Book Reviews, Middle Grade

Mini Book Reviews: June 2020 – Part 3

*Books included in this batch of mini book reviews:  Crush (Berrybrook Middle School #3) by Svetlana Chmakova, The Stonekeeper’s Curse (Amulet #2) by Kazu Kibuishi, The Cloud Searchers (Amulet #3) by Kazu Kibuishi, and El Deafo by Cece Bell


» Crush (Berrybrook Middle School #3) by Svetlana Chmakova



5-Star Rating System WhatILiked» If you haven’t read any of Chmakova’s Berryhill Middle School graphic novel series, you are really missing out.  Chmakova captures the essence of middle school perfectly.

» Chmakova’s graphic novels always feature a diverse cast of characters.  You’ll see characters of color, characters of different physical abilities, culturally diverse characters, and religiously diverse characters.

» Chmakova does a wonderful job tackling relevant topics in an appropriate way for a middle grade audience.  I really appreciated the intro into to the topic of consent, which needs to be addressed more in the MG audience.

» The overall theme in Crush is speaking out & standing up when you see problematic behavior.  It also dives into forgiveness, stereotypes, friendship, complex friendship dynamics, bullying, cyber misrepresentation/bullying, gossip, and first crushes.

»  I also enjoy that at the end of each of these graphic novels, Chmakova goes into her creative process for creating these books.

› Recommended to ⇒ fans of graphic novels; reluctant readers

› Trigger/content warnings ⇒ bullying

› If you liked this book, try ⇒ Drama by Raina Telgemeier


» El Deafo by Cece Bell



5-Star Rating SystemWhatILiked» This graphic novel about a young girl with a hearing impairment is based off the author’s own life experiences.   I loved reading an #OwnVoices book on what it was like growing up with a hearing impairment.  This graphic novel could definitely be utilized in a classroom setting as a tool to spread disability awareness.  As an adult reader, I learned a lot.

» I loved the character development that our main character, Cece,  went through over the course of the book.  At it’s core, El Deafo is about being your own advocate and not being ashamed for making your needs known to others.

» I loved Cece’s spunk, and at times snark, throughout the course of the book.  The humor helped balance out the seriousness of the story.WhatIDidntLike» There was something slightly off about the story line with regards to “El Deafo,” Cece’s alter ego that she imagines.  While I definitely understand Cece’s frustrations with how she was treated as an individual with a hearing impairment, the fact that El Deafo is shown retaliating against the characters that Cece felt had wronged her left a bad taste in my mouth.  For example, the imagining of El Deafo kicking Cece’s mother for making her attend ASL classes…

» Admittedly, I was not a big fan of the art style.  It reminds me of something I’d see on Cartoon Network… not my thing.

› Recommended to ⇒ those interested in learning more about individuals with a hearing impairment; teachers

› If you liked this book, try ⇒ You Don’t Know Everything Jilly P! by Alex Gino


» The Stonekeeper’s Curse (Amulet #2) & The Cloud Searchers (Amulet #3) by Kazu Kibuishi


5-Star Rating System

*4.5 Stars*WhatILiked» I enjoyed these subsequent installments even more than the first!  I think this is because we are slowly starting to see move of this world, which is absolutely fascinating.

» I am a sucker for a crew of unlikely friends coming together to save the world.  It’s a trope I’ll always be drawn to.  I love this ragtag group featured in this series: humans, foxes, elves, robots, bunnies… I love all the different personalities & areas of expertise coming together & complimenting each other.

» Prince Trellis is turning out to be a very complex character and I’m here for it!  I am really interested in seeing where his character arc goes. 

» I really think this graphic novel series would translate well to a TV series or movie.  I can vividly see this as a NetFlix mini series.

» The art style is absolutely stunning.  Probably some of my favorite artwork in a graphic novel series that I’ve read thus far.

WhatIDidntLike» My only criticism of this series is that I feel like our main character, Emily, has been very guarded & closed off throughout the first 3 installments.  I haven’t really felt a strong connection to her character yet.

› Recommended to ⇒ MG fantasy fans; graphic novel fans

› If you liked this book, try ⇒ Mighty Jack (Mighty Jack #1) by Ben Hatke




Have you read any of these books?  If so, what did you think?

Comment below & let me know 🙂

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2 thoughts on “Mini Book Reviews: June 2020 – Part 3”

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