American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang |Review

Yang, Gene Luen. American Born Chinese. New York: Square Fish, 2006. Genre: Graphic Novel Intended Audience: 14 and up Personal reaction to the book American Born Chinese was an interesting graphic novel, one that I think I’m going to need some time to digest. It narrates three interlocking stories. The first is the tale of an ancient monkey warrior-god in Chinese mythology (or some imagined Chinese mythology). The second and ultimately the main story is about a young Chinese-American teen boy, Jin Wang, and his struggles to fit in with American culture. The final thread is about an American boy, Danny, and his Chinese cousin, Chin-Kee. It’s not immediately clear how these three stories fit together which made it all the more satisfying when they intersected into one story.

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“Tina’s Mouth: An Existential Comic Diary” | Book Review

Araki, Mari & Kashyap, Keshni. Tina’s Mouth: An Existential Comic Diary. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2012. Genre: Graphic Novel, Contemporary Intended Audience: 14 and up Personal reaction to the book This graphic novel is about Tina, an Indian-American teenage girl who experiences the normal trials and tribulations of adolescence: crushes on boys who send mixed signals, wavering loyalties in friendships, and the struggle to define one’s own identity. The theme of existentialism runs throughout the novel because Tina is taking a course in Existentialism at her upscale private high school.

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“Friends with Boys” by Faith Erin Hicks | Book Review

Hicks, Faith Erin. Friends with Boys. New York: First Second, 2012. Genre: Contemporary, Graphic Novel Recommended Age Group: 13 and up Personal reaction to the book Friends with Boys is a graphic novel by Faith Erin Hicks about a teen, Maggie, who is forced to start public school like her three older brothers. She is awkward and, as the new kid, nobody really pays attention to her except Lucy and her older brother Alistair, both of whom have mohawks and are outsiders. Maggie negotiates high school as well as her insecurities of hanging out with Lucy and Alistair and living in her older brothers’ shadows. I initially liked this book a lot, but the more I think about it the more I think the execution is off.

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“Through the Woods” by Emily Carroll | Book Review

Carroll, Emily. Through the Woods. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2014. Genre: Graphic Novel, Short Stories Intended Audience: 14 and up Personal reaction This graphic novel was scary, but delightfully so. Through the Woods collects five or six short vignettes that could be classified in the horror genre. All the vignettes (I suppose you could call them short stories) were related to the theme that creepy, haunted, scary, predatory, etc things lurk in forests. The vignettes were entertaining and thoroughly creepy. The style kind of reminded me of those Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books by Alvin Schwartz combined with vintage Tim Burton and a little bit Neil Gaiman with some Stephen King thrown in for good measure.

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“We Were Liars” by E. Lockhart | Book Review

Lockhart, E. We Were Liars. New York: Delacourte, 2014. Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Psychological Thriller Intended Audience: 14 and up Personal reaction to the book In Lockhart’s We Were Liars, the main character and narrator, Cadence Sinclair, has experienced a mysterious “accident” that has left her with crippling headaches, vomiting, and memory issues. This accident took place during “Summer 15,” or the summer of her fifteenth year which she spent on a private island off the coast of Massachusetts with her cousins and their friend “Gat.” Cady, her cousins, and Gat form a group called the Liars. After her accident on summer 15, Cady is not allowed to go back for summer 16 and returns on summer 17. Nobody will give her a clear idea of how her accident took place, and this forms the central mystery of the novel: will she remember what happened?

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Welcome to Broke By Books, a blog by Sarah S. Davis, where the guiding mission is to spread a contagious love for reading through helpful, thought provoking, and enjoyable writing about books. Please join me in growing an inspired, engaged, and fearless reading life.

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