This week’s mini review round-up includes:
- middle grade contemporary novella
- adult humor comics
- adult fantasy graphic novel
- YA contemporary graphic novel
AUTHOR: Lyla Lee
AGE RANGE: Middle Grade
On her first day of school, Mindy’s school snack of dried seaweed isn’t exactly popular at the lunch table. Luckily, her new friend, Sally, makes the snacks seem totally delicious to Mindy’s new classmates, so they decide to start the Yummy Seaweed Business to try and raise money for that puppy! When another student decides to try and sabotage their business, Mindy loses more than she bargained for—and wonders if she’ll ever fit in. Will Mindy be able to overcome her uncertainty and find the courage to be herself?
This was absolutely adorable! Mindy Kim is the new girl in school, and in a desperate attempt to fit in after being made fun of for her Korean snacks, she starts trading and selling dried seaweed to her classmates to convince them to befriend her. It’s a pretty typical and lighthearted take on the classic “nervous new kid” theme, but it’s got this great breath of fresh air thanks to the own-voice Korean-American rep as well as Mindy’s status as a child whose mother has recently passed away. While both Asian-American children and children of single parents will be able to relate to Mindy, I think any child is going to have fun with this story and the cute illustrations. I know I’ll definitely be recommending it to kids and continuing the series next year!
Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
MC & her father are both grieving a lost loved one
own-voices Korean-American rep
AUTHOR: Ben Zaehringer
AGE RANGE: Adult
A subversive, hilarious, dark-but-uplifting collection of comics skewering the commercial figures, Disney stories, and pop cultural touchstones that Millennials and Gen X-ers grew up with in the ’80s and ’90s. Ben Zaehringer’s versatile art styles and wicked curveballs are sharp, clever and accessible, prompting many readers to comment that the author is “ruining their childhood” in the most delightful way possible.
Sadly, this didn’t do a lot for me! I usually really like these little comic bind-ups, but I wasn’t overly familiar with Berkeley Mews Comics, so I knew it would either be really fun and new… or a whomp. It was the latter, unfortunately. I don’t think it was so much that there’s anything “wrong” with the humor here, I just felt like it wasn’t trying very hard to be legitimately funny? And I saw these comics being hyped as pretty dark humor, which I tend to be a fan of, but I didn’t think this was dark at all. Maybe it’s one of those “it’s me, not you” moments.
Thank you so much to the author for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
jokes about death
AUTHOR: Mirka Andolfo
AGE RANGE: Adult
Leslie hides within herself a power that many are longing for. After losing her best friends because of an organization that is chasing her, the pig girl finds herself alone and confused with a group of rebels. Will she be able to join the fight against a government that blames the interpersonal relationships considered wrong, considering that she has difficulty keeping the wolf that lives inside her in check?
Another gorgeous, fascinating volume, but I feel like there’s just so much story left to be explained, and I’m being told there’s only one more volume in the series? Whaaaaaat? I hope it’s going to tie up a lot of things, but as this one stands, I thought it was really solid. There’s so much tension and intrigue, and I’m enjoying the plot developments with Leslie and the Albino’s spirit. You go, get your murder on, little pig ♥
parallels to racism & homophobia, violence, death
multiple queer characters
AUTHOR: Mariko Tamaki
AGE RANGE: YA
Reeling from her latest break up, Freddy’s best friend, Doodle, introduces her to the Seek-Her, a mysterious medium, who leaves Freddy some cryptic parting words: break up with her. But Laura Dean keeps coming back, and as their relationship spirals further out of her control, Freddy has to wonder if it’s really Laura Dean that’s the problem. Maybe it’s Freddy, who is rapidly losing her friends, including Doodle, who needs her now more than ever. Fortunately for Freddy, there are new friends, and the insight of advice columnists like Anna Vice to help her through being a teenager in love.
Ooooof. This was… such a ride. We need more honest, raw, beautiful queer stories like this depicting both the unhealthy and the healthy aspects of relationships, especially in YA. While not every queer story needs to be painful, not every one has to ignore the very real fact that queer relationships, like all other relationships and friendships in life, still have the potential to be toxic, to be abusive, to suffer from power imbalances, to fall apart. We also need more stories reminding teens that your first love doesn’t have to be your last love, and that you don’t have to stop loving someone to love yourself enough to say goodbye.
Poor, sweet little gay babies. I just wanna hug ’em all (except LD, screw her until she learns how to treat people).
I’m also absolutely, wholeheartedly consumed with love for how effortlessly diverse the cast in this graphic novel is. We’ve got an Asian-American main character, queer girls everywhere, trans characters, healthy discussions of polyamory (and how to know the difference between a healthy polyam relationship and when you’re actually being taken advantage of), characters of every race and size and shape, and damn, if every girl in this book isn’t beautiful. Well done, Tamaki. ♥ I have a new favorite, that’s for sure.
queer Asian-American MC, multiple representations of queer, POC, and/or fat characters
— destiny ♥
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Laura Dean keeps breaking up with me sounds good!
Thank you love! It was so good. I really recommend it!
My heart isn’t ready for Laura Dean keeps breaking up with me but I know eventually i will read it.
Awww, it’s so good! I hope so!
Ahh, thanks for putting Mindy Kim on my radar! As a new children’s librarian I feel like I need to up my knowledge of chapter books/lower middle grade. This sounds like a great title to be aware of.
Lower grade is SO DIFFICULT to get well-versed in (for me, anyways) so it’s really exciting not only to find a new release that looks good, but also one that’s diverse?! I fell in love haha! You’re welcome, darling! <3
Omg I didn’t know Laura Dean had polyam rep! I need to read it nooooowwww.
It’s not so much a polyam situation being represented as it is a discussion of polyam relationships being a healthy option? So it’s still very much a positive (I think, anyways) but I don’t want to get your hopes up unfairly that it would be *more* rep than it is, if that makes sense. I’m sorry, I don’t wanna sound like a party pooper, I just don’t want you to be disappointed either and I feel like that can be such a fine line when our reps aren’t offered often ?<3
Ooooh okay, thank you! That’s a very important distinction haha, but still great to have mentioned. It was already on my radar so I’m def still gonna read it soon but it’s good not to get my hopes up toooo much 🙂