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Tag Archives: genre: graphic novel

9781606998106_41d21Displacement by Lucy Knisley
Release Date: February 24, 2015
Publisher: Fantagraphics Books
Source: Edelweiss
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

In the latest volume of her graphic travelogue series, New York Times-best selling cartoonist Lucy Knisley must care for her grandparents on a cruise.

In her graphic memoirs, New York Times-best selling cartoonist Lucy Knisley paints a warts-and-all portrait of contemporary, twentysomething womanhood, like writer Lena Dunham (Girls). In the next installment of her graphic travelogue series, Displacement, Knisley volunteers to watch over her ailing grandparents on a cruise. (The book’s watercolors evoke the ocean that surrounds them.) In a book that is part graphic memoir, part travelogue, and part family history, Knisley not only tries to connect with her grandparents, but to reconcile their younger and older selves. She is aided in her quest by her grandfather’s WWII memoir, which is excerpted. Readers will identify with Knisley’s frustration, her fears, her compassion, and her attempts to come to terms with mortality, as she copes with the stress of travel complicated by her grandparents’ frailty.– Goodreads

Review:

I am quite a fan of Lucy Knisley who I picked up last summer during my graphic novel period (see review: here.) When I saw that there were ARCS of her new book Displacement I got quite excited. Displacement did not disappoint and made my heart hurt in ways I did not know was possible. Displacement is the story of Knisley who decides to watch her grandparents as they take a cruise. What Knisley doesn’t expect, and what I didn’t expect, was the feelings that Knisley was going to face throughout the novel.

The emotions Knisley faces rage from frustration, to fear, compassion, stress, and the fact that her grandparents are on9781606998106_IL_02_9d9fc the verge of death. Knisley didn’t really think about that fact that her grandparents are not the grandparents she remembers. I’m lucky, my grandmother, who is still alive, is still the grandmother I remember from my childhood. Lucy is not that lucky. These grandparents are different, they’re more exhausting and her ten day cruise seems like Gilligan’s Island, the tour that never ends.

What she doesn’t expect though is to become closer to her grandparents, even if they won’t remember it, she will. She also learns that her grandparents shaped her family dynamics more than she ever knew. She’s the favorite grandchild because she got her undergrad degree and education was very important in the family. Her father tells her he loves her all the time, because his parents rarely said it.

Displacement is constantly full of heartbreak because I spent almost the entire book wanting to hug Lucy, not only because of her story, but also the memoir her grandfather wrote about World War II that she intertwined throughout her own story.

9781606998106_IL_01_795ce

What sold the story for me, was not only Lucy’s storytelling, which I enjoyed as I always do, but also her illustrations and use of color which you can see here. I felt like I was there with her, facing her fears and facing issues she just didn’t want to deal with at the time. That part of growing up that we’re all in denial about, but we all have to face sooner or later. Displacement did not disappoint and it was a pleasure to read, even if it did make me and my cold bitter black heart want to hug my grandmother ASAP.

Images provided on Edelweiss from publisher.


17248106Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe (Scott Pilgrim #5) by Bryan Lee O’Malley
Release Date: August 13, 2014
Publisher: Oni Press
Source: Library
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Scott Pilgrim just turned 24, and things couldn’t possibly be better! This means things are about to get infinitely worse. Suddenly, TWO of Ramona’s evil ex-boyfriends are in town, and they’re playing dirty. His band is in turmoil, and his own exes aren’t making things any easier. And what’s up with Ramona, anyway? She’s been acting kinda weird ever since they moved in together. It’s the SECOND LAST VOLUME of SCOTT PILGRIM: Scott’s precious little life is coming back around to bite him in the butt, and it may not be pretty!– Goodreads

Review:

After vacation and reading a handful of other books, I finally was able to get my hold on Scott Pilgrim #4. The fun thing about this series is that I was taken right back into the world, picking right up where I left off. I honestly enjoy that when I read books. It was also clear that by book #5, O’Malley has gotten the process down for creating Pilgrim and his world.

What, to me, was the highlight of the novel, is when Ramona had enough of Scott’s bullshit and called him an asshole. Something I’ve been calling him from book one. Here I thought I was the only one that saw he was an asshole and it seems that, no, others recognized this also. Although we’re on the second to last book, this is where everything seems to go to hell. Scott has to fight two evil ex’s. His band has dissolved and Knives is still obsessed with him and wants to bring hellfire down on him (because you know fighting the evil ex’s is not hell enough.) While threads are slowly being brought together, I did find myself annoyed at most of the characters throughout the series I’ve come to realize it isn’t them. It’s me. They are not a group I would hang around with, or talk to on a daily basis and because of this I find myself annoyed at them.

Yes, I know, branch out of your comfort zone, etc and that is what if anything this graphic novel journey has been about. Branching outside of my comfort zone, and while I don’t regret it. I do wish I didn’t want to shake the characters so much.


17172103Scott Pilgrim & the Infinite Sadness (Scott Pilgrim #3) by Bryan Lee O’Malley
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Oni Press
Source: Library
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

The full-color, completely remastered, utterly astounding republication of the Scott Pilgrim epic continues! This new 6″x9″ hardcover presents Scott’s run-in with Ramona ex, Envy boy toy, and The Clash at Demon Head with bassist Todd Ingram as you’ve never seen it before – in full-color! Plus, previously unpublished extras, hard-to-find short stories, and exclusive bonus materials will make you see Scott Pilgrim in a whole new light!–Goodreads

Review:

Scott Pilgirm gets progressively better throughout the series, but there are still faults in the series. While I have no regrets reading it (and enjoying it) I do wish O’Malley wouldn’t have taken the ‘typical’ route many times. I think half way through the series, it would have been more interesting to see boundaries pushed and risks to be taken. However, I understand and respect the fact this series blew up as it went along and risks couldn’t be taken from the get-go.

I did enjoy this installment, and enjoyed the story that O’Malley told. Scott is still the same from the previous two novels. He’s still an asshole who doesn’t think before he speaks. Or thinks at all. The world continues to revolve around him and he gets confused when people think about people who aren’t him. Like that happens? Some of the best parts of Scott Pilgrim for me, are throughout the series are the facial expressions that his friends give him when he opens his mouth. The group of friends was constantly real to me. They were snarky, they called out each other, and they didn’t find the fact that Scott is having to face Ramona’s evil exs and it was fun.

I have never gone into this series expecting anything and that has made this series so much more fun for me. Every page is a surprise and the bit of pop culture thrown in makes it even more enjoyable. I get why my friends have been encouraging me to read this series for years.


15898731Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World (Scott Pilgrim #2) by Bryan Lee O’Malley
Release Date: August 8, 2012
Publisher: Oni Press
Source: Library
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Does Scott and Ramona’s burgeoning relationship have a future? Isn’t Scott still supposedly dating Knives Chau? Who is Ramona’s second evil ex-boyfriend, and why is he in Toronto? Who are The Clash At Demonhead, and what kind of bizarre art-punky music do they play? Who’s their hot girl keyboardist, and what is Scott’s relation to her? Why are they Knives Chau’s new favourite band? Fights! Drama! Secrets revealed! The answers to all these questions and more! Goodreads

Review:

I was actually annoyed when I had to put this on hold on the library after I finished the first one! What do you mean I had to wait?! THAT IS CRAZY TALK. But it was worth the wait. I was once again wrapped up in the story of Scott vs the world around him. Scott continues to be an asshole who is fighting for the right to date Ramona. What I love about Scott Pilgrim is the fact the pop culture involved in it is almost more exciting than the actual story to me.

And I don’t mean that as an insult! There are so many little Easter eggs that I almost have this need to re-read them because I know I’ve missed things. Through use of coloring and solid drawings Scott Pilgrim tells the second arc to the story and in that story there are a lot of subplots. A lot of them to the point I felt like a notebook was the only way to keep them straight. I also noticed a lot of this volume was not as zoomed in and because of that I often did not know who was talking. And it is easier said than done to know how’s talking. Often in books I re-read to figure out it is talking. If anything it is a major pet peeve of mine when books are told in dual pov and it’s impossible to differentiate. But I regress.

It is also annoying because Scott has issues breaking up with his 17 year old girlfriend and I wanted to slap him. But as I said in the first paragraph: Scott Pilgrim is an asshole and O’Malley doesn’t shy away from the fact that 23 year olds are not perfect and are often dicks who are still figuring things out. I think young adults and adults will relate to that. I related to it, but it also dragged the book down for me I wanted more from Scott, but then I had to remind myself, this is the second volume in a six volume set. Not a lot of growth happens in the first third of most books and that’s okay.


18630542Seconds: A Graphic Novel by Bryan Lee O’Malley
Release Date: July 15, 2014
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Source: Library
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

The highly anticipated new standalone full-color graphic novel from Bryan Lee O’Malley, author and artist of the hugely bestselling Scott Pilgrim graphic novel series

Katie’s got it pretty good. She’s a talented young chef, she runs a successful restaurant, and she has big plans to open an even better one. Then, all at once, progress on the new location bogs down, her charming ex-boyfriend pops up, her fling with another chef goes sour, and her best waitress gets badly hurt. And just like that, Katie’s life goes from pretty good to not so much. What she needs is a second chance. Everybody deserves one, after all—but they don’t come easy. Luckily for Katie, a mysterious girl appears in the middle of the night with simple instructions for a do-it-yourself do-over:

1. Write your mistake
2. Ingest one mushroom
3. Go to sleep
4. Wake anew

And just like that, all the bad stuff never happened, and Katie is given another chance to get things right. She’s also got a dresser drawer full of magical mushrooms—and an irresistible urge to make her life not just good, but perfect. Too bad it’s against the rules. But Katie doesn’t care about the rules—and she’s about to discover the unintended consequences of the best intentions.

From the mind and pen behind the acclaimed Scott Pilgrim series comes a madcap new tale of existential angst, everyday obstacles, young love, and ancient spirits that’s sharp-witted and tenderhearted, whimsical and wise.
– Goodreads

Review:

Now that I’m all about graphic novels, because I don’t have enough other books to read, I am scouring my friends read lists to see what I should read. After Rincy posted this video, I knew I had to read Seconds and it did not disappoint. It was kind of everything I wanted from a graphic novel. It not only tells a lot in small boxes, but often uses full pages to tell more to the story. What was a bit harder for me, was to suspend disbelief while reading Seconds. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed it and it’s ~mystery. But there was a part of me that had to back away from the obvious WTF.

Seconds is the story of Katie who has big plans to open up her own personal rrestaurant. A place that is all of hers. Sadly, at once, everything begins to fail and she is stressed to no end and quickly Katie’s life goes from being manageable, to one that causes her to wanting (needing) a second chance. Because Katie lives in a haunted house (no really, it is definitely haunted) she is gifted a second chance. And everything is better. It’s perfect.

What happens though is Katie becomes greedy and wants to fix all of her second chances. Including the fling she’s had, her adorable ex-boyfriend. This however, is against the rules and no matter how much Katie hears this. She doesn’t care, she wants her life to be perfect and the life she is meant to have. As a 26 year old girl, I related a lot to Katie. Her over thinking, the pain, the wanting to go back and fix things. I understood her. I even understood how she began to get greedy because it was easy to fall down that rabbit hole.

What O’Malley does throughout Seconds was remind me how glad I was to get over myself and start reading graphic novels and appreciate them. Which I do. I enjoyed Seconds. I read it in one evening and had feels I didn’t want to face, but I’m so glad I read this.


14080417Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life (Scott Pilgrim #1) by Bryan Lee O’Malley
Release Date: August 8, 2012
Publisher: Oni Press
Source: Library
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

ust when you thought you knew all there was to know about Scott Pilgrim comes Scott Pilgrim Color Hardcover Volume 1: Precious Little Life! The first in a series of brand-new hardcover editions, this remastered, 6″x9″ hardcover presents Scott’s first “evil ex” battle as you’ve never seen it before – in full-color! Plus, previously unpublished extras and bonus materials make this mighty tome one that’s required reading for Scottaholics everywhere! – Goodreads

Review:

A few years ago, when my BFF and I were younger and we lived together, we went and saw the Scott Pilgrim movie. I say younger because we used to go to midnight showings every single week on Fridays. Now the idea of staying up until midnight makes both of us tired, and we go with the grandmas at 10AM and we love it. I bring this story up because we saw the movie with no idea about it being a graphic novel, nor caring that it was a graphic novel.

Now, that I’m all about the graphic novels, I could not wait to put this on hold and devour it. Devour it, I did. This book however, is very much an opener to Scott’s world and gives you a feel for the characters. It also sets up the fact that Scott is a bit of an asshole something that only grew through the first volume of the graphic novel. He’s in his mid-20s and he’s dating a high schooler who becomes a wee bit obsessed with him and his band. He’s fine with this because why wouldn’t he fine with this? It’s normal right? His group of friends actually call him out on this and the fact he isn’t acting normal and whatever this thing is, it isn’t normal.

But he continues on with his life. Living with his roommate, hanging with the band, and his girlfriend. Then, at a party, he sees Ramona Flowers, and his life changes. He has hearts in his eyes and “high school girlfriend, who?” What Scott isn’t aware of is the fact that Ramona has seven evil ex’s and he has to fight them for the right to date her. What I found fascinating is the fact that Scott doesn’t even blink. He accepts this and prepares to fight.

What O’Malley does is create a hilarious believable story, even when the events are completely unbelievable. Like having to fight a handful of guys to go out with a girl? Not realistic! BUT the fact is he makes it work. The illustrations are spot on, the story line is solid and I cannot wait to read the next installments.


16002011Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong by Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Hicks (Illustrations)
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: First Second
Source: Library
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

You wouldn’t expect Nate and Charlie to be friends. Charlie’s the laid-back captain of the basketball team, and Nate is the neurotic, scheming president of the robotics club. But they are friends, however unlikely—until Nate declares war on the cheerleaders. At stake is funding that will either cover a robotics competition or new cheerleading uniforms—but not both.

It’s only going to get worse: after both parties are stripped of their funding on grounds of abominable misbehavior, Nate enrolls the club’s robot in a battlebot competition in a desperate bid for prize money. Bad sportsmanship? Sure. Chainsaws? Why not. Running away from home on Thanksgiving to illicitly enter a televised robot death match? Of course!

In Faith Erin Hicks’ and Prudence Shen’s world of high school class warfare and robot death matches, Nothing can possibly go wrong. – Goodreads

Review:

I will admit to going into this book knowing nothing and I left it so happy and thrilled! I adored Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong! It has everything I look for in a book. Friendships! Snark! Feelings! The lead characters of Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong are Nate and Charlie, two opposites who no one would expect to be friends, but who are and it works. Nate wants to become Class President to get funding for Robotics Club over the Cheerleaders. The Cheerleaders of course begin to rage, because OH OH OH NO. They need new uniforms. That is far more important than a silly-stupid robot event. This forces the Cheerleaders to back another opponent who they believe will beat Nate, even though this opponent has no interest in running.

Who is the opponent you ask? Charlie, the captain of the basketball team and BFF to Nate. Nate who finds it disgraceful that Charlie would run against him. What is important here is that Charlie doesn’t want to run, he has no interest in being Class President, he has his own shit he’s dealing with with a father who’s never home and a mother who ditched them both for California and a new boyfriend. Charlie has a lot of built up resentment and the last thing he wants to do is lead the class.

This doesn’t stop Nate and the cheerleaders from an all out war fighting for that post. Told through use of clever dialogue, Shen is able to tell a genius High School story that had my heart going out to most of the characters, including Charlie, who just wants his parents to listen to him. Along with clever dialogue, Hicks was able to bring the story to life and add so much more to it than I was expecting when I opened up this book.