Mini Reviews Reviews

MINIS — graphic novels! (a little MG & a whole lotta gay babies)

May 22, 2020

51055272. sx318 sy475 TITLE: Heavy Vinyl: Y2K-O!, Vol. 2
AUTHOR: Carly Usdin
ILLUSTRATOR: Nina Vakueva
GENRE: Historical Fiction (1990s)
FORMAT: Graphic Novel
AGE RANGE: YA
PAGES: 112pg
SOURCE: Hoopla
It’s 1999 and Chris is living her dream: working at Vinyl Destination by day and fighting for (musical) justice by night (okay, maybe during the day too) in the world’s coolest teen girl vigilante fight club. But when the girls of Vinyl Destination enter a Battle of The Bands – to investigate and, of course, win – they learn that the shadowy corporate masters of the music industry plan to destroy the fledging world of digital music and blame it on Y2K. Now it’s time for Chris and the gang to dial up 56k (or more, pretty please) of justice so they can save the day once again!

 

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That was super cute and fun. More of a 4.5, but I rounded up because it makes my heart happy to see SO MANY gay girls in one place. <3 This series has loads of sapphic rep, POC rep, QPOC rep, lighthearted talks about serious topics (like being ready for sex, etc.), and jokes, all wrapped up into a team of cuties kicking the patriarchy’s ass and saving the world, one mixtape at a time. The 90s setting is SO much fun and I loved the addition of the Y2K subplot!

c o n t e n t – w a r n i n g s →

d i v e r s i t y →

Almost all of the main characters are queer, multiple characters are Black

52757844. sx318 sy475 TITLE: How Do We Relationship?, Vol. 1
AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR: Tamifull
GENRE: Romance
FORMAT: Manga
AGE RANGE: NA
PAGES: 216pg
SOURCE: Netgalley
Shy Miwa has always dreamed of finding love, but living in small-town Japan made finding the right match difficult—especially since she likes girls! Even going away to college didn’t seem to help, until one day her outgoing classmate Saeko suggests they might as well start dating each other since it’s not like either of them has other options. At first it seems like things won’t work out as their personalities clash and misunderstandings abound. But when their casual friendship starts to become something more, Miwa begins to wonder—can a pragmatic proposal lead to true love?
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Coming from someone who genuinely enjoyed this manga, it’s probably fair to say you should know what you’re going into before picking it up. How Do We Relationship? isn’t your typical new adult romance; in fact, the author’s note at the end even explains how Tamifull intentionally wanted to write something very different from the norm by depicting two women who get into a relationship before falling for one another.

Instead of having a lot of sweet, caring moments or angsty revelations, this first volume relies heavily on showcasing how people can work through disagreements or conflicts in relationships, with a lot of those conflicts revolving around the dynamic of two people who have very different views on sex. Saeko is active and very, er, physically motivated (heh), while Miwa is new to this entire aspect of life and wants to move slowly.

While the words aren’t used on page, it’s evident that Miwa has a lot of inner conflict surrounding trying to decide if she’s asexual or not, and in the end, it appears that she may be demisexual (I’m very curious to see if we’ll see this label used in future volumes). While there are definitely some acephobic comments made, they’re more or less challenged, and Saeko is forced to recognize that sometimes compromises need to be made when people don’t feel the same way about their sexuality in a relationship. I personally thought it was all very true to life, which might honestly make it tough for some readers to enjoy, but I liked that Tamifull didn’t really pull punches.

Aside from aaaaall of that, the artwork is super cute, the characters are fun, and I enjoyed it a lot. I’ll definitely be continuing the series!

Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with this review copy in exchange for an honest review!

c o n t e n t – w a r n i n g s →

homophobia, acephobia, one partner being pushy about sex with other partner

d i v e r s i t y →

main characters are queer, all characters are Japanese

44280825TITLE: Check, Please! Book 2: Sticks & Scones
AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR: Ngozi Ukazu
GENRE: Romance
FORMAT: Graphic Novel
AGE RANGE: NA
PAGES: 352pg
SOURCE: Purchased
Bitty is heading to junior year of college and though he has overcome his fear of getting ‘checked’ on the ice, he and Jack now face new challenges. They must nagivate their new relationship while being apart and aslo decide how they want to reveal their relationship to those around them. Not only that, but Jack and the Falconers are now a big part of the NHL–and Bitty’s life! It’s a hockey season filled with victories and losses.
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In NO WAY was I even SLIGHTLY ready to say goodbye to my perfect, soft little gay hockey boys. I’m so emotional right now. I wish this series would go on forever, but at the same time, it ended so sweetly and I adored every single damn page of this beautiful book. Not only the cutesy romantic bits and the baking and the hilarity, but also the social commentary on being a queer athlete and coming out to your family, for better or for worse? Ugh. FEELS™.

c o n t e n t – w a r n i n g s →

coming out, fear of homophobia, brief homophobia (challenged)

d i v e r s i t y →

Bitty is gay, Jack is queer (undetermined — presumably bi or pan), several side characters are POC, a few side characters are queer

52210313. sx318 sy475 TITLE: Aster and the Accidental Magic
AUTHOR: Thom Pico
ILLUSTRATOR: Karensac
GENRE: Fantasy
FORMAT: Graphic Novel
AGE RANGE: MG
PAGES: 224pg
SOURCE: Publisher (unsolicited ARC)
In her new home, Aster meets a mysterious old woman with a herd of dogs who gives her a canine companion of her own. But when she and her dog Buzz are adventuring in the forest, they run into a trickster spirit who gives Aster three wishes. After wishing for the ability to understand and talk to her dog, she becomes only able to talk in dog language . . . and the trouble she gets into is just starting. Maybe the middle of nowhere will be more interesting than Aster thought.
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This was honestly so adorable and I loved every single page. The art is cute and colorful, the storyline is delightful, and Aster is a protagonist you can’t help rooting for. She has her moments of ridiculousness as any kid (or person in general) does, but for the most part, she’s witty, hard-headed, capable, and a ton of fun. I absolutely loved the side characters — especially the Chestnut Knights! — and think this would be a big hit with a lot of MG readers regardless of age. I especially recommend this if you like Adventure Time, because something about the art and story style reminded me a LOT of that show and made me want to go back and rewatch my favorite episodes ASAP.

Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with this review copy in exchange for an honest review!

c o n t e n t – w a r n i n g s →

d i v e r s i t y →

destiny

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2 Comments

  • Reply evelynreads1 May 22, 2020 at 1:15 pm

    Great reviews!
    I really want to try out Heavy vinyl!

    (www.evelynreads.com)

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