having no name.  I did like that she found friendship and a name in a very unlikely place, and that she realized she had a purpose in life.

My Rating: 3 stars.  I like the idea of history being told in a graphic novel, but I also wish I had read Boxers first, because I did feel a little confused about what was going on.

Dream Chaser CoverBook #2: Dream Chaser by Angie Stanton

Self-Published by Angie Stanton in December 2011|323 pages

Where I Got It: A copy of the paperback was given to me

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

What It’s About: Willow Thomas has a bad habit of running away from things that scare her. And most recently, she quit her high school cheerleading squad after a terrifying fall. With time on her hands, she auditions for a musical production directed by a Broadway choreographer. Just as things are looking up, Willow discovers she will be performing opposite Eli McAvoy, the best friend she abandoned three years before. To make matters worse, the kids in the musical hate her, her singing sucks, and her dog is sick. Eli has grown up during their years apart and now possesses confidence and good looks, as well as a giant chip on his shoulder. He is in no hurry to play nice with Willow, but their entwined roles in the musical lead to entwined bodies in the backseat of his car. Just when Willow finally has her life under control, another surprise is delivered in the form of her greatest challenge yet. Will she run or finally stand and face her fears? And will Eli be there to help or turn his back on her for good?

What I Thought: Dream Chaser was really cute!  I needed some cute and fluffy and light, and this book was definitely what I was looking for.  I really liked Willow, and I don’t blame her for being scared after the cheerleading accident- I would be too, if I were her.  I felt like her best friend was really shallow, and while I get that she wanted Willow to at least think about going back to cheerleading, I also thought she could have been more understanding of what happened to Willow.

Willow does run away/quit things when she gets scared, and I think that made her really easy to relate to.  I like that she does face her fears in the end, and I think she grows a little bit throughout the book, because she finally realizes the consequences of not facing her fears.  I find her choice between dance and cheer interesting, and it seems like a lot of it had to do with fear and losing people, but I wonder if maybe there was something else too.  Eli and Willow are great together, and I wish there was a sequel, because I really want to know what lies ahead for both of them.

My Rating: 4 stars.  It’s cute and sweet, and I loved that it was about dance and theater…and why do I not read more books about the performing arts?  I always end up really liking them!  It was predictable, but I didn’t care, because I really liked Willow and seeing her change.