Graphic Novels Galore

I've fallen pretty far behind in my reviews, so I thought I would combine four graphic novels that I read at the end of May/beginning of June.
Title: Breaking Up
Author: Aimee Friedman/Christine Norrie
Pages: 190 Pub Date: 2007
Six Words? Breakups with friends are even harder
My Thoughts?
This was such a fun read. Chloe, Erika, Isabel, and MacKenzie are all besties at an artsy school referred to as "Fashion High". The novel is told from Chloe's point of view as she deals with the changes junior year has on their group. Gossip, falling in love with a geeky boy, parties, deciding whether or not to have sex for the first time, and ultimately back-stabbing betrayals force the group to "break up". This graphic novel shows the importance of friendships, and how high school drama can crack even the tightest knitted groups. It's about self discovery and growth. A fabulous coming of age tale.

Title: Death Note Book One
Author: Tsugumi Ohba/Takeshi Obata
Pages: 200 Pub Date: 2005
Six Words? Opportunity to play god, would you?
My Thoughts?
This is my first introduction to manga (still trying to figure out how to pronounce it correctly!). Overall I was pretty impressed. Don't get me wrong, it took me a couple of pages to get used to reading backwards - especially the bubbles, but it was well worth it. (Okay, I lie, I was still making mistakes and reading the wrong bubble/box toward the end of the novel too! Shhh...it'll be our secret.) Death Note opens with a bunch of gods (?) playing a game when one, a bored Shinigami named Ryuk, happens to mention that he dropped his Death Note on Earth. We find out that a Shinigami is sort of like a death god, but honestly, he reminds me of the god Loki or Pan. What's a Death Note you might ask? Weeelllll, it's a book where the beholder can write within the pages the name of anyone whose face they can picture and BAM the person will die (of a heart attack unless you give more specific instructions). It turns out that Light, a brilliant high school student, finds the book and decides to use is for the good of humanity. In other words, to kill off all of the criminals. Death Note questions the notion of good and evil, what power can do to anyone with the best of intentions, and leaves the audience - ME! - curious how it will all end. This is the first in the series and I'm pretty into checking out more. In fact, I have a couple of them coming to me from the library. *smile*

Title: SKIM
Author: Mariko Tamaki/ Jillian Tamaki
Pages: 144 Pub Date: May 2009
Six Words? Goth girl discovers self and sexuality
My thoughts?
There was just so much to love about this graphic novel, especially the illustrations. In a nutshell, it is the story of Skim and her struggles with being slightly chubby, insecure, and rebellious in an 'emotional goth' and into wiccan way. And oh yeah, as if she wasn't already an outsider, she's fallen in love with her teacher, Ms. Archer. Let me tell you something, there were so many pages that were just beautiful: artwork and writing. For example, the climatic kiss between Ms. Archer and Skim is bashfully led up to a two page spread with no words, just the illustration of the two kissing. And then, even more appropriate, the emotional setting is created, the forbidden desire of it all, as the novel moves along accordingly, not really making a reference to the kiss. Oooh, and my favorite line? "I had a dream that I put my hands inside my chest and held my heart to try to keep it still..." As Skim's relationship with Ms. Archer unfolds the writing is constructed so that the reader is *not* omniscient, we become the adolescent girl asking question: How does Ms. Archer really feel? It's like watching an emotional train wreck, except all of a sudden through the language and artwork, I realize I'm on that train and I can jump off!
Title: Blankets
Author: Craig Thompson
Pages: 592 Pub Date: 2003
Six Words? Innocence of first love truly captured.
My Thoughts?
The protagonist (and author) Craig shares his intimately what it was like growing up and falling in love for the first time. Initially, I found the novel to be a bit dull. Had it not been a quick read in the beginning I could easily had set it aside. But because I could just breeze through the pages, I maintained, and damn if I'm not thrilled that I did. Blankets is eerily one of those novels that transports you back into your own history. It doesn't matter that your first love story might have begun differently, the innocence, the desperation, the belief and desire of something lasting forever is all there. Then, as childlike fantasies come roaring back, the doubt and immediate pressure of such overwhelming emotions settles in. I could understand from both Craig's point of view and Raina's. Oh and while all of that breathless love is going on, Thompson throws in a blanket of defining spirituality, losing faith, divorce, alienation, peer pressure, and everything else that makes a superb coming of age story. Blankets is definitely one of my favorite reads this year. I'm disappointed that I have to return it to the library soon. It makes me feel connected and reminiscent to my past just seeing it on the bookshelf.


  1. I have never read a graphic novel, but will definitely look into it. I shall look out for these.

  2. It took me a while to get used to reading everything in the right order in Death Note too. And longish while :P

    Skim and Blankets sound so good! I plan on getting Skim soon, but sadly Blankets has been a bit hard to get a hold of :(

  3. Scrap girl- I can't believe how much I'm enjoying Graphic Novels.

    Nymeth - I just got the next two Death Notes from the library. Maybe if I read them consecutively it won't be as difficult? :P I'm sorry that Blankets is difficult to get a hold of. I definitely wish that I owned it.

  4. Woohoo! All four of these look great, and here I thought I was gonna run out of graphic novels to read. Thanks for the awesome reviews :)


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