Mini Book Reviews: Graphic Novels II

the scarlet roseSynopsis: After the horrendous murder of her father, Maud discovers she has a grandfather, a noble count living in Paris, where she must now live. There she encounters The Fox, a masked Robin Hood-like rogue – a dashing figure she falls for. While her grandfather struggles to tame her wild spirit and introduce her to Society, Maud rebels by secretly becoming the masked Fox-like marauder – The Scarlet Rose!

Maud une jeune fille rêveuse et éprise de justice, vit en France au XVIIIe siècle. L’assassinat incompréhensible de son père l’oblige à rejoindre Paris où vit son grand-père, un noble dont elle ignorait jusqu’à l’existence. Elle y croise la route du Renard, un brigand des grands chemins qu’elle admire. Mais elle ne sait encore rien du secret que lui a légué son père et que convoite un mystérieux individu.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Commentary: I believe the child version of me would have loved The Scarlet Rose. It has elements that I love which are historical periods, sword fighting, and heroic antics. This book is set in France during the 18th century, and it  is a bit of a mystery. Though The Scarlet Rose has elements I love in books, the pacing of the book felt too obvious. I applaud Maud for going beyond and becoming a vigilante due to her obession with the French version of The Zorro, but that’s about it. When reading this comic, I immediately knew who The Fox’s identity was. It could have left some mystery, but that was not the case. Some of the events were a tad dramatic, but a young reader would enjoy it. And by young, I mean like a kid. Though, the costume could have been better. It’s a tad on the gaudy side. None the less, the book was entertaining, but everything was too obvious.

ghost storiesSynopsis: Ghost Stories is a graphic novel collection offering three haunting explorations. Granted the chance to meet three of her dead idols in “Ghost,” the author’s cartoon-self embarks on a journey to remote and unanticipated landscapes, in a story of self-discovery and healing. In “Wallpaper,” a child tells the story of a household move, remodel, and loss through the lens of flashbulb memory. And in “Makers,” two girls with an unorthodox friendship make a rocky transition into adulthood. Throughout each tale, ghosts exist as past selves and remnants of past relationships that are met with inquiry, resolution, and personal rebirth.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️

Commentary: What kind of comic was this? The stories were not connected, and it was all over the place for me. The only story that was the best written was Makers despite the anti-climatic ending. When I saw the cover, it was gorgeous and simplistic. I wanted to read the book based on the cover. I fell for a cover again. It was a weak story. Assuming that ghost stories was going to be based on ghosts, this book felt like the ideal one for me. Ghost Stories the chapter was okay. I honestly thought that Ghost Stories was going to play a major part in this book. Wallpaper was the weakest chapter. As I mentioned, Makers was a relatable story. It was about friendship and growing apart. I related to it, but the ending didn’t leave satisfaction. Sadly, this book was not my cup of tea.

Fragments of Feminity.jpgSynopsis: This is a collection of portraits of 7 women, of all different ages, backgrounds, circumstances and eras. Each one of them is facing a defining moment in her life. They are bound together by the symbol of their femininity: their breasts. We see an awkward college girl getting to grips with her womanhood; a 1960s house-wife freeing herself from the restraints of propriety; the manager of a small underwear shop fighting against corporate giants; a woman nude modeling for an unexpected reason… Love, illness, sex, liberation, sensuality: Olivier Pont draws us into the lives of these women with astounding force.

Rating: ⭐️

Commentary: This is possibly the worst comic that I have ever read. The stories were all about women obessessing over their bodies. This was not feminist. This was awful. Though each story took place during different eras, this did not add to my enjoyment level. I almost dnfed this book because my frustrations with the lack of structure and the shallowness portrayed by the characters. Truly awful. I never want to experience reading this comic again. Writing about it is giving me a headache. This is mature and not meant for younger audience.

le petiti loup rougeSynopsis: This synopsis is in French, sorry ya’ll. Soudain, une voix douce L’interpella : “Pourquoi pleures-tu ?” Le petit Loup rouge se retourna. Une petite fille blonde, étrangement vêtue, le regardait avec curiosité. Décontenancé, le petit loup se rappela ce qu’on lui avait toujours enseigné, à savoir “rester loin des humains” ! Mais cette petite humaine avait l’air si gentille, si fragile, qu’il lui fit tout de suite confiance.

Il était une fois… mère louve qui envoie son louveteau porter un lapin à sa grand-mère édentée et bien trop vieille pour chasser. Mais attention ! En chemin, il devra se méfier des méchants humains : le terrible chasseur et sa fille. Sur la route, tout désemparé d’avoir englouti par gourmandise le lapin destiné à sa grand-mère, il rencontrera et suivra bien naïvement une étrange petite fille qui lui contera l’histoire de sa famille, d’un gentil chasseur et de sa femme, qui aurait été mangée par les cruels loups… Dans ce conte sombre, relecture du Petit Chaperon rouge où les rôles s’inversent, deux visions, réminiscences d’un passé cruel, vont se confronter. Mais qui, des humains ou des loups, détient la vérité sur ce souvenir douloureux ?

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Commentary: Growing up on Disney and books, my heart is a sucker for fairy tales. Though I am an adult, I’m still a huge fanatic of this genre. Reading The Little Red Wolf was refreshing. It is a retelling of the Little Red Riding Hood, but in reverse. Instead of presenting wolves as the stereotypical villians, that is not the case in this short story.  Even though humans are presented as evil, you feel sorry for both parties. This is an endearing tale with an ending to shock you all. The artwork is beautifully gorgeous, and eye catching. The Little Red Wolf presents two perspectives to the story, adding agency to the wolves. I can’t wait to read other works by the author, she is very talented.

the tea dragon society.jpg Synopsis: From the award-winning author of Princess Princess Ever Aftercomes The Tea Dragon Society, a charming all-ages book that follows the story of Greta, a blacksmith apprentice, and the people she meets as she becomes entwined in the enchanting world of tea dragons.

After discovering a lost tea dragon in the marketplace, Greta learns about the dying art form of tea dragon care-taking from the kind tea shop owners, Hesekiel and Erik. As she befriends them and their shy ward, Minette, Greta sees how the craft enriches their lives—and eventually her own.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Commentary: Wow, I was blown away by this children’s book. Let’s start with what I loved and that was the diversity in race and sexuality. I applaud this book. Besides the cover and lovely artwork, this was one of my favorite books that I have read. This is a charming book, and I can see all the love the author poured into this book. I wouldn’t mind other books in the series, and I loved reading about the dragons. The book covers details about each dragon., Greta and Minette have a cute friendship, and their bond was solidfied throughout the book. This is a highly recommened children’s book. I read The Tea Dragon society when I was experincing a book slump, but this one really helped me out through tough times.

 

Jonesy Vol. 1 by Sam Humphries

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goodreads-synopsis

A sarcastic teenager with the powers of cupid unleashes her preternatural matchmaking abilities on her school with hilarious and charming results.

Jonesy is a self-described “cool dork” who spends her time making zines nobody reads, watching anime, and listening to riot grrrl bands and 1D simultaneously. But she has a secret nobody knows. She has the power to make people fall in love! Anyone. With anything. She’s a cupid in plaid. With a Tumblr. There’s only one catch—it doesn’t work on herself. She’s gonna have to find love the old-fashioned way, and in the meantime, figure out how to distract herself from the real emotions she inevitably has to face when her powers go wrong…

Written by Sam Humphries and illustrated by Caitlin Rose Boyle, this charming tale is sure to appeal to romantics and cynics alike

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I received Jonesy on Netgalley for an honest review, all opinions are my own.

I’ll keep this review short and sweet. Jonesy is an outcast at her school. She doesn’t have many friends besides two. She is obsessed with her favorite singer Stuff as any young girl would be. She doesn’t love the feeling of love and she tries to be against the social norm. Jonesy received her powers by watching Anime. She can manipulate people with mind control, but she can’t force people to love her.

Jonesy was a short entertaining comic, and if you’re expecting a plot to this book, there is none. Jonesy focuses on her misadventures and her plots that go wrong! It’s a fun read, but it could have been a bit better. I have to say I love how the cast is diverse. Lastly, I love the relationship Jonesy has with her puny donut loving father!

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Snotgirl, Vol I: Green Hair Don’t Care by Bryan Lee O’Malley and Leslie Hung

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Who is Lottie Person?
Is she a gorgeous, fun-loving social media star with a perfect life or a gross, allergy-ridden mess? Enter a world of snot, blood, and tears in this first collection from New York Times Best Seller Bryan Lee O’Malley (Scott Pilgrim, Seconds) and dazzling newcomer Leslie Hung!

Collecting: Snotgirl 1-5

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I am a huge fan of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s comics such as Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, and Seconds. I first saw images of Snotgirl on my twitter feed around last year and I waited to read Snotgirl unti the first volume came out. I preordered my book immediately. I had high hopes in Snotgirl, trust me, I was hyped for Snotgirl. I’d assume that Snotgirl was going to have the same fun, same charm, and same comedy style as Bryan Lee O’Malley’s previous books.

Snotgirl feels different from all of O’Malley’s previous works. Far different from what I’d imagine. Snotgirl tries to be mature and satirical, when in fact, it’s not funny at all. I feel that Snotgirl is far more darker comic that tries to have moments of lightheartedness. This comic makes you think about about adulthood and it’s sad reality. This is one of my favorite moments from Snotgirl:

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Tangent: I found this quote very relatable to my life. No one tells you how to be an adult, you have to work on your own and realize that not adulthood can suck, but you have to continue to try pushing yourself to do what you want to do. Push yourself until you can achieve your dreams. You have to realize that you have the ability to do anything even if you’re accomplishing goals late into adulthood.

Lottie Person is a fashion blogger whose life is a mess. She tries to stay relevant in the fashion blogging world as she’s aging in her industry. She’s a beautiful diva on the outside. One can assume she has no flaws based on her outward appearance. She has blogger friends who aren’t really there for her, and she does not have any real friends she can depend on besides her personal assistant. Lottie Person is living a facade. She conceals her envious personality from others. She feels jealous when she cannot catch up with others. Besides, Lottie has another secret that she has hidden from everyone else which is her uncontrollable allergies…hence Snotgirl.

I felt that Lottie was an unreliable narrator because it is hard for her to recount some events from her life. Some of the events from the story made it hard for me to trust Lottie. For example, she is given new allergy medication that makes her forget what she is doing. I have a feeling the medication she is taking will play a larger part in creating chaos and destruction as the story progresses. All I can say is that Lottie made it hard for me to like her, but she seems very realistic. She represents the hideous nature of being too warped into social media, that’s my take on it. I have no idea where the story is going, but I will pick up Volume II when it comes out. I love the murder mystery of Snotgirl because the comic made it hard for me to trust Lottie or her toxic friendship. Lastly, I love the way the characters are drawn. I love art style. Overall, Snotgirl was too hyped for me, but it presented a story which I do want to continue. The only character that really stood out was Lottie, and I would like for the supporting characters to have more development.

Final Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️  (3.5)

Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley

Seconds.jpgAuthor: Bryan Lee O’Malley

Genre: Graphic Novel

Links: Amazon | Goodreads

goodreads-synopsis

Katie’s got it pretty good. She’s a talented young chef, she runs a successful restaurant, and she has big plans to open an even better one. Then, all at once, progress on the new location bogs down, her charming ex-boyfriend pops up, her fling with another chef goes sour, and her best waitress gets badly hurt. And just like that, Katie’s life goes from pretty good to not so much. What she needs is a second chance. Everybody deserves one, after all—but they don’t come easy. Luckily for Katie, a mysterious girl appears in the middle of the night with simple instructions for a do-it-yourself do-over:
1. Write your mistake
2. Ingest one mushroom
3. Go to sleep
4. Wake anew

And just like that, all the bad stuff never happened, and Katie is given another chance to get things right. She’s also got a dresser drawer full of magical mushrooms—and an irresistible urge to make her life not just good, but perfect. Too bad it’s against the rules. But Katie doesn’t care about the rules—and she’s about to discover the unintended consequences of the best intentions.

From the mind and pen behind the acclaimed Scott Pilgrim series comes a madcap new tale of existential angst, everyday obstacles, young love, and ancient spirits that’s sharp-witted and tenderhearted, whimsical and wise.

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The first series I’ve read from Bryan Lee O’Malley was Scot Pilgrim Vs The World, and I’ve been meaning to read Seconds since it came out. I got the opportunity to read it at a Barnes and Noble and finished it all in one sitting. Anyways, if you like the Scot Pilgrim series, I’d recommend reading Seconds.

Katie is a chef with a dream of opening her own restaurant. Her life isn’t going as she had planned. There are some mistakes that she wants to take back. One day she is given an opportunity to redo her day over again.

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I found Katie to be very relatable! She is flawed, but she has a good heart. She doesn’t follow the rules which turns her life upside down. She gets her dream life, but it does not satisfy her. She runs away from her mistakes by continuously .

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Katie tries to fix her mistakes several times throughout the book. At some point she becomes a bit mad with power. Katie becomes dependent on the mushroom to solve her problems. I really enjoyed her character arc. She was funny and irritating at some points, but has the heart of gold. I really enjoyed her growth from the beginning to end.

Besides Katie, the secondary characters were just as great. Hazel, the waitress, was one of my favorites. She reminded me so much of myself. And I liked how she had her own role in the story.

The art style is cute, but this story is dark and hilarious. Though I did feel the ending was a bit rushed.

Lastly, Katie’s interactions with the narrator were extremely funny!

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“Adult life is terrible, Hazel. Never grow up. Everything’s complicated, and there are too many rules …”

“There are things we can’t change, and we just have to accept that. And maybe that’s some kind of grace”

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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Zodiac Starforce by Kevin Panetta & Paulina Ganucheau

zodiac starforce

Author: Kevin Panetta & Paulina Ganucheau

Genre: Fantasy, Graphic Novel, YA

Links: Goodreads | Amazon 

Goodreads Synopsis: They’re an elite group of teenage girls with magical powers who have sworn to protect our planet against dark creatures . . . as long as they can get out of class! Known as the Zodiac Starforce, these high-school girls aren’t just combating math tests. They’re also battling monsters–not your typical afterschool activity! But when an evil force from another dimension infects team leader Emma, she must work with her team of magically powered friends to save herself–and the world–from the evil Diana and her mean-girl minions!

From Kevin Panetta (Bravest Warriors) and Paulina Ganucheau (TMNT: New Animated Adventures, Bravest Warriors), this super-fun and heartfelt story of growing up and friendship–with plenty of magical-girl fighting action–delivers the most exciting new ensemble cast in comics!

Collects Zodiac Starforce #1-#4

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Zodiac Starforce was kindly provided by Edelweiss. All opinions are my own.  

This was review was supposed to get published last week, but I accidentally scheduled it for today. My bad. Ha ha.

What a fantastic graphic novel! If you’re a fan of magical girls like Sailor Moon, you should definitely check Zodiac Starforce. Let me start off with character designs, I love it. I love the “big” hair too. Reminds me of Jem & The Holograms, the animated series and not the movie.

There are flaws to this first volume. The story starts with absolutely no explanation about our four protagonists. Nada. The beginning was a bit confusing because it doesn’t properly introduce the characters. I had to read the beginning twice just to make sure I didn’t miss anything.  I would have liked for each of the girls to have their backstory revealed and how they got chosen by Astra, a celestial goddess. It feels as if I picked up a second book in a series, instead of the first book. Hopefully each girl has their backstory explained in upcoming volumes because it’s a issue that needs to get resolved.

As for the pacing of the story, it was a bit rushed. I would have liked for more details, but alas, that was not the case. I am hoping that the next volume does not encounter the same issues I found with Zodiac Starforce. As for the characters, my favorite had to be Kim aka Aries. She has most of the funny moments in the overall story. I am hoping that she gets much more screen time. The bond between the girls was not strong enough for me. Why? Even though the girls have gone through many perils, it is said but not seen. Lack of an introduction to each other the characters makes this story a bit weak for me.

Final thoughts? Zodiac Starforce is a entertaining graphic novel. Even though I had issues with it, I still want to continue the story. Here are my reasons why you should read Zodiac Starforce?

  • Diversity: All the girls are diverse and so are the background characters. It is quite refreshing. I can’t stress that enough
  • Magical Girls: Who doesn’t love Magical Girls?
  • Zodiac: Each girl has a power based on their zodiac sign! That sounds awesome! Hopefully a Sagittarius gets introduced soon tumblr_inline_niyn5ntHcI1ry72eo
  • LGBT
  • Gorgeous artwork: I can’t get over how beautiful it is! Look at it:

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Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3.5)

Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet LetterAuthor: Stacy King, Nathaniel Hawthrone (original)

Genre: Graphic Novel, Manga

Links: Goodreads | Amazon 

Goodreads Synopsis: A powerful tale of forbidden love, shame, and revenge comes to life in Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter. Faithfully adapted by Crystal Chan from the original novel, this new edition features stunning artwork by SunNeko Lee (Manga Classics: Les Miserables) which will give old and new readers alike a fresh insight into the Nathaniel Hawthorne’s tragic saga of Puritan America. .Manga Classics editions feature classic stories, faithfully adapted and illustrated in manga style, and available in both hardcover and softcover editions. Proudly presented by UDON Entertainment and Morpheus Publishing.”

 

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(Artwork from the book)

Book is available on NetGalley.

I haven’t had the opportunity to read any classic books in manga format. It was interesting, and I saw it was available on NetGalley. I really enjoyed reading The Scarlet Letter in manga form. The manga is a condensed version of the book, so there were many parts that were cut down from the original story.

The story is about Hester and how she has committed adultery in her puritan home. She has a baby, but won’t name the father of her child. She bears a giant A on her chest, which stands for adultery. She keeps her secret hidden from the world. Her society shuns her, and she alone must bear the pain.

What I really liked about the book was the art style. It was easy to differentiate the characters. Hester had the best character design, I wasn’t too keen on the guys designs especially Arthur Dimmesdale’s design. As for the characters, I couldn’t grow to love them. I really thought of the whole cast to be one dimensional. The manga did a great job of telling the story through images. As I’ve mentioned, the manga story does allude to the symbolism and metaphors from the original text. Now if you’re looking for a short version of the book, you should definitely try reading the manga since it is straightforward and easy to grasp.

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Adulthood Is a Myth by Sarah Andersen

adulthood is a myth.jpg Author: Sara Andersen

Genre: Comic, Graphic Novel, Humor

Links: Goodreads | Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis: Are you a special snowflake? Do you love networking to advance your career? Have you never wasted a fresh new day surfing the internet? Ugh. This book is not for you. Please go away.

Sarah’s Scribbles — casually drawn, perfectly on-point comics by young Brooklyn-based artist Sarah Andersen — confront head-on the horrors, anxiety, and awkwardness of modern adult life. From the agony of holding hands with a gorgeous guy to the yawning pit of hell that is the wifi gone down to the eye-watering pain of eating too-hot pizza because one cannot stand to wait for it to cool down, Sarah fearlessly documents it all.

Like the work of fellow Millennial authors Allie Brosh, Grace Helbig, and Gemma Correll, Sarah’s total frankness on extremely personal issues such as body image, self-consciousness, introversion, relationships, and bra-washing makes her comics highly relatable and consistently hilarious.

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I was provided this book on NetGalley for a honest review.

I’ve seen Sara Andersen’s comics all over Instagram and Tumblr, and I find them to be super relatable. I had such a fun time when I was reading Adulthood is a Myth. It is my favorite book for April so far. I laughed and I was mostly tearing up. I have been recommending this graphic novel to relatives and friends. Lastly, it will make such a great gift!

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Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest: Book Review

It wasn’t the beginning Libby and May had ever imagined. But then again, they’d never given the princess a beginning, had they? They’d only told her adventures going forward from the time she picked up her sword, fighting bad guys and monsters in her little red Chucks. They’d made up tales of daring and danger, but all those tales happened after she’d earned her name and her crown.

☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆ Goodreads Synopsis: Best friends, big fans, a mysterious webcomic, and a long-lost girl collide in this riveting novel, perfect for fans of both Cory Doctorow and Sarah Dessen; illustrated throughout with comics.

Once upon a time, two best friends created a princess together. Libby drew the pictures, May wrote the tales, and their heroine, Princess X, slayed all the dragons and scaled all the mountains their imaginations could conjure.

Once upon a few years later, Libby was in the car with her mom, driving across the Ballard Bridge on a rainy night. When the car went over the side, Libby passed away, and Princess X died with her.

Once upon a now: May is sixteen and lonely, wandering the streets of Seattle, when she sees a sticker slapped in a corner window.

Princess X? 

When May looks around, she sees the Princess everywhere: Stickers. Patches. Graffiti. There’s an entire underground culture, focused around a webcomic at IAmPrincessX.com. The more May explores the webcomic, the more she sees disturbing similarities between Libby’s story and Princess X online. And that means that only one person could have started this phenomenon—her best friend, Libby, who lives.

Commentary: The story starts off immediately with the death of Libby, May’s best friend and co-creator of Princess X. I would have liked this story a bit more if the author had developed May and Libby more. I wanted more of May and Libby’s friendship or at least more chapters about the original Princess X comics. 

Anyways, May’s parents are divorced and she only lives in Seattle during the summer with her father. Three years after Libby’s “death”, she finds a Princess X poster. She believes that Libby is alive once she sees that poster and the mystery begins to unfold. o(^▽^)o

Though May has social media accounts and knows how to use the internet, she is not tech savvy, which is a bit ironic. One day her computer doesn’t turn on and she hires Trick to help her fix her computer. She just needed to charge her computer…Anyways; Trick is a bit more developed than the other characters. Trick is a genius when in comes to computers, but lost a scholarship to University because of his jealousy and foolishness. He is in desperate need of money, but instead of focusing on himself and trying to fix his problem, he decides to help May. Though he doesn’t believe her at first.

By the way, there is no romance in this book! Trick and May do not fall for each other; rather they become good friends because of Princess X. If there was a romance in this book, I would have given it a lower score. What I really like about I Am Princess X is that it focuses on true friendship. May was willing to endure any hardship to find the whereabouts of Libby. This book is definitely fun. 

My favorite character had to be Jackdaw, I found him to be the most interesting character from the group of friends. I did like how he got a backstory. I really liked how he would playfully scold Trick. By the way, Jackdaw is another computer genius. .+:。(ノ・ω・)ノ゙

The villain was psychotic. I did feel slightly sorry for him, but at the same time I was scared of him. There are some moments that had were creepy in the book. The Needleman needed professional help and counseling. (∗❛ั௦❛ั∗) And I really liked the mystery and suspense because it did work well for this book. I loved the quest for the four keys and I love how Princess X web comic was more than just a comic. It was a sign for May to look for Libby. It was their way of finding each other. Even though Princess X was becoming a popular web comic, I can understand why May never found out about it since she lives mostly in Atlanta with her mother. I do believe that the Princess X was popular locally.

Though there are some things that did bother me with the book. First of all, why didn’t the police do a DNA check when they found the Libby’s “body’? Why?! 。゚( ゚இ‸இ゚)゚。 Secondly, the police was really useless in this novel. May and Trick were far more useful than the police. I would have liked it if May was more developed since she is the main protagonist of the book. I really wanted this book to be longer, and it is under 300 pages. Lastly, I would have liked to have read some of May’s writings for Princess X since May was the writer in the duo while Libby was the artist.

I recommend not buying this book for Kindle just because the font is really small. It’s more of a PDF rather than your typical eBook. In this case, it’s better to have the physical copy. Other than that, this book is standalone. It did end on a bittersweet note. I just wished there were more chapters of the Princess X graphic novel. The last page was really adorable and I liked it. Do I recommend this book? Yes, it is a fun read, but I think this book is more middle grade rather than young adult. 

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3.5) ☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆