October 15, 2014

Graphic Novel Recommendations

Hey guys!
My latest obsession right now is graphic novels! I devoured two already today and have been scouting out even more to read. So, I've decided to compile a list of some I recently read because they are really worth reading, no matter what your opinion is on graphic novels.

The Stanford Graphic Novel Project is a cool thing to check out: It's a bunch of Stanford students and graduates who work together to create a graphic novel based off a true event in history.
These are the two I've read so far:

Shake Girl - Stanford Graphic Novel Project 2008
Raised in the shadow of genocide, where oppression and poverty still plague the streets of Phnom Penh, a young woman tries to support her family as a karaoke singer and fulfill her dreams of becoming a dancer. But in a city where women are treated as second-class citizens and corrupt officials rule with unlimited power, her chances for success are slim. When she is caught between the advances of a married man and the murderous rage of his wife, the results are horrifying. Inspired by true events, Shake Girl is the creation of the students and teachers of the Stanford University Graphic Novel Project, who wrote, illustrated, and designed tragic and haunting book in just six weeks. With its raw imagery and lyrical narrative Shake Girl is a powerful and groundbreaking achievement that will appeal to graphic novel fans and readers new to the medium.
This book started out sweet and lighthearted but it quickly became dark and scary. I thought it was interesting but it wasn't one of my favorites, mostly because I kept screaming at the main character in my head, "Why are you so gullible? Why? Whyyyy?" So yeah.

Pika-Don - Stanford Graphic Novel Project 2010
The year is 1945. Amidst the fever of war, one man will be forced to decide between family and country. Tsutomu Yamaguchi is a navy engineer for a war that is all but lost. When a mission arises that separates him from his family, Yamaguchi makes a fateful, haunting decision. The mission: to help design a Japanese battleship. The destination: Hiroshima.

Fearful that the Americans will invade Nagasaki while he is away, Yamaguchi gives his wife hopeless instructions. But he is unaware that it is the dawn of the atomic age. When an act of unspeakable destruction teaches Yamaguchi the value of life, he must risk everything to return to his wife and child and prevent the death he had imagined for them.

Assisted by his friends Iwanaga and Sato, Yamaguchi returns from Hiroshima having witnessed horrors that no person had seen before. Yamaguchi's journey from the heart of mankind's most destructive weapon is a story about a man who experiences senseless destruction and reevaluates his concept of life, love, country and duty.
I really liked this book. It's a great graphic novel based off the true story of Tsutomo Yamaguchi. It combines faith, love, hope, desperation and courage into one heck of a powerful story that I devoured in one quick setting.

Other Graphic Novels: 

These are just some other random ones that seemed interesting to me at the library. I was gonna pick up Superman, but the size was way to big for a comic book.

11389398Friends With Boys- Faith Erin Hicks
After years of homeschooling, Maggie is starting high school. It's pretty terrifying.

Maggie's big brothers are there to watch her back, but ever since Mom left it just hasn't been the same.

Besides her brothers, Maggie's never had any real friends before. Lucy and Alistair don't have lots of friends either. But they eat lunch with her at school and bring her along on their small-town adventures.

Missing mothers...distant brothers...high school...new friends... It's a lot to deal with. But there's just one more thing.

This book was okay. It wasn't something I had to force myself to read but it wasn't engrossing either. The main thing I didn't like about this graphic novel was that the ending was highly unsatisfying. Other than that, I liked the plot line, and I felt like the main character was okay; she was sorta boring.

Brain Camp- Faith Erin Hicks, Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan
Neither artistic, dreamy Jenna nor surly, delinquent Lucas expected to find themselves at an invitation-only summer camp that turns problem children into prodigies. And yet, here they both are at Camp Fielding, settling in with all the other losers and misfits who've been shipped off by their parents in a last-ditch effort to produce a child worth bragging about.

But strange disappearances, spooky lights in the woods, and a chilling alteration that turns the dimmest, rowdiest campers into docile zombie Einsteins have Jenna and Lucas feeling more than a little suspicious…and a lot afraid.
This book was okay too. I felt like the plot was kinda stupid, even though it sounded interesting at the beginning. I liked the characters because they were realistic and true. I didn't like the end of the book however, it seemed redundant and uninteresting.

Level Up- Gene Luen Yang and Thien Pham
Dennis Ouyang has always struggled in the shadow of his parents' expectations. His path is laid out for him: stay focused in high school, become a gastroenterologist. It may be hard work, but it isn't complicated … until suddenly it is.

Between his father's death, his academic burnout, and his deep (and distracting) love of video games, Dennis is nowhere near where his family wanted him to be. In fact, he's just been kicked out of college.

And that's when things get … weird.
Four adorable—and bossy--angels, straight out of a sappy greeting card, appear and take charge of Dennis's life. And so Dennis finds himself herded back onto the straight and narrow: the path to gastroenterology. But nothing is ever what it seems when life, magic and video games collide.I really liked this book! I felt like it had an important message that related to the real world. I could also connect with it, which is always cool :) I liked the entire plot line, the main character, and the graphics (pac-man esque ghosts!)

Persepolis- Marjane Satrapi
Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran and of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life. Marjane’s child’s-eye view of dethroned emperors, state-sanctioned whippings, and heroes of the revolution allows us to learn as she does the history of this fascinating country and of her own extraordinary family. Intensely personal, profoundly political, and wholly original, Persepolis is at once a story of growing up and a reminder of the human cost of war and political repression. It shows how we carry on, with laughter and tears, in the face of absurdity. And, finally, it introduces us to an irresistible little girl with whom we cannot help but fall in love.
I read this one a while ago and don't remember everything about it, but I liked it. It was a deep historical read but with a totally loveable main character and an intriguing plot. I look forward to reading the sequel.

Smile- Raina Telgemeir
Raina just wants to be a normal sixth grader. But one night after Girl Scouts she trips and falls, severely injuring her two front teeth. What follows is a long and frustrating journey with on-again, off-again braces, surgery, embarrassing headgear, and even a retainer with fake teeth attached. And on top of all that, there's still more to deal with: a major earthquake, boy confusion, and friends who turn out to be not so friendly.
I read this graphic novel a while ago too, and I liked it. It was a realistic-fiction read that was lighthearted and funny, and it went by super fast.

That's all for now!

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