The Golden Twine by Jo Rioux: review

The Golden Twine by Jo Rioux

Series: Cat’s Cradle #1

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

Age Group: Middle Grade

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure

Publisher: Kids Can Press

Release Date:  August 1st 2012

Synopsis: To most, Suri is just an orphan in a traveling caravan. But Suri is determined to prove she has the mettle of a monster tamer. When she unknowingly takes something valuable from a caitsith — a cat monster — she will have to quickly harness her powers … if she even has them!

My thoughts: Suri, an orphaned girl who lives in a traveling caravan, believes that she is a monster tamer. To the people around her, however, she is just a young girl. The persistent Suri is determined to prove to her peers that she really is monster tamer. One day Suri takes something very important from a caitsith without even knowing it. In order to protect herself, Suri must use her powers and skills as a monster tamer…

This was a fun, short graphic novel to read. The Golden Twine is certainly not a perfect graphic novel but it was still able to keep me reading until the last page.

Suri is a heroine that is easily likeable with her feisty and persistent personality. She is a very determined young girl and I like that about her…Even though that determination gets Suri into unneeded trouble most of the time. The caravan that Suri lives in was an interesting setting. It had a mix of a gypsy camp and circus-like feel to it and I absolutely adored that. It’s not everyday that I see a graphic novel with this particular setting.

The area that Rioux really excels in is art. The blending of colors is beautiful, and the color pallets chooses for each panel set the mood fantastically. Rioux is able to draw the expressions on the character’s faces clearly. The character designs are very pretty. I am particularly in love with Suri’s outfit. And the way the monsters are drawn make them look menacing and dangerous but not to frightening.The illustrations alone are a good reason to buy this graphic novel.

The only problem I had with The Golden Twine is that fact that it was so short. There isn’t much character development, and I wish that information about the fantasy world Rioux created was revealed slowly instead of being told all at ounce at the beginning.

Even though The Golden Twine does have its flaws I do want to spend more time with Suri, and read more about her adventures. The Golden Twine does end in a cliffhanger so that is another reason. So when the next installment comes out, I will be hunting it down.

*An advanced copy was given to me by the publisher via Netgalley

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Drama by Raina Telgemeier: review

DramaDrama by Raina Telgemeier

Paperback

Standalone

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Genre: YA Fiction, MG Fiction, LGBT, Romance, Realistic

Publisher: GRAPHIX

Synopsis: Callie loves theater. And while she would totally try out for her middle school’s production of Moon Over Mississippi, she can’t really sing. Instead she’s the set designer for the drama department stage crew, and this year she’s determined to create a set worthy of Broadway on a middle-school budget. But how can she, when she doesn’t know much about carpentry, ticket sales are down, and the crew members are having trouble working together? Not to mention the onstage AND offstage drama that occurs once the actors are chosen. And when two cute brothers enter the picture, things get even crazier!

My thoughts: I read Telgemeier’s Smile and loved it so when I found out that she had created another graphic novel I did a little happy-dance.

I think that Drama is just as good as Smile if not better. The way the graphic novel is told through “Acts” instead of chapters fit very well with the story of the Drama Club The art was clean and colorful so I couldn’t help but love it. Here is a sample of the first couple of pages.

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As you can see the graphic novel opens up with an audience, a stage, and the very awesome characters of this novel walking across it. I thought that this was a great way to build the play-like atmosphere in this fun graphic novel.

I loved Callie and her purple and pink hair! I thought that she was a very loveable, quirky, and relatable character. She is the main character in Drama and she fulfills the part well. She made me laugh and put emotional investment in her. I loved her passion for theater and her determination. She also has the best ideas! There are also two other characters that this graphic novel focuses on a lot too: Jesse and Justin (who is hilarious). They are both twins and have contrasting personalities. Justin being more outgoing and Jesse being a little shy. I found them both to be as loveable as Callie. The other Drama club members add more fun to the story and I appreciated them.

There is also a some LGBT characters in this story. I thought it was handled realistically and in an unbiased way. I think it should also be said that although there is romance in Drama it is not the main part of the story.

This graphic novel would be great addition to a bookshelf. I think that Drama would be a great read for lovers of the Young Adult genre. I also believe that this graphic novel is appropriate for the Middle Grade age group.

Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgal: review

Anya's Ghost Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgal

HardcoverPaperback

Standalone

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Genre: YA Fiction, Paranormal, Mystery

Publisher: First Second

Synopsis: Anya could really use a friend. But her new BFF isn’t kidding about the “Forever” part…

Of all the things Anya expected to find at the bottom of an old well, a new friend was not one of them. Especially not a new friend who’s been dead for a century.

Falling down a well is bad enough, but Anya’s normal life might actually be worse. She’s embarrassed by her family, self-conscious about her body, and she’s pretty much given up on fitting in at school. A new friend—even a ghost—is just what she needs.

Or so she thinks.

My thoughts: I found this graphic novel on the shelf of the library and immediately grabbed it off the shelf after seeing the cover. I read it and came to one conclusion: this graphic novel is fantastic.

Anya’s Ghost was never boring and within the first pages Anya has already fallen down a well, has an unpleasant encounter with a skeleton, and meets a ninety year-old ghost that has been living there quite a long time.

The illustrations are beautiful. After finishing the story I found myself wanting to frame all the pages on my wall. I just could not stop staring at them. The art is detailed but not overwhelmingly so and the use of the colors black, grey, white, and hues of blue gives off an eerie, dark, and mysterious vibe which fits very well with the story. The expressions on the character’s faces are clearly drawn and you can always tell what they are feeling. One of my favorite pages to stare at is this one:

I also loved the message that was in the story: the acceptance of one’s identity and heritage.

Anya Borzakovskaya is spectacular. She is sarcastic, negative, and has the normal teenage insecurities. Her family immigrated to the US from Russia before she started school and ever since she has been trying to fit in. I thought she was a very relatable and loveable character. Her snarkiness is much-loved by me. When I finished the book I was so sad because I wanted to read more about Anya. Emily (the ghost girl) was strange from the beginning. I could tell that sometime was wrong with her but I could never guess what. I did have some sympathy for her although it was not a lot.

When the ending came I almost cried. Not because it was a really sad ending but because the story was over! I wanted more of the awesome art, Anya, and the creepiness of the story. I am really looking forward to more of Brosgal’s works.

Anya’s Ghost is definitely a book you will want on your bookshelf! I am axiously waiting for the next time I go to the bookstore so I can buy my own copy of Anya’s Ghost.

Things you should know (spoiler alert): There is some bad language in this graphic novel even though it only appears about two times throughout the entire story. There is also a theme on murder which might be unsettling for some readers.