Mostly manga and graphic novels this time!
Natsume’s Book of Friends, Vols. 1 and 2
by Yuki Midorikawa
Shojo Beat, 2012
Volume 1 got 7 cups of tea out of 11 and Volume 2 got 5 cups
Summary: Natsume can see yokai like his grandmother. When she was younger she bound them by their names into her book so she could summon them when she wanted. Natsume is trying to set them all free while trying to fit in at home and school.
Overall I like how complex the relationship between yokai, nature, and humans is. However, Natsume falls consistently flat for me. Most of the time I confuse his dialogue with his sidekick. His grandmother is much more interesting to me. I’m mostly reading for those flashbacks.
Giant Days, Vol. 10
Written by John Allison
Illustrated by Max Sarin and Julia Madrigal
Boom! Box, 2019
Adult Comic Contemporary
9 cups of tea out of 11
Summary: Daisy, Esther, and Susan are coming back to university. Daisy faces a housing challenge, Esther wants to stay friends with Ed, and Susan and McGraw have moved in together. They also all have fun at the career fair.
Overall I liked Max Sarin’s art more than Julia Madrigal’s mostly because that’s the art we started with in volume one but I also find it more expressive and interesting. The career fair part was fun. They all have different perspectives and aren’t afraid to express their opinions, mostly cynical and skeptical.
The Okay Witch
by Emma Steinkellner
8 cups of tea out of 11
Summary: Moth manifests her magic unexpectedly so she finds out about her family history and the town’s witch-hunting past while doing a play with her new friend, Charlie. Her familiar is Mr. Laszlo, former owner of the shop her mom runs, and now a cat.
Overall I found the art colorful and expressive (the first few panels where some of my favorite because they play with light and reader expectations while also showing Moth’s playfulness). Mr. Laszlo in cat form is particularly delightful. The plot is a little rushed in the end and things are resolved a little too quickly.
by Brenna Thummler
The Lion Forge, 2018
8 cups of tea out of 11
Summary: Marjorie’s mom dies after an accident and she is left to run the family’s laundromat. Then Wendell arrives from the place ghosts live and both helps and hinders Marjorie in her efforts to keep their business afloat.
Overall I really enjoyed the art for the ghosts and ghost town. I didn’t like the art for the living people as much because it was a little stiff and less effectively expressive. But the color palette contrast worked really well. The last third conflict was a little forced but ultimately I liked the ending.