Recollections: Reviews by a Book Lover

Let’s Get Graphic

I’ve been reading a lot of graphic novels lately.  Here are some short reviews of my favorites:



Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks

Maggie is about to start high school after being homeschooled her whole life.  Maggie’s mom left her and her three brothers and nothing has been the same since.  Maggie’s brothers have been her only friends until she meets Alistair and Lucy. 

I love this book because it’s all about friendship, growing up, learning to forgive and move on.  I almost forgot to mention, Maggie is haunted.  While trying to deal with her brothers and her new friends, she is also trying to figure why she is being haunted and how she can help the ghost. 



Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge

Paige Turner just moved to New York.  She is trying to adjust to the big city while making friends and her sketchbook is helping her do just that.

This is a great book because Paige is in her head so much, and her sketchbook helps her get it all out there.  She learns to open up and share her sketchbook and thoughts/feelings with others.   It’s about finding yourself and learning to be comfortable enough with that self to share it with the world. 



Will & Whit by Laura Lee Gulledge

Will lost her parents in an accident and now she lives with her aunt.  She has two best friends and loves to make lamps.  She is also afraid of the dark. 

Will’s lamps help her deal with her fear of the dark, but she hasn’t come to terms with the loss of her family.  She tries to avoid it, but when a storm knocks out all the power in town, Will can’t hide from the dark anymore.  This is a story about coming to terms with loss and your fears.  Will is lucky because she has her friends to help her. 



Amulet Volume 1: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi

Emily and Navin move into their great-grandfather’s house with their mother after their father dies.  However, this house proves to have dangerous secrets and soon Emily and Navin are on journey to save their mother after she is taken by monsters to an underground world.  Soon siblings meet others and find allies. 

I love the storyline and the characters are great.  I love Miskit the mechanical rabbit, and all the other friends Emily and Navin make along the way.  Emily lost her father, but she isn’t going to let her mother be taken away from her.  She will do anything to protect what is left of her family, something we can all relate to.



Astonishing X-Men (volumes 1-9) 

The first four volumes were written by Joss Whedon, and I loved them.  The story arc was fantastic.  Cyclops and Emma Frost have reformed the X-men, but something threatens the existence of mutants, and it is up to them to stop it.  Out of the 9 volumes I’ve read so far this was my favorite story arc.  The other arcs include ghost boxes, parallel universes, the brood, and Monster Island.  Some arcs are better than others, but all have kept me reading. 


The artwork in all these graphic novels is amazing.  Gulledge’s art is black and white (which I normal don’t care for, I love color!), but she is such a great artist I hardly notice the absence of color.  The X-men volumes have different artists and writers, some artists are better than others.  A few of the volumes felt a little dark, and I didn’t like how some of the artists drew certain characters. 


Review: Doll Bones by Holly Black

Doll Bones

Doll Bones by Holly Black

What it’s about:  Poppy, Zach, and Alice have been friends forever, and for almost as long they have been playing a continuous game with pirates, mermaids, and the Queen.  One day everything changes when Zach has to give up playing the game, but he doesn’t explain to Poppy and Alice why he has to stop.  Poppy and Alice are afraid Zach is moving on from them.  Then one night Poppy tells Zach and Alice the Queen (a bone china doll) is actually made from the bones of a little girl, and now her ghost is haunting Poppy.  Poppy tells them they have to go on a quest to find the girl’s grave and put her spirit to rest.

What I thought:  Everyone loves a quest, and everyone understands a quest.  So I understood why Poppy had to do this, and why despite the trouble they could get in Alice and Zach decided to go with her. Like all quests, things don’t go according to plan.  Thus a lot of adventure occurs as they try to find the grave.  But I’m not going to talk about that because you have to go on their adventure yourself.

Is the doll really haunting Poppy?  That’s something you will have to decide for yourself in the end.  I’d like to believe the ghost was real.  Don’t worry Holly Black does a great job in providing just enough creepy, it isn’t too much to really scare kids but it’s enough to give you goose bumps.

I really liked Doll Bones because besides the creepy it also addresses growing up.  How everything changes, not just physically but emotionally and mentally.  How sometimes we feel like our friends are changing and we are going to be left behind.  It’s hard to watch the people you have known all your life change, but it’s not necessarily bad.  We all grow up but that doesn’t mean we have to grow apart or that we have to stop playing.

Review: Skeleton Creek: Ryan’s Journal by Patrick Carman

Skeleton Creek: Ryan’s Journal by Patrick Carman

Picture edited with PicMonkey

Best friends, Ryan and Sarah, are trying to discover the mystery that surrounds the dredge in their town when Ryan gets injured one night.  Now Sarah and Ryan are forbidden from seeing or talking to one another, but that does not stop them from trying to solve the mystery.

I got this book for my birthday, so the copy I have is hardcover and it actually slides into a plastic case, the kind some DVD cases have.  I love the packaging because it fits the book/video combo!  The book itself looks like a journal, which is also fitting.  The story is told through Ryan’s journal, in which he writes down all that has and is happening.  However, the story is also told through Sarah’s videos.  The duel methods of storytelling are what make this story really interesting.  Ryan and Sarah have found a way to bypass the parental controls their parents have placed on their computers, and are therefore able to exchange emails. Ryan pastes the emails he sends Sarah into the journal, and he includes the passwords to the videos Sarah uploads onto her website.  The reader is told when to go to the website and watch the newest video Sarah has uploaded.

Sarah’s videos are on a website which was made for the book, and to access the videos you need the passwords from the book.  I love that an actual website was made for the videos, so the reader doesn’t have to worry about videos being taken down (that is often a problem with books referencing YouTube videos).  Also the videos are well filmed, so I actually looked forward to the videos.

The book actually ends on a video, and the video ends in a cliffhanger, so I’m going to have to continue the series if I want to know the end of this mystery/ghost story.

A side note: while I love the duel nature of the book and video, I do worry about what happens when technology changes or this website is taken down.  Some important parts of the plot (including the ending of this book) are told through the video, which means if the website no longer exists you won’t be able to give this book to someone to read.  Hopefully that will not become an issue for a long time, if ever.  Also I’m not sure if it was my smartphone, but I couldn’t get the website to load on it.  While it’s not a big deal it would have been more convenient to watch the videos on my phone than having to pull out my computer.

Overall I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good ghost story, and a mixed media format.