Mini reviews: witchy graphics — Over My Dead Body, Crumbs, and Garlic & the Witch

July 24, 2023

TITLE: Over My Dead Body
GENRE: Fantasy/Mystery
AGE RANGE: Young Adult
PAGES: 240pg

One day, everything was exactly as it was supposed to be. And the next, the closest thing Abby ever had to a sister, Noreen, was just… gone.

Distracted by the annual preparations for the Samhain festival, Abby’s classmates are quick to put Noreen’s disappearance aside. The Coven will find her, Abby’s friends say. They have it under control.

But Abby can’t let it go. Soon a search for answers leads her down a rabbit hole that uncovers more secrets than Abby can handle. As mounting evidence steers her toward the off-limits woods that surround the academy, she begins to see that Noreen’s disappearance mysteriously has a lot in common with another girl who went missing all those years ago…

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This was absolutely the queer, sweet, beautiful found family of witchy students I needed in my life, and I loved every page of this story. The characters are so lovable and the plot was interesting and suspenseful, all set in a magical world that I wanted so much more time in!

I loved the Younwity school setting, and most of all, I adored the familiars — especially Seymour, the nervous, kindly little cat that accompanies Abby, the protagonist. And then that ending, too?

Truly, everything about this graphic novel made my witchy little heart sing and I can’t recommend it highly enough! ♥

content warnings →
WARNINGS (click to expand):

possession, kidnapping, blackmail

representation →

Goldie is Black and queer; Goldie’s father is Black; Violet is queer (and Asian?); Enver uses they/them pronouns

TITLE: Crumbs
GENRE: Fantasy
AGE RANGE: Young Adult
PAGES: 384pg

In a very special town, there’s an even more unusual bakery with a selection of baked treats hand-crafted to help your dreams come true. For Ray, a quiet young woman with special powers of her own, the order is always the same: a hot tea with a delicious side of romance.

When Ray meets Laurie, the kind barista who aspires to be a professional musician, she gets a real taste of love for the first time. But even with a spark of magic, romance isn’t so simple. Both Ray and Laurie are chasing their own dreams and even when Ray starts to see the future, she can’t predict her fate with Laurie.

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This was such a sweet, cute little story (for the most part)! I really loved the witchy themes, especially Marigold’s kitchen magic in her bakery. I wish that we’d gotten more focus on the various paranormal elements of the other characters, and less focus on Ray’s job, because the parts about her job were honestly mostly a bit boring and felt like “too much” (not in the sense that it shouldn’t have been included, but in the sense that there were too many separate threads within the career subplot and most of them weren’t wrapped up in the end).

I loved the characters, and the development we got to see in several of them. Ray was a very lovable main character, though I thought some of her behavior was immature and maybe not addressed as thoroughly as I’d have liked for it to be. While Laurie’s transgressions are pretty well handled, it felt like Ray’s are swept under the rug, whether it’s related to her emotional unavailability or her poor handling of situations at work.

I hate to throw in another “I loved this, BUT —” point, but the romance: I thought it was absolutely adorable and I sensed so much chemistry between Ray and Laurie in the beginning, but this story suffered from the classic case of these characters getting into a relationship too early into the story, which led to a lot of their conversations being repetitive. The conflict between them was fine (and I say this as someone who usually hates the infamous Romance Break-up Act™️), but I was kind of disappointed in the ending! I get why so many YA/NA authors go this route with endings to their romance books, but I’m a hopeless romantic and these two had SO much potential and cared so much for one another that the ending felt unrealistic and forced.

Overall, this graphic novel was mostly enjoyable, but I had a lot of caveats that pulled it down from the 5-star rating I originally had hoped to give it. Writing this out, I actually struggle with even giving it 4 stars, but the massive amount of love and joy it brought me in the first half makes it hard to go lower than that, too. Plus, the art is adorable.

Thank you to the publisher for the review copy! All thoughts are honest and my own.

content warnings →
WARNINGS (click to expand):

mentions of parental death/loss, acrophobia

representation →

Ray, Laurie, Marigold, and multiple other side characters are BIPOC and/or queer; two side characters use they/them pronouns

TITLE: Garlic and the Witch (Garlic, #2)
GENRE: Fantasy
AGE RANGE: Middle Grade
PAGES: 160pg

Garlic loves spending time with Witch Agnes, Carrot, and her new friend, the Count, who has proven to be a delightful neighbor to the village of vegetable people rather than a scary vampire. But despite Agnes’s best attempts to home-brew a vegetarian blood substitute for Count, the ingredient she needs most can only be found at the Magic Market, far from the valley.

Before she knows it, with a broomstick in hand, Garlic is nervously preparing for a journey.

But Garlic is experiencing another change too–finger by finger, she appears to be turning human. Witch Agnes assures her that this is normal for her garden magic, but Garlic isn’t so sure that she’s ready for such a big change. After all, changes are scary…and what if she doesn’t want to be human after all?

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What an incredibly sweet sequel to what is one of my favorite graphic novels of all time. ♥ I feel absolutely blessed that Bree Paulsen created this world and these characters and brought them to life in this way, and Garlic has a big place in my heart. I don’t know if there will be more books following these characters, or what they would look like if there are, but I do know that Bree is going to be an author to watch for me from here on out!

In Garlic and the Witch, we start off with a little peek back at how Garlic and the other vegetable-people came into being before picking back up some time after the events of Garlic and the Vampire. Garlic is undergoing some unexplained changes (growing new fingers, and becoming taller), and she learns that Witch Agnes has been hiding something from her: Garlic and the others are becoming human!

Much like in the first book, Garlic goes on a scary, exciting adventure as she learns to cope with her own anxiety and to have faith in herself, her friends, and the world around her. I mentioned in my review of Garlic and the Vampire that Garlic is one of my favorite examples of anxiety representation I’ve ever read, and that remains true now.

Needless to say, I adored Garlic and the Witch and I’m going to be recommending it to anyone and everyone who will listen!

content warnings →
WARNINGS (click to expand):

depictions of anxiety

representation →

Garlic has anxiety; Carrot uses they/them pronouns; Count is queer



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More about Destiny @ Howling Libraries

Just a horror aficionado/geek girl trying to juggle motherhood, reading, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.

    1. I’ve really been wanting to check out Over My Dead Body. The cover just keeps drawing me in. The other comics look really good as well. I want to check out all of them.

    1. I need to actually read Garlic #1 because I just skimmed through it (loved it a lot). I’ve seemed Crumbs around and did want to read it.

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