Book Review: Graffiti Moon

“Humor without sadness is just a pie in the face.”

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley is a delightful book. The action all takes place in one night as Lucy Dervish searches for Shadow, the graffiti artist who is right under her nose.

The characters in this book are so ace as are the conflicts between them. Although the POV shifts between Lucy and Ed, everything going on with Jazz, Leo, Daisy, and Dylan is well-developed. I love the complicated relationship Lucy’s parents have and even the information we find out about Bert and his wife.

I also dig that the book is a love letter to at least three art forms: poetry, glass blowing, and graffiti.

Another major plus in this book’s favor is that I would be totally down to read about this night from Jazz & Leo’s points of view or Dylan & Daisy’s. Okay, maybe not Dylan and Daisy’s, but definitely Jazz & Leo’s. I mean, yes, I do know a little about what Jazz & Leo’s night was like because of the brief bits of poetry included, but…yeah. I would totally read their story as well even though I know how it turns out.

While the book is a romance, I really like that Ed and Lucy are really striking up a friendship and being open with each other in interesting ways. Man, night time is the right time, yeah? Nothing like that cocoon of darkness to make people honest.

Source: Library

one week left

One week left in NaBloPoMo, and I am hitting the wall. I have one book left to review, and, quite frankly, it’s exhausting posting every day. So today is my “I don’t feel like posting so I’m not” post, and we’ll see what tomorrow brings. I only have ideas for two other posts. Two! And seven days left! I need to regroup and think, obvs.

Any suggestions?

Graphic Novel Review: Rosa Parks: The Life of a Civil Rights Heroine

Today is Thanksgiving, so I thought it fitting to post this review today. The election is over, and there are always people who need to be convinced to vote, or there are questions going around asking people why they’re voting.

My answer is always the same: I always vote. And I always vote because too many people have died and bled and fought for me to have that right.

So, today, I am grateful for women and men like Rosa Parks who fought tirelessly for me to have the right to vote and the right to live without knowing the humiliation of segregation. I am also thankful for those like Rob Shone and Nik Spender who recognize that the stories of the men and women who participated in the Civil Rights Movement are so important that they need to be told–and even the most reluctant reader needs to be able to read/engage with them.

Rosa Parks: The Life of Civil Rights Heroine is an introduction to the life and work of Rosa Parks. The reader learns about her life as a child and her work as a civil rights champion. There’s so much more to her story than the fact that she refused to give up her seat, and this helps us understand more about her. I also really like and appreciate the inclusion of the history/rise of Jim Crow laws. Really ace inclusion of historical context. Plus, the pictures are amazing and help make the story pop.

Source: mine

Book Reviews: The Complete Maus & Night

Never shall I forget those moments that murdered my God and my soul and turned my dream to ashes. — from Night by Elie Wiesel

I have been having a hard time figuring out how to talk about/review Art Spiegelman‘s The Complete Maus and Elie Wiesel‘s Night.

I’m still not sure, actually. What I do know is that with the recent bombings in Gaza, the sharing of real life experiences like these two become ever more important to remind us that there are real live people who are ensconced in and affected by large scale ideological fighting. Real people with families and friends who love and laugh and hurt and lose.

Who have to recover and relive these frightening experiences over and over again.

Who pass their trauma onto their children who then have to make sense of it.

That doesn’t mean hope doesn’t exist within either of these books. It does. It just gets stuck in the mire and has to be excavated and pulled.

Source: Library


I signed up for NaBloPoMo, hence the posts every day this month. I’ve been pretty good about it, only missing two days of real content so far because of exhaustion/outside interests. Today is going to be my third. I hit the grading wall earlier today. (Grading, grading, always with the grading.) I also realized that I’m in a crabby mood. Crabby mood does not make for good posts. Also, I’m tired. So consider this a longer explanation of why I’m not posting a review today. I should be back in the swing of things again tomorrow.

Blogging every day probably won’t continue in December. For one thing, I’m almost caught up on all the overdue reviews. For another, the first week of December is the end of the semester, which means even more grading. I know the students think they have it bad, but I’m going to have to grade some major projects along with catching up on the grading I’m not going to finish before this weekend’s break.

Anyway, no whining here. Just a heads up for what’s going on and why all the fantastic original content will slooooow down. I do enjoy posting with regularity, though, and will try to sort out some kind of schedule for myself in the future. As for tonight, no review. Tomorrow, though!

Book Review: Now Playing: Stoner & Spaz II

“You can major in business and still make movies. You don’t have to be one thing; you can be a lot of things.”

I was trolling the library for light and fun books to read, so I picked up…Now Playing: Stoner & Spaz II by Ron Koertge? Yeah, I don’t know what I was thinking either. While the book is a fast read, it is definitely not light-hearted or fun. I’ll try not to let that affect my review too much, but, honestly, I found the story kind of bleak. Even though it’s ultimately hopeful! But yeah.

The story is told from Ben’s point of view, and while I wouldn’t call him whiny, I would call him negative. And I was shocked by it! Was he that negative in the first book? Probably! But I was most likely in a different mood then.

Bleak Ben attitude aside the characters are ace (love Marcie & Grandma & AJ and I even like what I learn about Colleen, though she is exhausting). So basically the book is full of awesome female characters with wonderful shading. I was just in the mood for something a little lighter, so didn’t respond to this book so well. But I liked it. So the perfect book if you’re in the mood for something more serious.

Source: Library

no review!

Just got home from the church picnic, exhausted. Not sure I’ll wake up in time to do a review today. Tomorrow then!

Graphic Novel Reviews: Raina Telgemeier

Over the past few months, I devoured five of Raina Telgemeier‘s graphic novels: the entire Baby-Sitters Club graphic novels collection and Drama.

I was a huge BSC reader back in the day, so I was excited when I first saw/heard about the graphic novels. I was interested to see how Telgemeier was going to translate the diary-heavy first-person texts to the page. Also, as someone who loved and read The Truth about Stacey approximately 8923473 times, I was really, really interested to see how Telgemeier was going to address the bedwetting thing.

What’s really sad is I had Kristy’s Great Idea on my shelf for over a year before I read it. Over a year! I have no idea why I was so resistant to starting it because I loved it. In fact, I loved all of them. The biggest surprise to me was how much I loved Claudia and Mean Janine. I didn’t remember much about it going in, but the Mimi story hit me particularly hard. My grandmother passed away earlier this year after having a stroke, so every single frame about Mimi dealing with the frustration of the stroke’s effects kind of made me want to cry. So I found that book particularly touching/moving.

Which leads me to the illustrations. I love Telgemeier’s style. Her characters are so expressive, and the drawings are sharp. The background detail adds to the story. And, obviously, she captures emotionally heavy moments really well (see above re: wanting to cry).  And that’s just in black and white!

Drama by Raina TelgemeierIn color,  Telgemeier’s drawings really pop. Drama was more fun to look at for that reason. Nice, bright colors really make the pictures, story, and characters come alive. Which was really great for Drama because it was about theater and middle school and a musical! So much fun to read, really breezy. I love the diversity of the characters Telgemeier includes in the story.

I should also mention that my daughter devoured Drama after I finished reading it as well.

In conclusion, if you haven’t read any of Raina Telgemeier’s work, you really should. She creates memorable and vibrant characters.

Oh, and I would love a page from Claudia and Mean Janine as a gift. I’m just saying.

Sources: I own Kristy’s Great Idea, got the rest from the library.

Book Review: Son

The Product was what they had carved out of her.

And she missed it. She was suffused with a desperate feeling of loss.

I feel like Son by Lois Lowry is a gift to readers of The Giver. Well, that’s not true. I feel like the first two parts of Son are a gift. I feel like the last part is more of an epilogue for readers who want to know more about Jonas, Kira (of Gathering Blue), and Gabriel and what happened to them.

That’s my way of saying I absolutely LOVED the first two parts of the book and liked the last part okay.

Here’s what I loved:

– Claire. Claire is awesome. She’s so fully drawn and realized. Her heartbreak is my heartbreak. Her triumph is my triumph. Claire is the best.

– I loved revisiting the community from The Giver. I especially liked seeing it from another perspective and learning more about how other parts of the community Jonas couldn’t/didn’t see operate. I wonder, now, how many other people stopped taking their pills or flirted with learning more. How many others had a dissatisfaction. And what about the people who enforced and made the laws? So many more possibilities opened up once I read about the community again.

Although, wow, that place is so heartbreaking. The lack of love, of real joy. How absent and distant everyone is. I think Lowry really shows why living that way is terrible while at the same time making the reader understand how some people would think that’s a better way to do things.

– I don’t know exactly what to say about the Birthmothers and their lives, but I do enjoy the commentary Lowry is making about how some people view mothers.

– Einar. Let me just say that if I were participating in Yuletide in any capacity, I would be all over some Claire/Einar fanfiction. And I’m not a huge fanfic reader.

– The world-building in all three sections is stellar.

– I also love Lowry’s final commentary on evil (or what I perceive her point to be): Though evil may try to vanquish that which is good, it never truly succeeds, especially because it discounts the amazing heart and willingness of people to endure.

Why the third part didn’t work for me:

– I don’t want to spoil the story, so I’ll just say the characterization in that part wasn’t as strong, and the plot felt rushed. While things moved quickly in the first two parts, I felt like so much more was going on and that I was so absorbed in the world. I didn’t have that same sense in the third part.

In fact, I would argue that the first two parts mirror The Giver and Gathering Blue, and the third part mimics the style of Messenger, which would explain my reaction to this book.

In conclusion: A wonderful ending to the mythology of The Giver, though I wish the entire book had been as absorbing as the first two parts of its narrative.

Source: Library

Picture Book Review: Grace for President

Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio (illustrated by LeUyen Pham) is about a girl who decides to run for class president because she notices that there have only been men presidents. Each kid then represents a state and its electoral college, so Grace and her opponent campaign to win electoral votes.

Yes, this story teaches about the electoral college in a fun way. Yes, the racial and gender implications of Grace (a little black girl) running against an athletic, white boy are present.

But you know what I loved most about this story? Grace is ADORABLE. Not only is she adorable, but she has natural hair. And not only is her hair natural, but she has locs!

Reading about Grace made me so happy. She is so awesome. And like a little Leslie Knope, honestly. A little brown Leslie Knope with locs.

So, yes, the illustrations are stellar, and I am forever grateful to DiPucchio and Pham for introducing such a smart, vibrant, and beautiful little girl as the main character of this book.

Source: mine!