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review 2018-01-23 01:02
Complete Elfquest, Volume 1 by Wendi & Richard Pini
The Complete Elfquest Volume 1 - Wendy Pini,Rick Pini

Elfquest debuted in 1978 and has a strong cult following - its notable in having a planned conclusion. It takes itself very seriously. This volume collects the first story arc in which the Wolfrider clan of elves is put on the path to seek out others of their kind, and ultimately, their origins in the distant past.

There were many characters, but very few of them get anything like development - at least in these pages, there are hundreds and hundreds more that follow, but I'm not going to read them - they have unique faces and names that are helpfully mentioned when they enter a panel but otherwise they're defined by um....their faces and names and that thing that they do.

I did want to know what happened and certain points of lore that were hinted at, the story does its job, but I hated having to page through the machismo bullshit of submitting to 'recognition', twice, and all of that other ur-'Tarnsman of Gor' nonsense. I get that this was ground-breaking, and that female elves had an unquestioned equality within the clan which is a big deal, but there were too many time when I had to sift through seemingly endless exposition panels instead of something more dynamic.

This isn't a series I'd invest in.

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review 2018-01-02 02:18
Phoebe and Her Unicorn, Heavenly Nostrils #1 by Dana Simpson
Phoebe and Her Unicorn - Dana Simpson

When I was growing up there was no comic strip I loved more than Calvin & Hobbes. On a basic level it spoke to me as a young, over-imaginative kid who dragged his stuffed bear around with him for perhaps too long. I loved the sight gags, the dream sequences, the perplexed adults, the other skeptical children. Long after it was cancelled I still returned, time after time, to my old collections and picked up more until I had the whole series.

With Phoebe and Her Unicorn I finally see a successor. Phoebe is out entertaining herself in the woods when she accidentally skips a stone over the water into a unicorn's head. The unicorn is snapped out of a trance - she'd been mesmerized by her own reflection - and grants Phoebe a wish. She wishes for the unicorn, one Heavenly Nostrils, to be her best friend.

What follows are very sweet, but also sly, strips about modern pre-adolescence, school, parents, holidays and weird food. Its perfect. I would be offering it to every kid that comes into the shop if it weren't for the instant rejection of a pink cover with lady names on. Oh well, little girls love it.

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review 2017-11-28 00:41
All's Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson
All's Faire in Middle School - Victoria Jamieson

Preteen angst visits the ren-faire and it was enjoyable.

Imogene has grown up working and playing at the Renaissance Faire where her parents work. This year she's old enough to start training as a squire and she's proud of the responsibility. Too prove her worth she decides to brave public school after a lifetime of homeschooling. She soon runs afoul of cliquey preteen girls who criticize her clothes and she becomes aware that her family and her home are not like everyone else's.

Middle school is just awful. There's no pretending its anything else. Jamieson writes a all-too-typical story with an unusual flair.

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review 2017-11-21 03:35
Brave, (Awkward #2) by Svetlana Chmakova
Brave - Svetlana Chmakova
  Jensen is having a hard time in middle school, but the tragic fact, initially at least for the reader, is that he doesn't know it. Because he believes that sunspots are a real danger to us all, among other reasons, he's teased, tormented, and even ignored or taken for granted by his classmates.

Chmakova's story is full of humor and affectionate for its characters, and the first half of it was a great character study. As for the second part, most people won't have any issues, but I was bothered by how the plot was resolved. Brave has an important message, but I don't know if its the right way to teach compassion.


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review 2017-11-11 23:48
Over a month behind...yikes!
Spinning - Tillie Walden,Tillie Walden

Tillie Walden's Spinning is a graphic novel/memoir in the vein of Blankets or Stitches, err, with less child abuse. It chronicles the author's competitive experience with figure skating as a child, falling in love, learning how to communicate, and the changes she was undergoing and why she ultimately felt like she had to leave the sport behind.


Despite also being an introvert and being on the queer spectrum, the only pieces of Walden's experience that I could personally relate to were parental indifference to sports involvement. I, of course, used that as an excuse to never play any sports past 3rd grade. This is also one of the first books I can immediately tell has been created by someone younger than my generation. There's a quality to the book, not to mention the ubiquity of handheld smart electronics, that I can't pinpoint that made me feel ancient. It was a great experience.


This was a great find, highly recommended for any teen reader (or older) looking for a good coming of age story. Walden's storytelling transcends any pigeon-holes a bookseller may be tempted to use to categorize her book.

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