COZY READS: Fall 2019 Graphic Novel Reviews

I am a firm believer that graphic novels are perfect for those days when all you intend to do is sit with a book–and finish it in the same day! The following graphic novels are come out in Fall 2019, so make sure you grab your pumpkin spice-infused drink beforehand.

Stargazing by Jen Wang

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

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Since Jen Wang’s The Prince and the Dressmaker is among my all-time favorite graphic novels, I couldn’t wait to dive into Stargazing. Stargazing is a middle grade graphic novel following fast friends Christine and Moon in their Chinese American community. It took me less than an hour to eat up this cute MG. As always, I loved Jen Wang’s illustrations, in addition to her use of gutters and panels. The novel really unpacks Christine’s growing up in the Chinese American community. While her family is somewhat rooted in their traditions and Christine appreciates her upbringing, she also lives an Americanized life. Her relationship to the community is one of the many differences between her and Moon, their friendship overall fitting the ‘opposite attract’ category. Much of the novel is dedicated to Moon and Christine’s friendship and its ups and downs.

Although I didn’t know too much about the novel going in, I was not expecting its seriousness and connections to Jen Wang’s personal life and childhood experiences. The plot twist left me surprised at first, but it made sense considering some of Moon’s actions. Jen Wang’s afterword explains the novel’s semi autobiographical inspiration.

Stargazing comes out on September 10, 2019. 

This review is based on an advance reader’s edition. By no means did receiving this copy affect my thoughts or opinions.

Mooncakes by Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker

 My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

 Mooncakes caught my attention primarily thanks to one of its protagonists, Nova. Where can I sign up to be a teenage witch working at her grandmothers’ bookstore/café??

Mooncakes follows Nova and her best friend of a werewolf, Tam, as they navigate their feelings for one another while combatting the magical creature lurking in their town. Just your average romance right? This was my first time reading Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker’s work. I really enjoyed the art style and their attention to detail. For example, I loved being able to read and recognize some of the book titles in the family bookstore!

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Mooncakes has one of the most diverse casts that I’ve ever read, espeically graphic novels-wise. Tam is non-binary, there are female/female relationships, and Nova is hard-of-hearing and wears hearing aids.

Nova and Tam’s relationship was really sweet. I enjoyed their reunion while also getting tiny flashbacks in individual panels to their childhood together. Although Mooncakes is primarily fantasy, I wanted more from the contemporary elements. Just give me ALL the pages of Nova and Tam hanging in the rare book room and baking! I also wish there was a bit more build-up to the romance. I liked having Nova as a witch and Tam as a werewolf, but the fantasy plot itself was a tad predictable. I think one of the reasons why the fantasy plot wasn’t so complex is because this is a fairly short graphic novel and it is on the cuter side, since about half of the plot is dedicated to Nova and Tam’s relationship.

 This review is based on an advance reader’s copy. By no means did receiving this copy affect my thoughts or opinions.

 Mooncakes comes out on October 15, 2019.

Survivors of the Holocaust: True Stories of Six Extraordinary Children by Kath Shackleton & illustrated by Kane Whittingham

My Rating: 3/5 Stars

Survivors-of-the-Holocaust.jpgSurvivors of the Holocaust was another Book Expo title that caught my attention. As someone who studies the World Wars and Holocaust, I’m always looking for both fictional and non-fictional accounts of the periods. Survivors of the Holocaust takes the latter form, providing glimpses of six individuals who lived through the Holocaust as children.

Survivors of the Holocaust stresses the idea that no survivor had the same experience. While I appreciate that the novel traces six different accounts, I wish that the chapters had been longer. However, I believe that this novel’s intent is to educate middle grade audiences on the Holocaust. I see this book being best used as an educational resource in introducing students to the Holocaust or articulating survivors’ experience in a visual format. While the novel of course involves heavy subject matter, there aren’t graphic depictions. There is much emphasis on emotion and loss, as many of the children don’t see their family ever again after being separated from one another. The book also provides a really informative section on key terms and a timeline tracing the time period. Overall, if you’re interested in this title, I’d recommend borrowing it from the library. However, if you are an educator interested, I recommend adding it to your classroom library or utilizing as a supplemental resource while teaching the Holocaust.

Survivors of the Holocaust: True Stories of Six Extraordinary Children comes out on October 1, 2019.

This review is based on an advance reader’s copy. By no means did receiving this copy affect my thoughts or opinions.

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Do you have any of these graphic novels on your TBR? What are some of your favorite graphic novels? Share in the comments! 

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