5 Graphic Novels. 923 pages. 3 days.
Holy moly, you guys. I did it. I survived.
I originally had six novels on my TBR for the #GetGraphic Readathon and I stopped at five. This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki was the book I ended up not reading for the readathon. It was the last book added to my TBR and I’ve read three books on Sunday alone and I’m tired. I’ll get to This One Summer sometime soon. I’m sure everyone will be eagerly anticipating that review.
All of these graphic novels have queer character and/or queer themes, and yes this was intentional. Obviously.
I will be talking about each review in the order I read them. Let’s get started!
Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash
4.5/5 – First of all, I loved this graphic novel. It was far and away my favorite out of the ones I read and it was the first one I read. I know it’s because this book brought back memories and gave me a feeling of nostalgia that I haven’t gotten from a book before.
I’ve had two different camp experiences. I don’t remember how old I was the first time I went to camp, but I went to Outdoor School in the sixth grade. Outdoor School is basically just a five-day camp where you learn about nature-y, science-y stuff. Both times I went camping, I had a crush on a camp counselor. Go figure. So, the little baby lesbian in me absolutely related to this graphic novel. For those who don’t know, I knew I was a lesbian when I was ten. I came out as a lesbian and was so confident that was how I identified throughout middle school and high school. Now, things are not exactly as simple as they were then and I don’t identify the same way now, but I know what it’s like to have a crush on the older unobtainable girl. I did not have the same experience here, as I just crushed from afar, which was kinda my thing, but this book hit me in the right place. It took me back to those times, which I can look on fondly now, but seemed crushing at the time.
I really enjoyed the art of the graphic novel, although the eyes creeped me out a bit.
I can see why some people think the ending wasn’t satisfying. I absolutely get that, but this is nonfiction. There are going to be times in life where a relationship isn’t wrapped up neatly, it will end up leaving you unsatisfied. I’m certain there are times when I will never see someone again and that relationship was left open-ended or not the way I wanted. It happens to us all. I’m not going to let it ruin my enjoyment of this book I connected so deeply with. I am disappointed that the author’s other novel has such a low rating on Goodreads because I would like to read more by her.
The Wicked + The Divine, Vol 1: The Faust Act by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie (Illustrations), Matt Wilson (Colorist), Clayton Cowles
3.5/5 – When I heard about the concept of The Wicked + The Divine, I was fascinated. Every ninety years twelve gods appear on Earth then they die two years later. In the first volume of TW+TD, they are all pop stars which makes a lot of sense. Young teenagers worship them and as egotistical gods, they eat that shit up.
The art in this graphic novel is absolutely gorgeous. I just saw the first cover page and was blown away by how stunning the art is. I think out of all the graphic novels I read, the art was the best in TW+TD. The story was a bit hard for me to follow and so I struggled to connect with it as much as I wanted to. That being said, Luci was a blast of a character. She was sassy, funny, and sexually fluid.
I will keep reading the series since I’m interested to see where the story goes, but I think most people who read graphic novels have already read TW+TD and if not I’d recommend checking it out.
The Infinite Loop by Pierrick Colinet and Elsa Charretier (Illustrator)
4/5 – This graphic novel was a lot of fun and while I didn’t completely understand the time travel elements, I had a blast. The main character is Teddy, a no-nonsense, strong woman who is also a lesbian. And a redhead. It’s becoming my new favorite trope, honestly.
This graphic novel is very much centered around the romance, which we don’t get a lot of development of, it starts out as lust and then there is a lot of yadda-yadda with regards to them falling in love. The stakes of the whole plot include getting the girl back, and it’s not really authentic when all you’ve seen is lust and no real relationship development. Especially considering that people in that future world don’t experience love. How quickly Teddy’s tune changes when she meets a gorgeous girl.
However, I really enjoyed this and had a lot of fun. I would definitely knock it down a star for the insta-love, but I was invested in the relationship. This graphic novel was more…sexy than the others I read. It wasn’t constant, but it was there. I will probably read this again one day and might have more to say about the themes and the point of the book, but that’s just not what my mind focuses on.
Skim by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki
3.5/5 – I feel like there were a lot of elements to Skim that I would really relate to. A character has committed suicide, multiple characters are depressed, multiple characters are lonely, there is a not-slim protagonist, and she’s struggling with her sexuality. However, it didn’t connect with me as much as I would’ve liked. I read this book in less than an hour and it went by fast. There wasn’t anything that was uninteresting or dull about it. I just constantly felt like an outside observer where I really got sucked into a few of the other graphic novels I read.
The art in this graphic novel is black and white and I know nothing about art, but it looked as if it was pencil drawn. This is by no means a criticism. I thought it added to the book’s appeal, honestly. In fact, I think the art was my favorite part of the book. I may not know what I’m talking about, but I know I liked it and it fit the book. Things aren’t bright and colorful when you are depressed. Not in such an extreme way, but things aren’t as bright and it’s hard to notice the beauty around you.
This book talks about depression and honestly I related to that. Kim, the protagonist, is depressed but because a boy recently committed suicide everyone is worried that she will meet the same fate. As someone who has lived with depression for over ten years, I have not wanted to end my life. I related to a character who is depressed but has no desire to die. That’s my everyday life. This book has a portrayal of mental illness that I think it focused on the subtle ways that depression can affect someone and for that, I give major kudos.
The Spire by Simon Spurrier, Jeff Stokely (Illustrations), Andre May (Colorist)
3/5 – A fantasy/science fiction graphic novel with a lesbian protagonist, naturally, I’m in. The world in this book is bizarre and I don’t think I can accurately describe it because it’s very complex. Honestly, I don’t think I understand a lot of the worldbuilding in this graphic novel. I had a lot of trouble following the main conflict of the story and the different species (?) and their motivations. There was a lot going on here and maybe if I reread it I’d understand it better, but I can’t say I’m interested.
There were some things I really liked. There was an f/f relationship that was already established. A kind of forbidden affair. I liked that a lot. That’s always fun. Sha is the main character and she was totally badass and snarky, and I like that in my protagonist. A no-nonsense female who kicks ass. This was a theme with a few of the action graphic novels I read and it was a lot of fun to read about strong female characters who were also into ladies. Hey Comic world, I’d like more of this, please. There was an interesting twist at the end that I liked, and it was unexpected but I can’t really talk about it because of spoilers.
The one thing that really bothered me, and this might be me nitpicking, but the swearing was censored with various characters. For example, fuck became @#$%. I didn’t like this especially when there were naked images on the page. I mean, I saw boobs and yet I couldn’t read a bad word. I’m sure they had reasons for doing so, but I’m used to swearing and the censoring the words didn’t really mesh with the story they were telling.
And that wraps up my thoughts on the books I read for the Get Graphic readathon. I’d just like to thank Caidyn for his encouragement, it helped a lot, but overall it was a great weekend and I loved participating in the readathon. I might do more in the future, but I’m far less confident reading actual novels in a readathon setting. I guess we’ll see.