Local Friendly Ghosts, Grief, and Solitude

Sheets 2-- bookspoilsSheets illustrates the determination of a young girl to fight, even when all parts of her world seem to be conspiring against her. It proves that second chances are possible whether life feels over or life is over. But above all, it is a story of the forgiveness and unlikely friendship that can only transpire inside a haunted laundromat.

This book is also quite a looker; I only wish that the storyline would’ve managed to stir me just as much as the art did. I mean, just take a look at the below:

Sheets 4-- bookspoilsThe amount of dedication it takes to capture the intricate details in one page is mind-boggling.

The color pallets in here make for a visually stunning graphic novel, which means that I have to share my many, many favorites:
Sheets 6-- bookspoilsI seriously can’t get enough of the above. Every time I look, it stirs me anew.Sheets 7-- bookspoilsThere’s so much truth in the last panel.Sheets 8-- bookspoils

Sheets 9-- bookspoils

Sheets 10-- bookspoils

Sheets 11-- bookspoils

Just your local friendly ghost telling ghost stories:Sheets 12-- bookspoils

Sheets 14-- bookspoils

Sheets 15-- bookspoilsSheets 16-- bookspoils

Sheets 17-- bookspoilsI think this last one might be my favorite. I can’t stop staring.

Screen Shot 2018-02-28 at 09.46.55

Overall, I’d say that though the nonsensical plot felt a bit lacking, in comparison the art style had me wholeheartedly committed to the story. SO MUCH VISUAL INTRICACIES.

Also, fittingly, this song came on loop during my reading:

ARC kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Expected publication: August 28th, 2018

bookspoilsbookspoilsbookspoils

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying Sheetsjust click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

Advertisements

Summer Camp, Russian Culture, and Belonging | Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol

Having adored Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol, I was keen on checking out her spin with this gripping and hilarious middle-grade summer camp memoir.

All Vera wants to do is fit in—but that’s not easy for a Russian girl in the suburbs. Her friends live in fancy houses and their parents can afford to send them to the best summer camps. Vera’s single mother can’t afford that sort of luxury, but there’s one summer camp in her price range—Russian summer camp.

I’m gonna jump right into discussing the book by highlighting the dreaded sleepover scene that still gives me chills… and it’s been over a decade for me. All the more painful to relive it through Vera’s young eyes. She’s trying her hardest to assimilate as smoothly as possible by pulling together a sleepover (by replicating her friend’s version), but then her mother gives her Russian twist on it.

Be Prepared 1-- bookspoils

As a child of Russian Jews (like I mention in my review for Natasha and Other Stories), I know all too well that you’re donzo if your third-grade classmates see those Russian letters on the cake…

It’s these intimate moments of struggling to belong and navigating your own culture that stood out to most when I read Anya’s Ghost back in 2016. So I was glad to see it delve deeper with Be Prepared. I mean, the painful courage it took to include the sleepover must’ve been tremendous.Be Prepared 2-- bookspoils

Moving along to Vera finding out about a Russian summer camp “build around fostering Russian community” and deciding to join in the hopes of finding people that’ll get her. But she’s not quite prepared for the conditions set in the middle of nowhere.Be Prepared 3-- bookspoilsYou pretty much knew what to expect with this introducing letter:Be Prepared 5-- bookspoils“Dear mom, could you pick me up as soon as you get this? PLEASE! I’m desperate”

What follows is a journey of self-acceptance and resilience, finding friendship within the right people, and more and more summer hardships to overcome. I read it in a heartbeat.Be Prepared 4-- bookspoils

All in all, I more than keen on reading more of Vera Brosgol’s graphic memoirs, especially with that ending we got from Be Prepared!

ARC kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Expected publication: April 24th, 2018

bookspoilsbookspoilsbookspoils

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying Be Preparedjust click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

Roller Derby, Girl-Power, and Friendship

I was pumped to read this middle-grade graphic novel all about recognizing female empowerment within the roller derby community, especially after having read and loved Pamela Ribon’s SLAM! Vol. 1, which is a YA comic bundle set around the same premise.Roller Girl 1-- bookspoils

Twelve-year-old Astrid has always done everything with her best friend Nicole. So when Astrid signs up for roller derby camp, she assumes Nicole will too. But Nicole signs up for dance camp with a new friend instead, and so begins the toughest summer of Astrid’s life. There are bumps and bruises as Astrid learns who she is without Nicole…and what it takes to be a strong, tough roller girl.

Roller Girl tackles a lot of important issues within the story arc, such as the giddy start of a new blossoming friendship, growing apart from childhood friends, standing up for yourself and those in need, the power of positive role models, and channeling your inner TOUGHER, STRONGER, FEARLESS-self.

Plus, I know I really enjoyed a middle-grade book when I can’t wait to share it with my little sister. She adored Raina Telgemeier‘s work in the past and has been on the search for anything and everything similar, so she’ll be pleased to know that Roller Girl reads like the perfect follow-up book.

I do have to note that, personally, the story hit a bit of rut when it focused too heavily on supplying all the technical terms in roller derby, but thankfully it more than made up for that with its following character-defining moments.

So without further ado, here are some of my personal favorite bits from Roller Girl:

Roller Girl 2-- bookspoilsThat resilient moment of overcoming adversity is an ever-shining star.

Roller Girl 3-- bookspoilsI was all smiles reading the many descriptions and was even pleasantly surprised to see my name, Natalie, included… until I read her silly defining characteristic.

Another comical moment happens in the following hair coloring scene:Roller Girl 4-- bookspoilsThis brought to mind how Louis C.K. has a whole standup bit just around kids names.
Roller Girl 5-- bookspoils“3-4 weeks” got me good.

Roller Girl 6-- bookspoilsGentle parenting and patience is key.

Unrelated: I find it funny that this is the second book I’ve read that featured both my name as well as my sister’s (Rachel).

bookspoilsbookspoilsbookspoilsbookspoils

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying Roller Girljust click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!