Rummanah Aasi
  I naturally gravitate towards the YA or the Teen section of my library. My reading goal for this year to diversify my reading pile. I grabbed a bunch of graphic novels from the Children section last year and after being in a graphic novel/manga slump, it nice to read enjoyable titles and get back on track. Today I will be reviewing:  Gunnerkrigg Court Vol 1: Orientation by Tom Siddell, Amelia Rules! What Makes You Happy by Jimmy Gownley, and Amelia Rules! The Tweenage Guide to Not Being Unpopular by Jimmy Gownley.

Description (from Goodreads): Antimony Carver is a precocious and preternaturally self-possessed young girl starting her first year of school at gloomy Gunnerkrigg Court, a very British boarding school that has robots running around along side body-snatching demons, forest gods, and the odd mythical creature. The opening volume in the series follows Antimony through her orientation year: the people she meets, the strange things that happen, and the things she causes to happen as she and her new friend, Kat, unravel the mysteries of the Court and deal with the everyday adventures of growing up.

Review: The first volume of the Grunnerkrigg is delightful, quirky, and magical book. The artwork is beautiful and filled with colorful pages. It gives the comic an animated feel to it. The setting of a boarding school fantasy reminded me of Harry Potter but I think that is due to the popularity of the Harry Potter series. There were other stories that featured a British boarding school fantasies. The similarities are on the superficial level but Gunnerkrigg stands on its own. Each chapter is episodic, which makes sense since the comic was originally published a web comic and now bound in a book format for the first time, but I never felt lost reading it. 
  Antimony is a fabulous main character who is smart, quirky, has a dry wit, and extremely precocious. I was afraid of not liking her, but she does soften up a bit and become more approachable as she begins to have friends. Her friendship with Kat is real and their personalities compliment each other really well. The magical/fantasy elements of the story are a lot of fun and as the plot reveals itself become mysterious and hint at dangerous things to come. The book is infused with plenty of humor but also serious when it comes to learning about Antimony's past and the hints surrounding the school. After reading the first volume, I definitely wanted to know more and plan on reading the next volume.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some PG violence and some textual that would suggest sexual innuendo but I think you would really have to be looking for it to find it. Recommended for strong Grades 5 readers and up.  

If you like this book try: Coraline by Neil Gaiman, Gunnerkrigg Court Vol 2: Research by Tom Siddell

Description (from Goodreads): In this volume, Amelia lives life, suffers loss and kisses a ninja. Always entertaining, this three-time Eisner and two-time Harvey nominee is guaranteed to keep you laughing and get your kids/nieces/nephews/etc. hooked on comics!

Review: Adorable, hilarious, and heart warming, Amelia Rules is a great graphic novel series for older elementary school and middle school readers that I wish I had while growing up. What Makes You Happy is actually the second book in the series, which I didn't find out until finishing the book. Normally, I try my best to read series books in order in fear of being left out in character and/or world building but luckily I was able to read this volume without any problems. Amelia is a precocious young girl who reminds me of a current day Ramona Quimby. She’s in a club of kids who dress up like superheroes, has a former rock star for an aunt, and her own set of insecurities. In this volume of her adventures, Amelia’s club encounters a competing group of kids who dress as ninjas. We also find out some of the history of her aunt. I laughed out loud several times while reading this book, particularly the subtle jokes that older readers will understand just like those in the animated movies like Shrek or Tangled, and I had a smile on my face when I was done. Amelia's adventures and emotions ring true to her age and there is a balance between humor and seriousness. There are also subtle lessons learned. The full-color illustrations are accessible and comfortable, with a comfortable reading layout and the text was easy to read and follow. After reading this book, I wanted to read more.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades 4 and up.

If you like this book try: Amelia Rules! Superheroes by Jimmy Gownley, Knights of the Lunch Table by Frank Cammuso

Description (from Goodreads): Do you know there’s no true opposite to the word “catastrophe”? Amelia McBride and company are about to embark on their most daunting mission yet: navigating the promises and pitfalls of popularity at Joe McCarthy Elementary. A tricky task when you consider an unmatched pair of socks alone can cause ridicule for years to come. Really, though, all the gang wants is not to be unpopular. Rising and falling through the ranks of nerd, geek—and cheerleader?—with advice from wacky popularity expert Dr. Victoria Medeochrias, Amelia and her friends encounter riotous mobs, unfortunate makeovers, and bad catch phrases. Even after things go from bad to worse, Amelia learns there are some things that are just a little bit more important than being popular.

Review: Amelia McBride returns in an all new, hilarious adventure to learn some hard truths about popularity. When a mistake involving space suits turns Amelia and her friend Rhonda into social outcasts, they consult The Tweenage Guide to Not Being Unpopular. In their quest to be "normal," she and her pals try out make-overs that guarantee to restore their social status at school. Gownley does a great job in showing the delicate stage of tweenhood as the characters try to balance themselves on  that strange line between childhood and adolescence, as they are wanting to be cool but ending up racing down the hill in a wheelbarrow. The dialogue is effortless and evokes laughter on every page. There are moments when I had to put the book down because I was laughing so hard. I also just had to share some moments with others and tell them to read that page. I also loved the fact that Amelia's mother and aunt also play a vital role in Amelia's life and also provide an anecdote that shows how they dealt with the problem of popularity in their own time. I'm definitely hooked on this series and can't wait to read more!

Rating: 4.5 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades 4 and up.

If you like this book try: Amelia Rules! True Things Adults Don't Want Kids to Know by Jimmy Gownley, Dork Diaries by Rachel Renee Russel
2 Responses
  1. I'm really curious about Grunnerkrigg. I love boarding school books. Amelia Rules sounds like something I would have loved as a kid. Would probably still like it now.

  2. Oh! Those Amelia books sound so cute!! She sounds like she could be the girl version of the kid from Diary of a Wimpy Kid. LOL

    P.S. Thank you so much for the books! I really appreciate them. *Texas sized hugs*

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