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Username: Evie By Joe Sugg

Username: Evie By Joe Sugg
Published 22 Sept 2015 By Running Press

Goodreads

Summary: Like anyone who feels as though they just don’t fit in, Evie dreams of a place of safety. When times are tough, all she wants is a chance to escape from reality and be herself.

Despite his failing health, Evie’s father comes close to creating such a virtual idyll. Passing away before it’s finished, he leaves her the key in the form of an app, and Evie finds herself transported to a world where the population is influenced by her personality. Everyone shines in her presence, until her devious cousin, Mallory, discovers the app… and the power to cause trouble in paradise.

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I tried.

I have a lot to say about Username: Evie. As you may already know by now, Username: Evie is written by Joe Sugg, an extremely popular British YouTuber. Maybe just like every other celebrity book, you go in with some kind of expectation, or in some cases, very little expectations.

Username: Evie is a graphic novel, so really, its much easier to grasp but it came with a lot of flaws.

The plot of Username: Evie was simple. Evie is an outcast, and one day, she discovers a whole new world / virtual reality world created by her father. The new world is fuelled by positivity and was designed to make Evie feel welcomed and loved… until her cousin comes and spreads negativity and it becomes a zombie apocalypse.

One of the major problems I had with Username: Evie was the plot.There was not enough world building after Evie comes into the new world. Not much about it was explained, other than its a safe place for her. There were a lot of holes — why is her cousin like that, why does her cousin become super evil in the new world, how is she allowed to come into the world, how negativity spreads and makes everyone zombies.

You get it.

The transition between one scene to another is too fast — more could have been done in terms of world building, explaining the relationships between Evie and her cousin. Its very difficult to feel much for any of the characters when there’s a serious lack in character development and introduction.

For a graphic novel, it came with a lot of flaws, especially since its the first book in the series. I’m not sure how its going to pick up, or if it will explore more into the world and characters but it is something I hope is addressed in the next book.

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The Worrier’s Guide To Life By Gemma Correll

The Worrier’s Guide To Life By Gemma Correll
Published 26 May 2015 by Andrews McMeel Publishing

Goodreads

Summary: If you’re floundering in life, striking out in love, struggling to pay the rent, and worried about it all — you’re in luck! World Champion Worrier and Expert Insomniac Gemma Correll is here to assure you that it could be much, much worse.

In her hugely popular comic drawings, Gemma Correll dispenses dubious advice and unreliable information on life as she sees it, including The Dystopian Zodiac, Reward Stickers for Grown-Ups, Palm Reading for Millennials, and a Map of the Introvert’s Heart. For all you fellow agonizers, fretters, and nervous wrecks, this book is for you. Read it and weep…with laughter

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I was so excited to discover this book on goodreads that I immediately looked it up at my local library.

The Worrier’s Guide is essentially a collection of pictures that reflect a worrier and their view of the world.

I had expected the Worrier’s Guide to be a funny tongue-in-cheek way of describing what anxiety is. Sadly, I couldn’t find it too relatable. Very little pages resonated with me, and I am someone who has anxiety. Then again, I should say that different people go through different things and anxiety isn’t the same for everyone.

The book fell short of my expectations. It isn’t a book you need, but it’s a book that you can flip through quickly at the library or the bookstore. Interesting pictures, hilarious in parts, but nothing to really hold my attention.

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Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? By Roz Chast

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? By Roz Chast
Published 6 May 2014 By Bloomsbury USA

Goodreads

Summary#1 New York Times Bestseller

2014 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST

In her first memoir, Roz Chast brings her signature wit to the topic of aging parents. Spanning the last several years of their lives and told through four-color cartoons, family photos, and documents, and a narrative as rife with laughs as it is with tears, Chast’s memoir is both comfort and comic relief for anyone experiencing the life-altering loss of elderly parents.

When it came to her elderly mother and father, Roz held to the practices of denial, avoidance, and distraction. But when Elizabeth Chast climbed a ladder to locate an old souvenir from the “crazy closet”—with predictable results—the tools that had served Roz well through her parents’ seventies, eighties, and into their early nineties could no longer be deployed.

While the particulars are Chast-ian in their idiosyncrasies—an anxious father who had relied heavily on his wife for stability as he slipped into dementia and a former assistant principal mother whose overbearing personality had sidelined Roz for decades—the themes are universal: adult children accepting a parental role; aging and unstable parents leaving a family home for an institution; dealing with uncomfortable physical intimacies; managing logistics; and hiring strangers to provide the most personal care.

An amazing portrait of two lives at their end and an only child coping as best she can, Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant will show the full range of Roz Chast’s talent as cartoonist and storyteller.

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Heartbreaking, raw and hilarious all in one, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? is one of the best graphic memoirs I have read so far.

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant is a story of the author and her parents. They’re a little bit quirky but absolutely adorable. I kept turning the pages and finished it in one sitting.

Can’t We Talk About takes for a more heart-wrenching turn when her parents fall ill and she struggled with medical bills, taking care of them and having to juggle her parents and her family. It was increasingly difficult for her to cope, as evidently, it was difficult for her parents to cope being apart from each other.

Can’t We Talk About made me weep. I kept thinking of my own parents and now that they’re ageing I wonder what the future will be like. It is impossible to not look at your own life and your parents’ lives when reading this book — it makes you think so much about what is going to happen (or has happened). I absolutely loved her parents. Their love for each other is eternal, and its evident even to the end. It is heartwarming to read about it and I feel like the memoir has given me an opportunity to witness true love.

I’ve been reading a lot of memoir graphic novels as of late, and this is one that will stay with me for a very long time. Its such a simple and accessible story, yet so powerful and packed with emotions. It is raw and beautiful, especially the sketches of her mother at the end. I absolutely loved this book and I highly recommend it.

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Friends With Boys By Faith Erin Hicks

Friends With Boys By Faith Erin Hicks
Published 28 Feb 2012 by First Second

Goodreads

Summary: After years of homeschooling, Maggie is starting high school. It’s pretty terrifying.

Maggie’s big brothers are there to watch her back, but ever since Mom left it just hasn’t been the same.

Besides her brothers, Maggie’s never had any real friends before. Lucy and Alistair don’t have lots of friends either. But they eat lunch with her at school and bring her along on their small-town adventures.

Missing mothers…distant brothers…high school…new friends… It’s a lot to deal with. But there’s just one more thing.

MAGGIE IS HAUNTED.

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I seem to be in the minority when I say I didn’t quite enjoy this book.

The title of this book is a little misleading. I was under the impression that it would focus more on the home schooling to high school transition, adolescence and boys but it turned out to be something quite different.

I didn’t understand one of the main arcs of the story, in which the main character is haunted by a ghost. It was never truly explained why she was haunted and it didn’t seem like the haunting played that much of an importance to the story. I didn’t understand the ending at all. I’m so confused and I don’t exactly know where this story is supposed to be heading.

There were some funny parts and I really enjoyed the family dynamics in this story. I wish it was explained in more detail what happened to their mother, but still, her brothers were extremely entertaining.

Friends With Boys is an okay book. It had its shining moments but it didn’t have a lasting impression.

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Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir By Liz Prince

Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir By Liz Prince
Published 26 Aug 2014 By Zest Books

Goodreads

Summary: Growing up, Liz Prince wasn’t a girly girl, dressing in pink tutus or playing pretty princess like the other girls in her neighborhood. But she wasn’t exactly one of the guys, either. She was somewhere in between. But with the forces of middle school, high school, parents, friendship, and romance pulling her this way and that, “the middle” wasn’t exactly an easy place to be.

Tomboy follows award-winning author and artist Liz Prince through her early years and explores–with humor, honesty, and poignancy–what it means to “be a girl.”

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I’m so happy I picked up Tomboy. Tomboy is another memoir written in graphic novel form and I’ve come to love this form of memoir. The illustrations bring the story to life and makes the story accessible. Tomboy, as the title suggests is about Liz Price’s childhood as a tomboy. She doesn’t fall into any of the categories — Liz simply likes boy clothes, boy toys and liked being friends with boys. But when you’re a kid and you don’t like wearing dresses as a girl, you get bullied for being different. And that’s exactly what happened to Liz.

Liz struggles with bullying and finding her identity. She doesn’t fit in with the boys (because she’s a girl) and she doesn’t fit in with the girls (because she doesn’t like dresses) — so what exactly is she?

I enjoyed how the story progressed. Liz eventually found people who accepted her and loved her for who she is. She eventually became comfortable in her own skin and showed much character development. I loved how one of her friends asked her if she hated girls or if she hated the expectations put on girls by society. Tomboy doesn’t only have a great moral but it also makes you think about our society, their expectations and trying to live up to its status quo.

The key take-away from this memoir is that you can get bullied for anything, but one should stand their ground and be themselves. Tomboy has a great message and can help so many kids growing up who feel pressured to stick to the status quo. Perhaps the only qualm is that it does contain swearing and may come off as inappropriate for kids — so exercise caution — but keep in mind that it is only a minor issue. But if you don’t mind it so much, I would highly recommend this for kids and adults alike.

The story as a whole has much to offer and delivers the story of bullying with a punch. It is a raw and honest memoir of a tomboy and it discusses issues that are still prevalent in our current society.

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Through The Woods By Emily Carroll

Through The Woods By Emily Carroll
Published 15 July 2014 By Margaret K. McElderry Books

Goodreads

Summary‘It came from the woods. Most strange things do.’

Five mysterious, spine-tingling stories follow journeys into (and out of?) the eerie abyss.

These chilling tales spring from the macabre imagination of acclaimed and award-winning comic creator Emily Carroll.

Come take a walk in the woods and see what awaits you there…

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Holy effin crap. Through The Woods has got to be one of the creepiest graphic novels I have ever read.

I don’t read much horror because I’m a scaredy cat but I’ve seen Through The Woods everywhere that I just needed to get my hands on it. And boy, was it thrilling!

Through The Woods is creepy. The level of creepiness probably differs but hey, as a scaredy cat, this is definity high on the creepy scale. The stories itself aren’t that different or special from your typical “monsters in the dark” type of stories but combined with a brilliant and dark graphic and colour elements, it makes for a brilliant story. The graphics in this book is fantastic. Throughout the book it keeps mostly to the reds, blacks and whites, maintaining a darker colour scheme that leaves you feeling terrified.

There are five different stories, an introduction and a conclusion piece but the colouring and pictures really tied the different stories together making a seamless transition from story to story. The creepier stories were definitely saved for last. I have to say The Nesting Place is my favourite of the five. It was super creepy and there was one part where I flipped the page and the image shocked me I almost screamed.

Intense, creepy but also quick paced, Through The Woods is a great horror graphic novel. Definitely one to read.

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The Wicked + The Divine Vol 1: The Faust Act By Kieron Gillen

The Wicked + The Divine Vol 1: The Faust Act (Issues #1-#5) By Kieron Gillen
Published 12 Nov 2014 by Image Comics

Disclaimer: I received a copy c/o the Publisher via Netgalley (through the ‘Read Now’ option).

Goodreads

Summary: Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead.

The team behind critical tongue-attractors like Young Avengers and PHONOGRAM reunite to create a world where gods are the ultimate pop stars and pop stars are the ultimate gods. But remember: just because you’re immortal, doesn’t mean you’re going to live forever.

Collects THE WICKED + THE DIVINE #1-5

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The Wicked + The Divine is really different than anything I’ve read before. It is exactly as the summary says — it’s about twelve gods who are powerful and worshiped, and how a click of their fingers can cause deadly destruction. It’s told through our main character, Laura’s POV. Laura is a huge fan of the gods, to the point where she wants to be one of them. She develops a relationship with Luci and later finds herself embroiled in trouble, biting off more than she can chew.

I really did enjoy The Wicked + The Divine. I do feel like it has a lot to offer and the storyline is definitely interesting. However, the beginning (and some other parts) were a little difficult for me to understand, making it hard for me to really enjoy the book until much later. The beginning arc I felt weren’t entirely explained and eventually kind of got lost in the whole mess of things going on — and trust me, there is A LOT that is going on. But I’m glad I pushed through and read on because the plot gets interesting and certainly a lot easier to digest once you familiarize yourself with everything.

Aside from the plot the graphics is absolutely divine. I loved the artwork and the colours used throughout and the covers, my goodness, are so beautiful. I’ve been curious about a The Wicked + The Divine for a while now, so I’m definitely glad I got to read this while it’s up on Netgalley. The edition available on Netgalley collects issues #1-#5 and is available through Read Now (at the time of writing). If you can get your hands on the first volume, I would say give it a try and don’t be discouraged if you get confused. It does get better, you just need a little patience to push through!

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Smile By Raina Telgemeier

Smile By Raina Telgemeier
Smile #1
Published 1 Feb 2010 By GRAPHIX

Goodreads

Summary: From the artist of BSC Graphix comes this humorous coming-of-age true story about the dental drama that ensues after a trip-and-fall mishap.

Raina just wants to be a normal sixth grader. But one night after Girl Scouts she trips and falls, severely injuring her two front teeth. What follows is a long and frustrating journey with on-again, off-again braces, surgery, embarrassing headgear, and even a retainer with fake teeth attached. And on top of all that, there’s still more to deal with: a major earthquake, boy confusion, and friends who turn out to be not so friendly.

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I am in love with Smile.

Smile is such a simple story, but possesses so much depth and elements that many can easily resonate with. Smile begins as a story that follows the author’s long and draining four year dental journey and her progression as a teenager from middle school to high school.

The story is presented as a graphic novel, where the pictures are simple, clean and coloured. I really enjoyed this aspect of the book because it helped me really visualise Raina’s traumatising dental drama and brings across the emotions very well.

The book begins with Raina at the dentist to fix her overbite problems, but later ends up injuring her two front teeth when she trips and falls. As her four year long dental journey begins, Raina also begins having to deal with boy trouble and terrible friends.

One of the main thing that Raina struggles with is bullying. Raina has terrible friends: they call her names, make fun of her, expose her secrets and are generally very unsupportive and awful. But the thing that makes me love Raina is that despite all of that, she stays strong and eventually finds real friends that support and love her.

I felt a lot for Raina and I could definitely resonate with her on so many levels, starting from terrible friends to having that first crush. In a way, it felt like I was watching my own story come to life (sans the dental issues). It was extremely heartwarming in the end, when Raina was able to lift her face and find her smile again.

Smile is a middle grade book, and certainly one that I would recommend everyone of all ages to read, especially the younger ones. Smile is one of those books I wish I read in my teenage years and would have definitely enjoyed. I feel like Smile could potentially help a lot of growing kids realise that things will be okay and that it is okay to have braces, and if you have friends that are constantly bringing you down, you should leave and not put yourself in that toxic situation.

I am so glad that I stumbled upon this gem of a book and in light of Anti Bullying Week next week, I am definitely going to be recommending this book to everyone.

Smile is an all-round heartwarming book with touching elements that will definitely make you want more.

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