Reading with My Sister | Review: Kristy’s Great Idea (Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novels #1) by Raina Telgemeier

Nothing quite beats the feeling from walking into the library not knowing what to get and walking away victoriously with two exciting reads. Raina Telgemeier graphic novel adaption to the Baby-Sitters Club with Kristy’s Great Idea was one of them.

One of my greatest accomplishments as a big sister is passing on my love for books to my ten-year-old sisterand I can thank in part Raina Telgemeier’s graphic novels for kicking it off with a bang, specifically with Sisters, which my sister still recites certain scenes from today, like, the infamous road trip. So spending this past Shabbat poring over this newest release was a walk down memory lane for us.

For me, what I personally cherish in these books is how timeless Telgemeier’s writing feels. Like, when I read other middle-grade books I’m self-aware throughout the story that this is meant for younger audiences, but there’s something so appealing in its nostalgic nature.

I also appreciated how this particular book on babysitting kids showcases situations with how to deal with the not-so-kind moments, similar to How to Talk So Teens Will Listen & Listen So Teens Will Talk, wherein it opens up with a kid acting a certain way (throwing tantrums, asking big questions, opening up) and through the Baby-Sitters Club we see a number of ways to react in a helpful manner.

And as always, the art was astounding and perfectly captured those quintessential summer days spent frolicking outside with friends, thinking of what to do next.kristy's great idea- bookspoils

It’s also interesting looking back on my 2018 reading challenge to suddenly realize that Raina Telgemeier’s Ghosts was my second book of the year (and first graphic novel), just like Kristy’s Great Idea is my second read of 2019.

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Review: Exquisite Corpse by Pénélope Bagieu

I read it for the art… and to satisfy my curiosity from a couple of years back regarding this book.Exquisite Corpse 3- bookspoils

Zoe isn’t exactly the intellectual type, which is why she doesn’t recognize world-famous author Thomas Rocher when she stumbles into his apartment…and into his life. It’s also why she doesn’t know that Rocher is supposed to be dead. Turns out, Rocher faked his death years ago to escape his critics, and has been making a killing releasing his new work as “lost manuscripts,” in cahoots with his editor/ex-wife Agathe. Neither of them would have invited a crass party girl like Zoe into their literary conspiracy of two, but now that she’s there anyway. . . . Zoe doesn’t know Balzac from Batman, but she’s going to have to wise up fast… because she’s sitting on the literary scandal of the century!

Exquisite Corpse is the epitome of a graphic novel set to feature gorgeous artwork with essentially no depth to the storyline. We have flat, unmotivated characters whose actions are never explored; it’s somehow a given that it’ll make sense for a complete stranger to let a girl into his apartment to pee simply because she rang his intercom…Exquisite Corpse 6- bookspoils
Manic Pixie Dream Girl to the max. No person, especially a stranger, talks like that. 

Exquisite Corpse perfectly embodies those clichéd French novels all about Oh, Love French sigh that I’ve been warned about. It checks pretty much every mark from the mistreating old boyfriend to the oh-so-romantic new love interest to the out-of-nowhere mature ex-wives to Lolita-esque relationships (literally have way too many examples of this I’ll share below). The warnings weren’t for naught. So it became quite humorous when the novel tried to take itself too seriously.

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This right here illustrates their imbalanced relationship. They don’t view each other as equals, and the writer dude (such a bland character I don’t even recall his name) is beyond patronizing.

The adults are having a conversation while sending the little girl off to bed:

Exquisite Corpse 8- bookspoils BLEH.

Exquisite Corpse 7- bookspoilsThis 22-year-old needs a therapist, not someone twice her age preying on her.

Also: The clear contrast established between her old boyfriend and this writer dude was so forced, and it made all the “good” the writer represented (listening to her, complimenting her, etc.) seem like he was reading from a script or something he read in a magazine. IT’S NOT REAL. The artificial interactions bothered me all too much for a book that’s supposed to be contemporary.

The ridiculously blown-out aspects of this book made it so I could never fully sink into the storyline. At one point I thought we were on the brink of a breakthrough when the main character finally realized what a douche the writer was and ran from him, but their relationship shouldn’t have happened in the first place so there wasn’t a lot of room for positive feelings. But then even that tiny revelation ruined itself at the very end with another lolita-esque relationship. S T O P.

I really wished the main character would’ve gotten some time alone to realize and reflect on what direction she wants her life to head into, instead of turning from one bad relationship to the other. I just felt sorry for this girl who clearly craves belonging, so she’s willing to settle with anybody who can provide even a tiny slice of it. Don’t settle, please.

I’ll end my review on a more positive note by featuring some of my favorite pieces: Exquisite Corpse 5- bookspoilsExquisite Corpse 2- bookspoilsExquisite Corpse !- bookspoilsExquisite Corpse 4- bookspoils

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Review: Cucumber Quest: The Doughnut Kingdom by Gigi D.G.

cucumber quest 1-- bookspoilsI nearly jumped with joy at the sight of this book on my library shelves, which made quite the show for my little sister accompanying me that day. This is just the perfect read to share with your younger sibling.

What happens when an evil queen gets her hands on an ancient force of destruction?

World domination, obviously.

The seven kingdoms of Dreamside need a legendary hero. Instead, they’ll have to settle for Cucumber, a nerdy magician who just wants to go to school. As destiny would have it, he and his way more heroic sister, Almond, must now seek the Dream Sword, the only weapon powerful enough to defeat Queen Cordelia’s Nightmare Knight.

Can these bunny siblings really save the world in its darkest hour?

Sure, why not?

It didn’t take all too long for this book to impress me at once. Cucumber Quest is the perfect combination of featuring visually stunning art, hilarious one-liners, and fully-fleshed characters.cucumber quest 2-- bookspoils THAT LAST PANEL MADE ME LAUGH OUT LOUD.

I appreciated how this book veered from the usual “heroic” arc and tackles often-used (ridiculous) tropes* from fairytales with creative and playful jabs. Cucumber Quest not taking itself too serious was a highlight, for sure. Also, the self-empowerment in Almond, the little sister, impressed me, as well, because who said little sisters can’t be the hero of the story. Through her character, the idea of a knight in shining armor is spun on its head.

Again, I have to emphasize the rich, dreamy, and vibrant coloring which makes for quite the visual to hold in your hands. I mean:cucumber quest 3-- bookspoils

cucumber quest 6-- bookspoilscucumber quest 7-- bookspoilsAnd:

cucumber quest 5-- bookspoils

*Tackled tropes include:

  • The villain making those long speeches before acting with his fists.cucumber quest 4-- bookspoilsFirst, that “instant replay” is epic. Second, Almond is a hero.
  • Making the mission harder for the sake of Drama.cucumber quest 7-- bookspoils

Her self-confidence is both aspiring and troubling because it costs them dearly.

Screen Shot 2018-02-28 at 09.46.55There’s more to the story than meets the eye, and I’m forevermore shocked that it left of such a cliffhanger. Essentially this first volume builds up the ground for the upcoming adventures awaiting this group, and I’m keen on diving in.

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