Nobrow Press, 2017
Fantasy/Middle Grade/Graphic Novel; 60 pgs
This one took me some thinking about and a couple of readings, before I fully appreciated it. My problem is I have a tendency to race through graphic novels, and this is one in which the story is more fully told in the artwork--which is gorgeous and vibrant, at times whimsical or eerie, and so imaginative.
Nightlights in the story of a girl names Sandy who loves to draw. She would much rather draw than do just about anything else. Her drawings come to life when she puts pen to paper, and she creates worlds only she seems to appreciate. One day, a mysterious girl appears who takes an immediate interest in Sandy's art. She is the first person to tell Sandy how much she likes it. Sandy is so excited that someone has finally recognized her art and sees how important it is to her. As the story continues, Morfie, the mysterious girl, proves that she isn't as innocent a friend as she first appeared. Morfie wants Sandy to only draw for her and grows more aggressive and demanding as time goes by. Over the course of the novel, the reader sees Sandy go through a range of moods in response: anger, sadness, withdrawal, and even fear. Her insecurities play out on the page through the artwork. Just as the situation seems hopeless, Sandy takes back control of her art and finds her way out.
The artwork makes this graphic novel. I felt the ending was a bit abrupt and not quite complete. I am not sure if that will be addressed in the next volume, or if this is it. I do know that my daughter loved Nightlights. Just as Sandy does, Mouse likes to draw. When I asked her why she liked this book so much, she said it was because she thought the art was pretty and because she could relate to Sandy. She said she and her art are misunderstood and not always appreciated by others. She liked how Sandy eventually stood up to the evil girl through her art. My daughter has often said she herself turns to art when she is feeling sad or upset to help her feel better. Any book my daughter loves is a winner for me.
The Okay Witch by Emma Steinkellner
Fantasy/Middle Grade/Graphic Novel; 272 pgs
My daughter is into all things witches and when I was looking for graphic novels to get her for Christmas, I came across this one. It did not take me long to dive in after she unwrapped it Christmas morning.
I really liked this middle grade graphic novel about 13-year-old Moth Hush who discovers she is a real live witch when something unexpected happens to the two boys bullying her on Halloween. Moth has long loved all things witch related and couldn't be more excited about her new found abilities. Only her mother is not too thrilled. Moth's mother has wanted nothing more than for her and her daughter to lead normal human lives. She put that magic stuff behind her long ago when she broke ties to her own mother. Moth quickly realizes she needs help controlling her magic and when her mother will not help, she turns to her mother's diary. It isn't any ordinary diary though. It opens an entire new world to Moth.
The town, Founder's Bluff, Massachusetts does not have the best history when it comes to the treatment of witches. In fact, it's a part of the town's heritage and pride that the founding father of the town forced the witches out. The celebrate that moment, in fact. This added layer of world building only enhances the story and what the characters have and are going through. Of course, it also plays a major part in events that play out throughout the novel.
Moth is such a great character. Even having been born and raised in Founder's Bluff, she has always felt like an outsider. When she comes into her magic, she starts to really question the way things are done, including pointing out the discrepancies in the way history is portrayed.
Another aspect of the novel I liked was the approach the author took with the conflict between Moth and her mother and Moth's mother and her own mother. Three generations of strong witches, each with very solid ideas of who they are or want to be. Despite Moth and her mother seeming to want different things, one wanting to use her magic and the other to forget she has it, their stories are very similar. Both rebel against their mothers who want something else for them.
Being as this is a graphic novel, I probably should say something about the art. The story is clearly strong on it's own, but I think the art adds to it in ways that just words would not. Describing those silent moments, and capturing emotion, not to mention giving the reader a more real feel of Hecate--which you will get to know if you read the novel.
I do not believe there was anything I did not like about The Okay Witch. It is one of those books I think person could get more out of with each re-reading. It is funny and full of heart, not to mention just a great adventure story. Plus there's a talking cat. I know my daughter will love it too when she reads it. Regardless, the next book in the series which comes out this summer is on my wish list.
Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2019
Nonfiction/Humor/Graphic Novel; 137 pgs
While the two above books were Christmas presents for my daughter, Book Love is all for me. I bought myself a copy a couple of years ago after hearing such great things about it. It's not so much a story type graphic novel, but more a compilation of the artist's illustrations denoting her love for books and reading. I just love this collection and could relate to so many of the comics. From reading being magic to not wanting to loan out books (without strict rules), to trying to peek at what strangers are reading when I pass by others who are reading in public, and on and on. It's a wonderful little collection every book lover can relate to. If you are looking for something quick, light and fun, definitely give this one a try.
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I've heard so many good things about BOOK LOVE. I bet my library has it. And doesn't everyone stand on their head trying to see what others are reading? No? LOLReplyDelete
Kay - I can't remember who first recommended Book Love to me, but I'm sure it was a fellow blogger. I see Debbie Tung's comics everywhere and have always enjoyed her work. It was nice to see these bookish ones all together in a collection. I hope your library does carry it so you can check it out!Delete
I loved Book Love! The illustrations are so fun, and I related to so many of her situations. :)ReplyDelete
Lark - It's a very relatable book for us booklovers. :-) I am glad you loved it too!Delete
I bet that I would like Book Love. And maybe the one about the artist girl, too. Sounds like it was a metaphor for controlling friendships, or maybe mental illness . . . ?ReplyDelete
Jeane - I think you would like Book Love too. :-) I thought of that too about Nightlights. The girl's behavior reminded me of someone who is stuck in an abusive relationship.Delete
These are so great. I love the artwork and especially the fantastic covers.ReplyDelete
Suzanne - Me too! I love the artwork.Delete
Book Love looks so cute, I may give it a shot!ReplyDelete
Tammy - I hope you like Book Love if you give it a try. It's one you can read randomly or straight through or whenever. :-) Lots of book love there.Delete
The Nightlights artwork is stunning and so much fun!ReplyDelete
Helen - I love the artwork in Nightlights. The photos don't quite do it justice compared to actual book.Delete
All these books sound so good! And I need to check out Book Love after seeing so many readers loved it.ReplyDelete
Melody - I hope you like Book Love if you do check it out!Delete
The illustrations in Nightlights are gorgeous! I'm glad you and Mouse enjoyed it!ReplyDelete
Eustacia - I think so too. I love the artwork in that one.Delete
Book Love is a lovely book! I want it!!!! I should try more graphic novels. I can count on my one hand how many I've read - 1.ReplyDelete
I am going to try to read more Middle Grade this year as well!
Thanks for sharing all of these.
Top Ten Tuesday Presents ABBA 2021
Mareli - I don't read a lot of graphic novels, but I enjoy them from time to time. My daughter would read nothing but them if she could. LOL There are a lot of good ones out there.Delete
Oooh, Nightlight looks like a book I definitely need to check out. Those illustrations are absolutely gorgeous! I tend to rush through graphic novels, too, and I've tried to work to train myself to go slower and appreciate all the subtleties of the artwork. The Okay Witch sounds really good, too!ReplyDelete
Sammie - Yes! I really need to work on slowing down when I read graphic novels. The artwork often tells its own story and I would hate to miss anything.Delete
Nightlights looks really cute.ReplyDelete
Mary - It was a bit darker than I expected, but it was cute.Delete
Rita - Thanks for the link! Mouse loves books featuring young witches and I'm sure there are some new ones on there we can try.ReplyDelete
And thank you for the well wishes. I haven't heard much about other states and the pandemic lately because the news is so focused on how bad off California is and the Capitol attack. Vaccines are rolling out now to those who in my department, and I'm hoping I can get an appointment in the next week or two. Fingers crossed.
Mouse has the soul of an artist! And, yes, loved Book Love. I read a borrowed copy from the library but should get my own.ReplyDelete
Iliana - I truly believe Mouse does. :-)Delete
Book Love sounds like something that I should try to get my hands on. I love that you and your daughter are enjoying graphic novels together. The art in Nightlights is amazing based on what you shared and The Okay Witch sounds fun.ReplyDelete
Carole - She loves graphic novels. I am always on the look out for ones that might encourage her to read more.Delete
I was hypnotized by the art work of Nightlights, gorgeous ! But my heart leaps out to Book love, which I read last year, I could relate to any situation in those pages !ReplyDelete
Iza - Me too! Book Love is such a relatable book. :-)Delete
I loved Book Love! So much to connect to. Glad you loved it too.ReplyDelete
I haven't heard of the other two books but I'm smitten. Love the sound of Okay Witch.
Athira - Yes! Book Love was made for us. My daughter is finally reading Okay Witch--and enjoying it. I knew she would. :-)Delete