The Whale Library by Zidrou Verdict: This was very weird and very sad and very beautiful which makes it feel very French (thought the authors are Belgian).
A poetic fable for grown-ups full of wisdom and beauty, by two Belgian masters of graphic storytelling.
Out on the high seas lives a whale unlike any other, who spends her days reading stories to all who will listen, taken from the vast library hidden in her belly. When the whale bumps into a sea postman’s boat one fateful night, it’s the beginning of an extraordinary friendship. But not every story can have a happy ending…
A great example of why a “picture book” does not equate a children’s book as some people still think. Be aware that this book is graphic. There are entrails and beheadings and genitals (not all in one scene though, thank god). It suited the message focusing on the beauty of life and how death can be so senseless sometimes. Ultimately, I’d say this was a sad book. The end brought a little light back to the story, but it was a rueful hope, filled with knowledge of cruelty and injustice.
Hey y’all! As appears to be my habit, I’ve got my monthly tbr ready for ya halfway through the month. xD And as always, I’ve already read several of them! So I’m doing a really great job staying on track! xD
This month I’m largely just reading some of the books that came out this year that I featured in my Fast Forward Friday posts, but never got a chance to read. Now’s my chance, because I’m MAKING it my chance!!
Fast Forward Friday: Graphic Novels
Ahhh, I love me some graphic novels!! I don’t think I actually featured The Magic Fish but I know it was in my list. I don’t know why I didn’t use it, now. I was reminded of that one from Sabrina’s post here about unusual story structures, which only made me want to read it more! Delicates is a sequel to Sheets which I stumbled upon and adored last year. And then there’s Graceling which is a graphic novel adaptation of a book I loved years ago — and still did in this new version (which yes I already finished because I was so excited!!)!
Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is a slightly odd one, because it’s a release of a fairly old book as a graphic novel, and I’m really interested to see how it feels. This one is Graceling by Kristin Cashore and Gareth Hinds! Expected Release:November 16, 2021
Why wait on this one?
I still remember this story vividly, despite having read it years ago, and having read many other books since then. Scenes from this still wander into my mind. Memories of the way I felt when surprised by a twist or a prediction came true leave me breathless. I love and admire this story and these characters so very much.
Of course this main draw of this is the new format of a graphic novel. There are scenes I immediately thought of gleefully, imagining the beauty and violence with which they could be rendered. This is not a terribly kind story at times, and I wonder how the artist will portray those moments. Will it be graphic, gory, as the moments truly were in the book? Will it be more subtle, with the emotions of the characters taking the brunt of the scene? And those adrenaline-pumping chases, the tender snatches of calm, the varied and raw beauty of the land itself… Can’t. Wait.
And finally, since I did read it in 2008 as a young teenager, I’m so so curious to see how my reading of it will compare now to myself thirteen years later and pretty genuinely an adult. I have no doubt I will still love the story. But I’m so excited to step back in time a bit to think excitedly with my young self about how much we love this book.
The beloved New York Times best-selling YA fantasy by Kristin Cashore is now available as a graphic novel, with stunning illustrations by award-winning artist Gareth Hinds.
Katsa is a Graceling, one of the rare people born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she lived a life of privilege until the day her ability to kill a man with her bare hands revealed itself during a royal banquet. Now she acts as her uncle’s enforcer, traveling the kingdom and threatening those who dare oppose him.
But everything changes when she meets Po, a foreign prince Graced with combat skills who is searching for the truth about his grandfather’s disappearance. When Katsa agrees to help him, she never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace—or about a terrible secret that could destroy them all.
With “gorgeous storytelling” (School Library Journal, starred review) and characters “crafted with meticulous devotion” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review), Graceling is a beloved classic that has continued to resonate with readers for over a decade.
If you missed my recent Fast Forward Friday about it, Beast Boy Loves Raven came out yesterday! Oddly though, I actually hadn’t yet read Beast Boy, the second in the series. I’ve had a line on it from the library since it came out last year. I’ve looked at it multiple times and thought, I’m so excited to read this. I read a sample of it in Raven and couldn’t wait, yet once I had the chance, I WAITED!
I’m so glad I did though. 🥰 I finished Beast Boy this morning and was 100% in love with Gar. I hated that I had turned the last page because I desperately wanted to continue on the journey with him!
So THANK GOODNESS that Beast Boy Loves Raven had just become available! I dove immediately into it and plowed through in one sitting. One l o n g sitting, because I kept going back pages to check out the details, or examining all the background elements and characters. If you loved the others, you will preeeetty much definitely love this one. I really hope we see more of Tank and Stella from Beast Boy because I kind of fell in love with them too. Yet the monkey sticks around??
Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is Beast Boy Loves Raven by Kami Garcia and Gabriel Picolo! If you’ve read any past fast forward Friday’s, this may not be a surprise to hear. 😅 Expected Release: September 28, 2021
Why wait on this one?
I was so excited for Raven and Beast Boy when they each came out, and I wasn’t disappointed! This is a wonderful duo tackling another wonderful duo and I expect more great things.
I’ve been watching the show Titans recently (which is hella good by the way) and was wondering if this aspect would ever float around. So far Raven has been gone for basically the whole season so… probably no time soon. But it made me crave it all the more!
Actually my craving started in January when I saw this fan art created of the teen titans, including some really cute ones of Raven & Beast Boy that I adored. I couldn’t find an artist for them, but they’re below!
It seems like years, but it’s only been a few days since Raven Roth recovered her memories, trapped her demon father, Trigon, into her amulet, and had her heart broken for the first time. But she doesn’t have time to think about the past…she has to focus on finding a way to get rid of Trigon for good.
Recommended: not really? Because the plot seemed to take unnecessary and unexplained turns, because the mood was far more grim than anticipated
Hematite is a young vampire who is trying to find her way. As a member of the illustrious Blackwood family, she faces pressure to conform to high society standards, but such grandstanding isn’t for her. And neither is drinking blood—she’d rather have vegetable soup!
So it is that she opts for the more diverse Wolven School, rather than joining the ranks of her fellow vampires at the Diaemus Academy. Being different can be hard, though, and doesn’t always help to make friends. Luckily for Hematite, she has her poetry, as well as Drunela—a draugr who won’t let their differences keep them apart—and Emile, a human boy fascinated by the occult who would just love to take a peek at the Blackwood’s private library. Unfortunately, bridging societal divides isn’t always easy, and can lead to terrible consequences…
You know, at first I was quite enjoying it. Learning about the powers each character has and how they all interact with each other in this world was fun and full of promise. Now that I’ve finished it, though, I’m left feeling confused about why I just read that.
Here are some really short and sweet reviews I wrote back in 2018. I wanted to share these because they’re books I enjoyed and want to have featured somewhere on this blog. Here’s their chance for some shining glory and recognition. 😊
Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s isDelicates by Breanna Thummler! Expected Release: March 16, 2021
Why wait on this one?
Do you see the little tagline that says “From the creator of SHEETS?” Because that’s 99% of why I’m reading this. Sheets was a perfectly sweet little surprise. Like cutting into a cake and finding a warm fudge center.
I’ve come to love middle-grade characters, just as I came to love teaching middle grades. Lit for middle grade is so often wholesome at its core, and I love the reminders of what goodness you can aspire too. Particularly when you’re young and don’t know any differently (hopefully). Plus the humour is at the same level I am still 😅
The artwork is gorgeous! Look at those poppin’ colors! They complemented the first story so well, and I look forward to more. It somehow dances away from being garish and instead brings light and fun to even potentially dark moments.
Marjorie Glatt’s life hasn’t been the same ever since she discovered a group of ghosts hiding in her family’s laundromat. Wendell, who died young and now must wander Earth as a ghost with nothing more than a sheet for a body, soon became one of Marjorie’s only friends. But when Marjorie finally gets accepted by the popular kids at school, she begins to worry that if anyone learns about her secret ghost friends, she’ll be labeled as a freak who sees dead people. With Marjorie’s insistence on keeping Wendell’s ghost identity a secret from her new friends, Wendell begins to feel even more invisible than he already is.
Eliza Duncan feels invisible too. She’s an avid photographer, and her zealous interest in finding and photographing ghosts gets her labeled as “different” by all the other kids in school. Constantly feeling on the outside, Eliza begins to feel like a ghost herself. Marjorie must soon come to terms with the price she pays to be accepted by the popular kids. Is it worth losing her friend, Wendell? Is she partially to blame for the bullying Eliza endures?
Delicates tells a powerful story about what it means to fit in, and those left on the outside. It shows what it’s like to feel invisible, and the importance of feeling seen. Above all, it is a story of asking for help when all seems dark, and bringing help and light to those who need it most.
Recommended: always If you’ve enjoyed the series so far, if you’re looking for a lovely lighthearted story, if you’re interested in Japanese bakemono-animals, if you like to have a little laugh 🙂 Expected Release: March 23, 2021
Legends say that Senzou the Black Fox is one of the most vicious and powerful supernatural beasts to ever roam the land. At least, he used to be. Now, 300 years after he was imprisoned by the Sun Goddess for his bad behavior, Senzou is back — in the form of a small black fox with no powers! Tasked with protecting a young tanuki called Manpachi as he fulfills various tasks for the gods, Senzou must earn his powers back by learning how to be a good guardian to the energetic little pup. Though Senzou is a grumpy and reluctant companion at first, even a hard-hearted fox can be tamed by cuteness… and the little tanuki quickly learns there are some family ties that aren’t decided by blood.
In the third volume, Senzou, Manpachi, and the wolf clan are among humans and investigating a string of missing bakemono. The wolf Hagiri takes this chance to find a small cat spirit he has a bond with, but he can’t ask his clan for help looking for a cat! Hagiri and Senzou make an unlikely duo, but they collide in the search as they discover everything may be more connected than they realized.
This is a strong continuation of the series for sure. In the first installation, we met Manpachi and Senzou and saw their relationship develop. In the second, we learned more about some of the other bakemono they deal with, particularly the wolves. In this one, they’re out of the forest and stuck dealing with some problems around humans. Every book has had a unique plot or element to it, and I hope to see that continue as the world grows more robust.
Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is Parenthesis, a graphic novel memoir by Élodie Durand. And as I’ve said before, graphic novels are so often the most expressive and open medium for memoirs and personal stories. Just look at Banned Book Club! It’s no surprise that I’m ready for this one. Expected Release:February 9, 2021
Why wait on this one?
As always, I pursue stories about experiences I haven’t or can’t (or in this case, hopefully never will) have myself. For Durand, it’s a tumor that emerged on her brain in her teens, causing seizures and memory loss and the identity struggles that come with it. Just when expected to be able to find herself in the world, she instead encounters a physical cause of her loss of self.
Since this book exists… I’m hoping for a happy ending. Or at least, a happy at-the-moment. I’m positive it will be filled with pain and hurt and fear, absolutely. But it seems that so often with those comes inevitable hope (which is itself painful, at times).
Graphic novels are, I think, a perfect medium for memoirs. I stand by that pretty firmly, and I so look forward to this one holding up that tradition.
Julie is barely out of her teens when a tumor begins pressing on her brain, ushering in a new world of seizures, memory gaps, and loss of self. Suddenly, the sentence of her normal life has been interrupted by the opening of a parenthesis that may never close. Based on the real experiences of cartoonist Élodie Durand, Parenthesis is a gripping testament of struggle, fragility, acceptance, and transformation which was deservedly awarded the Revelation Prize of the Angoulême International Comics Festival.