Author: Grace Ellis
Illustrator: Shae Beagle
My rating: 4.5 of 5
Julie lives in a world where magic and mundane go together seamlessly–for instance, her best friend and fellow barista Chet just happens to also be a centaur. Or at least Chet was a centaur, until they tagged along on a date with Julie and her new girlfriend Selena to a back-alley magic show . . . where the magician stole their magic and left them a normal human. Horrors! Now the friends are on a mission to trap this magician and get Chet’s magic back before any more magical people are hurt.
Moonstruck was one of the sweetest, most charming graphic novels I’ve read in a long time. Right from the start, the cute art and pastel palette are just delightful. Add in the marvelous variety of character designs, not only in the main characters but also in the background, and you’ve got a story that’s visually engaging and charming. There’s a huge amount of diversity presented here, too, but (major kudos to the creators) in a way that feels natural and relatable, not forced or contrived. The characters are who they are, and I love them for it. As for the story, a great deal of it is character building and relationships, both romantic and friendships–lots of great friendships here, and the love story is sweet. Add in the coffee-shop dynamic and some light-hearted humor, and you’ve got a pretty cozy story. But then you’ve also got a certain amount of adventure, as these friends deal with Chet’s loss of magic and their subsequent tracking down and defeating of the magician. It’s a good balance. Probably more than anything, I love the characters and how they deal with real, complex emotions and situations. I love that Julie deals with worries and uncertainty, and I really want to see her backstory explored more in future volumes–like, we know she’s not all about being a werewolf, but why does she not like that about herself? In any case, I would definitely recommend this first volume of Moonstruck, and I’m looking forward to reading more.
Written by: Noelle Stevenson & Grace Ellis
Illustrated by: Brooke Allen/Colored by :Maarta Laiho/Lettered by: Aubrey Aiese
Lumberjanes, vol. 1
My rating: 4.5 of 5
At Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hard-Core Lady Types (“Friendship to the Max!”), the counselors aim to inspire girls to gain new skills and face challenges boldly and resourcefully. But one cabin of girls seems to be experiencing more than their usual share of . . . well, strangeness and adventure this summer. Friends April, Molly, Jo, Mal, and Ripley have encountered sea monsters, hipster yetis, and even weird three-eyed foxes in the night that warn them to “beware the kitten holy.” But these brave, determined girls are more than ready to face whatever comes their way–which is good, because they’ve still got to placate their counselor Jen, and it looks like more trouble’s on the horizon.
This first volume of the Lumberjanes graphic novel, Beware the Kitten Holy, was quite the fun read! I didn’t really know what to expect coming into it, but after the fun I had reading Nimona, I was ready for pretty much anything Noelle Stevenson had to offer. Lumberjanes has much of the same offbeat humor and hipster whimsy that I found in Nimona, but with its own quirks, for sure. This graphic novel is set up as though it were a guide for those attending the camp, with each chapter beginning with a page describing a different badge–all rather stuffy in a funny sort of way. Then the rest of the chapter bursts into the crazy fun adventure in which the girls do something that would lead to their earning said badge–usually not in the ways originally intended by the camp leaders. The stories are fun–exciting, adventuresome, and quirky. There’s a noted penchant for each chapter requiring some particular skill to be used or some puzzle to be solved for the girls to proceed safely–and the way in which the girls are able to pull from their individual gifts to answer these challenges is very reminiscent of tales like The Mysterious Benedict Society, I must say. The characters are amazing; they have strong but believable and interesting characters that totally leapt off the page. Very fun. The art is dynamic and drew me in instantly as well. Surprisingly, although I found this in the young adult section of the bookstore (and I think it would be a blast for young adults to read), the contents of the story almost seem more geared for middle-schoolers. In any case, it’s age appropriate for younger readers, although I think older readers would greatly enjoy Beware the Kitten Holy as well. I’m delighted to see where the story goes from here.