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Graphic Novel

Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer and Doug Holgate

Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer and Doug Holgate

Wires and Nerve is a continuation of Meyer's Lunar Chronicles series (which begins with the YA novel Cinder). Unlike the books in the original series, Wires and Nerve is written as a graphic novel with art done by Doug Holgate, and follows a minor character after the original series' end. Iko, Cinder's android friend, suddenly feels unneeded with her friends' new positions in life, and must find her own. Determined to still be a help to Cinder, Iko travels back to Earth to fight the wolf hybrids that went into hiding after the fall of their leader. The beasts are too strong, and the job is too dangerous for any human, but here Iko knows exactly what to do. Unfortunately, even Iko isn't indestructible.

Number of Pages: 
238

Hilda and the Stone Forest by Luke Pearson

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Hilda and the Stone Forest by Luke Pearson

There are troll fires on the hills outside Trolberg. "What are they doing out there?" wonders Hilda. It won't be long before Hilda has a fireside view of said troll fires. This time adventure awaits both fair Hilda and her mother as they get lost in the Stone Forest. There are old friends from past books and new friends to be made. There is a cliffhanger of an ending. I hope there is another book lined up...I don't think I can wait to find out what happens to my favorite new hero.

Number of Pages: 
64

Rolling Blackouts: Dispatches from Turkey, Syria, and Iraq by Sarah Glidden

Rolling Blackouts: Dispatches from Turkey, Syria, and Iraq by Sarah Glidden

In late 2010, cartoonist Sarah Glidden went along with two of her friends--co-founders of The Seattle Globalist--and a former Marine as they researched the impact of the Iraq War on the region and the refugee crisis. Glidden's focus to document the overall process of journalism and how it was conducted for this specific purpose, but it also comes to encompass the Marine's own experiences and reactions along the journey. Rolling Blackouts, constructed largely from transcribed audiovisual material collected on the trip, offers a glimpse into the horrors of war, complicated history, and voices of both the well-known and unheard victims of the region's violence.

I really enjoyed Glidden's graphic memoir, How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less, a few years back and found this book to be as enlightening and thoughtful. There is so much food for thought here--the less-documented tragedies of refugees' displacement, ruminations on ethics in jounalism, U.S. military involvement in the Middle East, what it means to be progressive, and so much more. I found it really interesting, too, in the window of time it occurred--just after heavy U.S. military presence from the Iraq War and just before the uprisings from the Arab Spring. For a graphic novel, this is slightly more text-heavy, and Glidden's use of soft-toned watercolors lend to the reflective nature of the book. There are no clear answers, but there are plenty of viewpoints; reading this will likely spark plenty of contemplation and conversation. This is definitely one of my favorite reads this year.

Number of Pages: 
298

Mighty Jack by Ben Hatke

Mighty Jack by Ben Hatke

Mighty Jack is the latest graphic novel from Ben Hatke, author of the Zita the Spacegirl series and Little Robot among other works. When I brought this home from the library, my girls sat and examined every page in detail for a looooong time and then demanded I read it to them. So perhaps it goes without saying that Hatke has once again created a beautiful and magical story. Jack is dreading summer break from school because it means he has to look after his younger sister Maddy who is nonverbal. There is an homage to Jack and the Beanstalk when Maddy suddenly miraculously speaks and instructs Jack to trade his mother's car for some cool looking seed packets. Jack and Maddy then forge a connection as they grow a magical garden in their own backyard, helped by a fierce, cool, and possibly untrustworthy neighbor girl. The garden's magic is unpredictable: sometimes it is fun but many times it seems determined to hurt them and when an enormous dragon appears, Jack feels like things have gone too far. The ending leaves us hanging, waiting impatiently for the next installment!

Number of Pages: 
203

Hilda and the Troll, Hilda and the Midnight Giant, Hilda and the Bird Parade by Luke Pearson

Hilda and the Troll, Hilda and the Midnight Giant, Hilda and the Bird Parade by Luke Pearson

I love Hilda. She's curious, kind, clever and brave. She's an adventurer in her Norwegian landscape full of trolls, woodmen, and woffs. What's a woff? You'll have to read Hilda and the Troll to find out. Both Troll and Hilda and the Midnight Giant take place in the woods outside Trolberg. In Hilda and the Bird Parade, Hilda and her mom have to move to Trolberg, the small city. Being an adventurer is a bit harder for a young girl in the city, but not impossible if you are Hilda. Luckily, there are still fantastical creatures in urban areas. The spaces, both realistic and mythical, are really well-rendered in Pearson's drawings. I really want to move to this world.

I just learned that Netflix is turning Hilda into a series. I hope it lives up to the beauty of Pearson's world and Hilda's character.

 

Number of Pages: 
96

The Midas Flesh, Volumes 1 & 2, by Ryan North, Braden Lamb, and Shelli Paroline

The Midas Flesh, Volumes 1 & 2, by Ryan North, Braden Lamb, and Shelli Paroline

How about a sci-fi twist to the Midas story? Once upon a time--long story-short--a king named Midas wished that everything he touched be turned to gold and inadvertently destroyed all life on Earth. Now, fast-forward waaaaay into the future, where a renegade space crew wants to defeat an evil empire and finds out that the universe's deadliest weapon might be hidden on a planet that has turned into solid gold. Will they get there in time before the bad guys find them?

This two-volume series by Ryan North--of Adventure Time, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, and Dinosaur Comics fame--is a terrific read for teens and adults. You get a lot of story for a short series. I particularly loved the small crew of Joey, Fatima, and Cooper (a dinosaur, of course) and the complexity of their relationships with one another. This is a unique space adventure currently available to read in your browser or download on your mobile device through Hoopla and soon-to-be available in book form from the library.

Number of Pages: 
256

Hilda and the Black Hound by Luke Pearson

Hilda and the Black Hound by Luke Pearson

We meet Hilda camping in her living room, lamenting her lack of real camping experience. In a moment of serendipity, a flyer blows into the window advertising the Sparrow Scouts. Think of it as a co-ed scouting experience complete with badges. While Hilda is preparing for scouting adventure, she happens upon other adventures in the shape of Nisse (house elves?) and a black hound that keeps appearing in and around her town.

This is the fourth book in the Hilda series, so if you fall in love there are more! I love the large format, it reminds me of the original Tintin comics. And the art by British writer and illustrator, Luke Pearson, is lovely. I recommend this series for elementary school age comics lovers. Maybe, but not necessarily on the younger end of that scale. 

Number of Pages: 
64

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley

I feel like I am late to the Knisley party! I couldn't put this book down. Luckily, I didn't have to because I had a marvelous block of time waiting for my car to be fixed in which to read this delightful book. But boy was I hungry afterwards! Lucy Knisley writes and illustrates this graphic memoir about her life in food. It is largely dedicated to her mother and her mother's influence. Her mother worked at Dean & Deluca back in the day, in Manhattan in the 70s. She catered, she farmed, she cooked always. Lucy grew up surrounded by chefs, grocers and farmers market folk. Each chapter takes you through a different period in her life. The chapter on Mexico is hilarious. And includes a recipe for huevos rancheros. Yum! Her art is illustrative of my favorite type of graphic novel, though I am hard pressed to say why! The colors, the clean lines? Whatever she does, she does well. I'm looking forward to reading more of her works, she just came out with a new one this year.

Number of Pages: 
173

Night Air by Ben Sears

Night Air by Ben Sears

I was drawn in by this book's artwork on the cover. It's a quick read about a boy with aviator goggles and his pal, a robot that looks kind of like a donut with arms. I had to leaf through it quickly again to see if they have names, no they do not. We meet them in a card game and know that they are cheating via the robot donut. The thugs in the card game start to suspect something and they make a hasty retreat. This is an adventure story albeit brief. They end up in a haunted castle looking for treasure. They are captured by the Duke and put in the castle's dungeon with a dead man, a haunted typewriter, a head and a hand. (They have names...Luis, Leonard, Tia and Alan!)

Great art if not the most fleshed out story. Hmmm. Maybe there will be more to come?  I would recommend this book to kids who like quirky characters and robots who look like donuts in their graphic novels.

Number of Pages: 
64

Something New: Tales From A Make-shift Bride by Lucy Knisley

Something New: Tales From A Make-shift Bride by Lucy Knisley

Something New is a graphic novel about weddings. Specifically, it's a story about Knisley's own wedding - her relationships leading up to the proposal, the planning of a wedding she wasn't sure she wanted, and the finished product. Lucy isn't a woman who has always planned her wedding, and with a surprise proposal when she isn't even dating anyone, she feels entirely unprepared for her new bridal identity. The story is told through themes, small segments that are easy to read and still somehow flow together. It takes a humorous look at what planning such a large event can do to a person, even when she never thought it would.

Number of Pages: 
291