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review 2019-08-25 15:03
Generation Zero: We Are the Future (graphic novel, vol. 1) written by Fred Van Lente, art by Francis Portela, Derek Charm, and Diego Bernard
Generation Zero Volume 1: We Are the Future - Fred Van Lente

Keisha Sherman desperately wants to find out the truth about what happened to her boyfriend, Stephen. He supposedly got drunk and died in a car crash, but she knows he wasn't the kind of guy to do that - he didn't drink, do drugs, or smoke. Since her dad, the local Sheriff, won't listen and thinks she's just in denial, Keisha turns to the only people she can think of: Generation Zero. She makes a desperate plea for their help...and they answer.

This was another graphic novel I requested via ILL after finding out about it while doing some research for a grant proposal. It was a 2017 Virginia Library Association Diversity Award Honor Book.

I can't recall the last time I read a Valiant series. Honestly, looking through their list of titles, it's possible I've never read a Valiant series. I certainly haven't read any of the Harbringer comics, which are apparently related to the Generation Zero comics somehow.

Although I could definitely tell that there was some backstory I was unaware of (I didn't realize until after I'd read the whole graphic novel that the description on the back cover included some useful info for complete newbies to this world, like me), I think I was able to follow along pretty well. The members of Generation Zero had originally been taken from their families and trained as weapons. Each of them had of them had special powers of some sort, and each of them dealt with their trauma and having their childhoods stolen from them in different ways.

Cronus (I'm not sure about his powers), who appeared to be the team's leader, wanted to do good. Telic (could see a little into the future), meanwhile, wanted Cronus to embrace the fact that they'd been trained to be weapons. Animalia (could give herself other forms, although I think it wasn't so much shapeshifting as crafting an illusion over herself), one of the group's youngest members, just wanted a life that was nice and good. Cloud (telepath) was the group's gentlest and most positive member, despite constantly being exposed to humanity's collective consciousness. The Zygos twins (super smart?) didn't seem to particularly like humans in general. I didn't really get much of a feel for Gamete, a super fetus who got around by controlling the body of her comatose mother like some sort of creepy puppet.

I wasn't really a fan of the artwork. Facial expressions were a bit stiff, and the artist(s) sometimes had trouble drawing the characters consistently. The female Zygos twin, for example, usually looked almost exactly like her brother, only with longer hair and very slightly more defined lips. In some panels, however, she was inexplicably drawn with more stereotypically feminine features: much more prominent lips and thicker eyelashes. It was weird. I did think the switch to Archie comics-style artwork during the "questioning Adele" portion was really effective, though.

This volume just scratched the surface of whatever was going on in Keisha's hometown, which involved weird faceless Cornermen, technology that shouldn't exist yet, and Momoo energy shakes. The characters were relatively interesting, but I don't know whether I'll be continuing on with this. If I do continue on: Keisha's autistic (?) brother just flat-out disappeared near the end of the volume, so here's hoping the writer doesn't forget about him and actually answers the question of where he went in the next volume.

Extras:

Variant covers and a few examples of the artwork in progress (line art, and line art with some color applied but no shading).

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2018-07-08 07:31
The 57 Bus
The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives - Dashka Slater

WOW. I live in the Bay Area, and I had never heard this story. The book was recommended to me by a classmate and I started reading it today a little skeptically. It ended up being so good though.

 

The book tackles some really big topics (including gender identity, hate crimes, racial bias in the judicial system), and it easily could have become a huge mess. But Slater handles the story well. Occasionally bits are overwritten, but the book never becomes salacious or feels exploitative.

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review 2017-01-19 01:34
Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows. (Ransom Riggs)

 

A delightful book indeed, with elements of horror and fiction, this novel is definitely a must read for people of all ages. If you think you’re too old for a child fiction novel, recommend it to a teenager with a wild imagination. It may be a children’s novel but its wise beyond its target audience. More than being about deformed orphans at an orphanage…this novel is about accepting each others’ peculiarities and making them a tool against the bad in this world instead of staying the odd one out. (Believe me I know a lot about THAT)

 

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is one of the best stories that people in growing age should read at least once. For adults, it may sound like a far stretch but its basic audience will definitely be smitten by the thick plot twists, the beautiful examples of a teenagers feel misplaced in this world with a little horror added to it. All parents should recommend this book to their teenagers. And if you are all grown up and haven’t read it (and love reading fiction) give it a try. It might be a bit childish in its language but its worth a read. Thanks for bearing with me.

 

Have a Great Read!

Source: writebeforeyouspeak.wordpress.com/2016/12/31/miss-peregrines-home-for-peculiar-children-by-ransom-riggs-book-review-fantasy-horror-novels-fiction-children
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review 2015-08-29 16:40
Bluefish/Pat Schmatz
Bluefish - Pat Schmatz

Travis is missing his old home in the country, and he’s missing his old hound, Rosco. Now there’s just the cramped place he shares with his well-meaning but alcoholic grandpa, a new school, and the dreaded routine of passing when he’s called on to read out loud. But that’s before Travis meets Mr. McQueen, who doesn’t take "pass" for an answer—a rare teacher whose savvy persistence has Travis slowly unlocking a book on the natural world. And it’s before Travis is noticed by Velveeta, a girl whose wry banter and colorful scarves belie some hard secrets of her own. With sympathy, humor, and disarming honesty, Pat Schmatz brings to life a cast of utterly believable characters—and captures the moments of trust and connection that make all the difference.

 

Though this was written about eighth graders, I found the style to be delightful and the characters compelling.

 

The story was mostly written from a third person omniscient point of view from Travis's perspective, but every chapter had something from Velveeta's perspective. This worked quite quaintly. The sections were short enough that they didn't hinder. Velveeta's voice was so, well, Velveeta, and it really helped to build up her character.

 

I felt at points that the characters were a little too mature for eighth graders, but then I realized that I was wrong and that yes, in eighth grade it really is important who one goes to the dance with. Their actions were very real and really reminded me of what it was like to be that age.

 

I didn't even notice that Travis was disabled, just that he hadn't been taught in the right ways for him. He was just a regular kid with regular problems, and I felt him so hard when he had trouble admitting his struggles. His teacher was very admirable.

 

The strongest aspect of the story was definitely the writing. Schmatz definitely had a compelling style and her words were both simple yet captivating, and she cleverly crafted his story.

 

I don't commonly find stories about middle schoolers strong, but this one was quite fascinating. With its strong writing, I highly recommend it for anyone in the age group.

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review 2015-08-24 01:30
Off the Page/Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer
Off the Page - Samantha van Leer,Jodi Picoult

Delilah and Oliver shouldn’t be together. But they are together. And just as they’re getting used to the possibility that happily ever after may really, truly be theirs, the universe sends them a message they can’t ignore: they won’t be allowed to rewrite their story.
Delilah and Oliver must decide how much they’re willing to risk for love and what it takes to have a happy ending in a world where the greatest adventures happen off the page.

 

This book had a lot of really sweet moments and strong lessons to it, though I found it to be slow at points.

 

This is a companion novel quite obviously and though it did indeed read fine by itself, it was rather apparent that there was a novel before this, and at points I felt like I would have benefited from reading the prior novel. I'd classify it more as a sequel than a companion.

 

Of all things, I found it a struggle to really believe Delilah and Oliver's relationship. They're in high school, even if Oliver's lived forever, and are completely infatuated. Delilah does have moments where she worries about what will happen when Oliver accustoms to real life, but their romance is still too comfortable. Maybe I'd feel differently if I had read the prior book.

 

I wasn't too fond of having multiple narrators here. At points it felt a little tacky, like more of a trope than a benefit to the book. I did enjoy having Oliver's perspective and feeling how strange the world was to him, and I feel like Delilah was the main character, but Edgar definitely felt secondary and reading his perspective didn't add much.

 

There were out of character pieces between sections that were incredibly touching and inspiring that I'd love to quote, and these were my favourite parts of the book.

 

It took me a while to get through this though as the plot dimply didn't hold my attention. Though sweet, this wasn't spectacular.

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