Reading the Great Graphic Novels 2015 Noms: Already reviewed from Telgemeier, Tamaki(s), Pope, and Smith

by Tessa

Read about the whys of this series here.

Sometimes you eat too much pizza. Sometimes you review a book on a nominations list that you were planning to write mini reviews on. Sometimes you do both when the mini-reviews are to be written. I already did the work, so you can clicky click to the reviews!



Raina Telgemeier, writer and illustrator

Graphix (Scholastic)

I reviewed it on here!

Excerpt: “Telgemeier’s writing and drawing makes me feel comfortable, like I’m reading a surprisingly interesting (and long) cartoon in a newspaper. Her family stories have the rhythm of a good sitcom, replete with punchlines and realistically wacky situations. I was so happy to slip back into those rhythms. . .”

Is it “great” for teens?: Yes. Telgemeier is my go-to author for realistic teen comics, and this one is no exception.


The Rise of Aurora West

Paul Pope, Writer

J.T. Petty, Writer

David Rubin, Illustrator

First Second

I reviewed it on No Flying No Tights

Excerpt: “The daughter of Arcopolis’s late science hero, Haggard West, the gritty Aurora has a room full of secrets and a calling to kill the monsters that have overrun her city. The Rise of Aurora West is a bracing piece of the fantastic. It will retain fans of theBattling Boy world with a compelling mix of new backstory and connections to that which is to come.”

Is it “Great” for teens?:  Yes. I love the adventure, danger and mystery in the world that Pope has created, and Aurora has a complex and emotionally layered story to tell. (Just wish it were in color).


This One Summer

Jillian Tamaki, illustrator

Mariko Tamaki, writer

First Second

I reviewed it here!

Excerpt: “It’s a summer made of moments, and some of them will affect Rose in obvious, rememberable ways, and some of them are the kind that pass by and come back in embarrassment or with a laugh years later, or might never be remembered at all. Here we get to see them play out and wonder which are which.”

Is it “great” for teens?: Yes. I think everyone should read this. It’s gorgeous. Read it. Read it. Read it.


Barbarian Lord

Matt Smith, writer and illustrator

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

My review is over at No Flying No TightsHere’s a small excerpt:

“Those who come to Barbarian Lord looking for a simple adventure will find their fair share of fights, trolls, political machinations, and swords. However, some readers may be put off by its formal language and sentence construction (e.g. “Your gods are as grim as your land. You should look to Skraal, who flies over your mountain god and must then be his better”). For those who love traditional storytelling and the epic deeds of gods, monsters, and men, there is much to enjoy herein. Barbarian Lord subverts expectations by delivering more than it seems at first to offer—just as Barbarian Lord is more than a brutish warrior beneath the grimace.”

Is it “great” for teens?: I don’t know! I definitely like it. I can see some teens getting into it. Once more of them read it I’ll get back to you….


Smörgåsbord: Lunchtime Links

collected by Tessa

Sometimes I can’t blog about what I’m reading, for various reasons. But what I can do is point you towards good things to read instead!

Commemorative Portrait of Damodarji II (1797-1826) Performing the Ceremony of the Offering of Food to the Seven Images (Sapata Svarup ki Utsava) in 1822India, Rajasthan, Nathadwara, circa 1822-1850 via

Commemorative Portrait of Damodarji II (1797-1826) Performing the Ceremony of the Offering of Food to the Seven Images (Sapata Svarup ki Utsava) in 1822
India, Rajasthan, Nathadwara, circa 1822-1850 via

1. This article by Kelly at Stacked, and the links within: Discussing Sex, Sexual Assault, and Rape: A Resource Guide. So important to keep talking about. And well written.

2. Related: Cosplay Does Not Equal Consent

3. Rookie Diaries – These are actual teens talking about their actual lives, and they rule.

4. I just found this blog through another vintage illustration blog, and it makes me really happy! My Vintage Book Collection.

5. Help me pick what to read next! I’m trying to work through books that I put on my to-read list in 2008. Tell me what to read next in the comments if you’re feeling helpful.


Once Upon a Time on the North – Philip Pullman

Fantasy adventure in a world I already love. Armored bears. Political intrigue.


How Does it Feel to Be a Problem?: Being Young and Arab in America – Moustafa Bayoumi

A trusted friend gave this five stars – an oral history of Arab-Americans in the outer boroughs of NYC.


Demons in the Spring – Joe Meno

illustrated shorties.

Cat Break!

I was away this weekend, comicking it up at SPX 2012.

I guess Turkey missed me because whenever I tried to write anything on the laptop, this happened:

cat interference

So while I take a break to hang out with my cat, you can investigate some of the talented people and the art they make that I got at the Expo.

I didn’t have enough cash to buy everything that I wanted to, so this is just a small selection. But there’s a whole list on the SPX site to check out.

Hellen Jo / Jin & Jam No. 1 : A tale of small delinquencies and new friendship in Northern California.

Steve Wolfhard / Turtie Needs Work : A small turtle tries out different jobs to heartbreakingly cute/funny degrees. (Reminded me of the humor in the Marcel the Shell videos) (published by Koyama press, who had so many delicious things to buy, including these mysterious and beautiful Canadians and this wonderfully inventive with a twist of grotesque Canadian.)

Ines Estrada / Ojitos Borrosos : indie comics en español!

Katie Omberg / Gay Kid : a rougher, more sketchy style of minicomic about growing up gay.

I met Nate Powell! He was so nice. And I bought Year of the Beasts, his collaboration with the author Cecil Castellucci, so I hope I can review it here soon.



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