Book Review – Same Difference

TITLE: Same Difference
AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR: Derek Kirk Kim
FORMAT: Hardcover Graphic Novel
PUBLISHED: 2011

I came across this one at the library and I decided that since it was “Winner of the Eisner, Harvey, and Ignatz Awards” that I should at least give it a chance.  After all, the fact that there are more words in that sentence than in the title and author/illustrator of the book should mean something, right?

*cough*

So Same Difference starts with a group of friends but pretty much follows Simon and Nancy, who are dating.  Apparently Nancy’s been getting letters intended for some other girl…and responding to them.  Simon stupidly points out that they’re from the same town, and that leads the two of them on a quest to find the guy and come clean.

The story was…interesting.  There are some weird points – Simon ran into someone who had asked him out and there’s this thing about wishing he had dated her, or Nancy sort of flirting with the letter writing guy.  And there are some funny points – after they go to his house and don’t find him, they go to the store for ice cream…then hear his name paged and go sprinting across the store to look at him.

Visually, it’s well done.  The artwork is black and white, but done well.  The lettering is perfect.  (Hey, I’ve had some where the lettering was so bad I could barely read it.)  The story, though… Left me feeling settled but it didn’t wow me.

Like, I don’t feel like my time was wasted, but the story just was.  Apparently I’m missing what it was that wowed the judges for three different awards.

But, I don’t think it’s bad.  After careful consideration, and extra help from the visuals (it’s a graphic novel after all), I’ll give it a four.  Go ahead and read it, but I doubt it’ll be your favorite book.

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Book Review – Uglies: Cutters by Scott Westerfeld and Devin Grayson

Title: Uglies: Cutters

Author: Scott Westerfeld and Devin Grayson

Illustrator: Steven Cummings

Format: Paperback

Published: 2012

 

As I have stated many times before my favorite author is Scott Westerfeld, so it should not be a surprise that I would be drawn in by a graphic novel that is at least partially by him and part of the world of Uglies and Pretties that he created.  I know I wasn’t through the roof for Shay’s story the first graphic novel but again I had to read this all the same.

 

The general story of the Uglies universe is a world that is set in the distant future where people are controlled and kept at peace by being equally beautiful and not having a want in the world.  Of course the secret to keeping everyone peaceful and in control is much more than a surgery that makes people pretty but I won’t go into details so as not to ruin the story for your but the world is interesting all the same and one I immensely enjoyed when I first read it.  The main story focuses on Tally Youngblood as she is the main heroin.  She had a close friend Shay who is major contributing factor in pushing Tally to do what she does in much of the series.  This graphic novel takes on the story of Shay and her perspective on things.

 

This is the second graphic novel that focuses on Shay the first one was Shay before she became a petty and before she met Tally and how she saw things in the story of Tally that we read in Uglies.  This graphic novel picks up and tells the story of Shay and her take on things during the time that we follow Tally in Pretties.

 

In the past I did read and review the first of Shay’s story and wasn’t wowed by it but all the same I still found myself picking up the second book and honestly I wasn’t wowed by it either.  It was interesting to see how Shay saw things, but the story was weird all the same.  Instead of just telling Shay’s story there was commentary from the main villain Dr. Cable periodically in the story and there was a fantasy story that kind of worked as an allegory for the main story.  It kind of broke things up a lot and I wasn’t fond of it.  I didn’t feel that the fantasy story fit in well though I very much got what point it was trying to make.

 

Unless Shay was your absolute favorite character in the books, I would not recommend this book.  It gave me a bit of insight but otherwise the story was flat to me and I wasn’t fond of it.  Over all I’ll give this story a 2 out of 5 pages simply because it wasn’t the most atrocious thing I’ve read but honestly I found it a bit dull.

BOOK REVIEW – Angry Little Girls

ANGRY LITTLE GIRLS –
Lela Lee
YA Graphic Novel
2005

So, I was looking for other stuff and I came across this book and I had to at least look at it. The book is dedicated to the author’s grandmother, and the little drawing of her grandmother was so cute that I had to check it out and look at it.

The book centers around five angry little girls. They are (in order of appearance):
Kim, the angry little Asian girl
Deborah, the disenchanted princess
Maria, the crazy little Latina
Xyla, the gloomy girl
Wanda, the fresh little soul sistah

The stories are cute. Teeter-Tottering and saying “You Suck” back and forth. Being unhappy with one’s own looks. Everything being gloomy. Arguments with a mother. Etc.

It’s a short book. And it’s definitely full of grump and snark.
So a rating. I think it’s cute. But I read it in like 20 minutes and I have no need to read it again. So if you want to give it as a gift to somebody who will laugh at it, go ahead. But I don’t know that this is a book that needs to be in everyone’s collection. So read it at the library or while sitting in the stacks at a used bookstore, but don’t buy it. 4/5.

Book Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

TITLE: Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Avengers

AUTHOR: Brian Michael Bendis
ILLUSTRATORS: Steve McNiven, Sara Pichelli, etc
FORMAT: Graphic Novel/Comic Collection
PUBLISHED: 2014

This collection covers Guardians of the Galaxy 1-3 and 0.1, and also Guardians of the Galaxy: Tomorrow’s Avengers #1, and has bonus artwork in the back as well.

So, the story starts with Star-Lord’s origin story, where we meet his mother and find out who his father is, etc.  Then we have Star-Lord in space with the rest of the Guardians.  Earth is in trouble, they have to protect it, etc.  Oh, and Iron Man shows up.

The comic is a little different from the movie – for starters, the origin story is different, because Cancer makes a better movie apparently.  And I can totally see where the idea for the movie came from in this comic, although the comic is a little different.

But that’s not a bad thing.

Honestly, if they had been more true to these comics, I think the movie would have been better.  Iron Man was an interesting addition, and I kind of liked it.

I’ll give this one a 4/5.

Book Review – Hawkeye: My life as a weapon

TITLE: Hawkeye: My life as a weapon
AUTHOR: Matt Fraction
ILLUSTRATOR: David Aja, Javier Pulido, Alan Davis
FORMAT: Paperback/Graphic Novel
PUBLISHED: 2013

[NOTE:  I’m aware Misheal reviewed this at the tail end of 2014.  I put publishing my review off for a few months because of that.]

Hawkeye is my favorite Avenger, so when I found the graphic novel of this at the library, I was really excited.  I had waited the comics and was just never able to pick them up.   This volume takes Hawkeye 1-5 and Young Avengers Presents #6 and puts them in one issue.

Comic Hawkeye is a lot different than Screen Hawkeye, IMO.  I think he feels a little grittier, a little more raw, and there’s a whole back story there that you can tell is developed but you can’t quite see it yet.  Movie Hawkeye just doesn’t play that way.  But I think I like Comic Hawkeye more.  He has that Cowboy Bebop feel to him.

I liked the artwork (except that Clint was blond.  Ugh.).

But here’s my issue.  The book also includes Kate Bishop, and I feel like the book expected that I already knew who she was and what was going on here.  So when we got to the interaction between the two, I could have really done with a page of explanation.  I mean, the book is Hawkeye 1-5, so they should assume that anyone reading this doesn’t know anything about these characters.  And the Young Avengers thing at the end sort of felt like an add-on (and they don’t say on the cover of this volume that you should read anything else) so a reader would assume that it would stand alone.

In the end, I liked it.  I’d give it a 4/5, and I’m going to go look for the next one.

Book Review – Tomboy

TITLE: Tomboy: A graphic memoir

AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR: Liz Prince

FORMAT: Graphic Novel

PUBLISHED: 2014

 readingchallengesmall

Tomboy is a memoir about a girl who is a Tomboy in every sense of the word.  It talks about how hard it was to grow up as a Tomboy.

…so, I don’t know what to say about this.  A lot of my complaints are with the story itself, and since this is a memoir, it means a lot of my issues are with Liz.  I wasn’t a girly-girl.  I’m quite happy in pants and, since my sisters are both married off, probably don’t need to be in a dress again for years.  So maybe it’s that I’m surprised she had so many issues with being a Tomboy.  I don’t remember anyone ever asking me why I wasn’t wearing a dress.  I don’t remember anyone saying anything to me about my choice of activities – I played many a game of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on the playground (although I was always relegated to being April O’Neal because no other girls played) – nor do I remember anyone saying anything to anyone I knew about whether or not their hair was “too short” to “be a girl”.

So I’m not sure if this is a difference of experience or a difference of perception.  But there was definitely a difference there. I will say I’m not nearly as Tomboy as the author, though, so there is that.

But with that aside, just taking the story at face value, it was decent enough.  I don’t think that you gain any huge insight into the world by reading it, but it’s a graphic novel, which means you can read it in just a couple hours.

The illustrations are fine.  A huge issue I have was with the lettering, though.  It wasn’t standard comic book writing font, and in a lot of places was really sloppy.  I felt like Liz just threw it together and rushed through that part which, well, is kind of the most important part.

I had a few spots where I was trying harder to translate the handwriting than I was to follow the story, and that’s not okay.

I’ll give the book overall a 3/5.  If you happen across it, go ahead and read it, but don’t go out of your way to look for it.

 readingchallengesmall

Book 7/52.

This satisfies the MEMOIR
portion of the challenge.

Book Review – Peanut

TITLE: Peanut
AUTHOR/ARTIST: Ayun Halliday & Paul Hoppe
FORMAT: Graphic Novel
PUBLISHED: 2013

readingchallengesmall

Back to my reading challenge, I know I could count this for graphic novel, but I totally grabbed it because of the cover – it’s peacock blue with a single still-in-the-shell peanut on the front cover.  Let’s just say it piqued my interest.

So in Peanut, the main character is a girl about to switch high schools.  She’s an only child of a single woman and not looking forward to making friends again for the fifteenth (or whatever) time.  So she decides to do something stupid.  She fakes a peanut allergy.

Now, when I picked it up, I glanced briefly and pretty much only saw “girl with peanut allergy”, which means that when I read it, I was surprised that it was really “girl with FAKE peanut allergy,” but in a way, that kind of made it better.  I mean, when they’re trying to figure out what the EE-PINE-FRINE (“Isn’t that for asthma?” her mother asks…) is, the info we’re getting about it is because the character has no clue that she’ll need an Epi-Pen for her “peanut allergy” – not because a character is being overly preachy with us.

The minor characters are a hodgepodge of what you’d expect.  Her homeroom teacher-slash-algebra teacher is sort of out there, the nurse is pleasant enough, there’s a clique of preppy/mean girls, and there’s a boy that she’s really interested in, a luddite named Zoo.  (He calls her Peanut.)  And they all play their roles swimmingly.

There are a couple issues I had with the story – her old best friend is the catalyst of the whole thing, but never talks to her again after she moves, so it’s sort of a wasted character setup.  The teacher that is crazy out there is really out there, but he’s an important catalyst, and simmering him down would make it boring, so just get used to him.

But to balance that out, the story is paced really well, the illustrations are simple but good, and I really enjoyed reading it.  It’s a quick read, too.  I think I read it in a couple hours.

In the end, I’ll give it a 4/5.  It’s worth a read.

readingchallengesmall

Book 3 of 52.

This book satisfies the
“Pick a book based on its cover” requirement.

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