Graphic Memoir Review | Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me by Ellen Forney

Marbles by Ellen Forney Review Paige's pagesTITLE: Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me
: Ellen Forney
: Avery
: November 6, 2012
: Adult Graphic Memoir
: 256

In this intimate and informative graphic memoir, comic artist Ellen Forney tells her story of battling bipolar disorder.  Along the way, she delves into the origins and issues of the “crazy artist” stereotype, and rewrites her own identity as a creator with mental illness.  Most of all, Marbles is for readers who want insight into the long-term challenges of living with bipolar disorder.  
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Book Review | This Is Shyness by Leanne Hall

This is Shyness Paige's PagesTITLE: This is Shyness
SERIES: This is Shyness #1
: Leanne Hall
: Text
: August 2, 2010
: Young Adult, Magical Realism
: 272

In the magical realist town of Shyness where the sun never rises, strangers Wolfboy and Wildgirl share a dangerous night of self-discovery and unexpected kinship.  While Shyness is a vivid and interesting setting for this YA adventure story, I struggled to connect to the characters or the sense of stakes.

Wolfboy is a Shyness local.  Wildgirl is on a mission to forget.  When their eyes meet across the room at the Diabetic Hotel, they join forces and decide to see where the night takes them.  As their backstories gradually unravel, their bond deepens, and the adventure heats up. Continue reading

Book Review | A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman

A Time to Dance Review Paige's PagesTITLE: A Time to Dance
: Padma Venkatraman
: Nancy Paulsen Books
: May 1, 2014
: Young Adult Fiction
: 320

A Time to Dance is unlike any other book I’ve read.  Delivered in flowing verse, Venkatraman combines a lovingly detailed representation of disability with sumptuous insights to her own culture and religion.  The result is a story for all ages that celebrates the beauty in all things.  Its uplifting message has resonated with me long after reading, and impacted my perspectives on disability and religion.   Continue reading

Book Review | It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

It Ends With Us Review Paige's PagesTITLE: It Ends With Us
: Colleen Hoover
: Simon & Schuster UK
: August 2, 2016
: Contemporary Adult Fiction
: 376

It Ends With Us is a powerfully moving novel about domestic abuse.  It educates readers on the self-delusions and self-blame that perpetuate the abusive cycle, as well as the financial and family factors that sometimes make separation impossible.  For a book with such a light and accessible tone, It Ends With Us took me on a dark emotional journey that resonated  long after reading.  This is a necessary book that makes difficult discussions accessible to our generation. Continue reading

Graphic Novel Review | American Born Chinese by Gene Luan Yang

american-born-chinese-review-paiges-pagesTITLE: American Born Chinese
: Gene Luan Yang
: First Second
: September 1, 2006
: Junior Graphic Novel
: 240

Fusing mythology with a contemporary coming of age story, American Born Chinese confronts Asian stereotypes and cultural alienation.  These topics may sound heavy, but Yang weaves his story around these themes effortlessly, like a present-day Aesop’s fable while remaining fresh and fun.

Jin Wang is the only Chinese American at his new school.  When the new kid from Taiwan tries to befriend him, Jin is scared that being seen with a FOB (Fresh Off the Boat) will destroy his chances of fitting in.  Meanwhile, cool all-American teen Danny is scared his Chinese cousin Chin-Kee will ruin his rep with his popular crush. Continue reading

Book Review | The Camera My Mother Gave Me by Susanna Kaysen

the-camera-my-mother-gave-me-review-paiges-pagesTITLE: The Camera My Mother Gave Me
AUTHOR: Susanna Kaysen
RELEASE DATE: October 2, 2001
GENRE: Nonfiction, Memoir

In this soul-bearing memoir by the author of Girl, Interrupted, Susanna Kaysen chronicles her relationship with her vagina.  When this under-appreciated part of her anatomy starts to hurt, destroying her sex life, her vagina suddenly becomes the centre of her universe.  Susanna is forced to analyse her new relationships with emotional abuse and chronic pain, and how all this impacts her identity as a woman… in a nutshell, everything you’re not supposed to talk about in public.
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Graphic Novel Review | Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

ghosts-graphic-novel-review-paiges-pagesTITLE: Ghosts
AUTHOR: Raina Telgemeier
PUBLISHER: Scholastic
RELEASE DATE: September 13, 2016
GENRE: Junior Graphic Novel

Ghosts is a heartwarming graphic novel that celebrates life… even after death.  Featuring a cast of differently abled and racially diverse characters, it is a colourful and timely story that will inspire conversation between parents and junior readers.

Cat is an introvert while her little sister Maya loves to sing and dance her heart out.  However, Maya’s cystic fibrosis means she is often out of breath.  When their family moves to the coastal town of Bahía de la Luna for Maya’s health, Cat is sad to swap sunshine and friends for a foggy town obsessed with the afterlife.  After all, ghosts aren’t real…  Right? Continue reading

Graphic Series Review | Kabuki (Vol. 1-7) by David W. Mack

Kabuki Series Review Paige's pagesSERIES: Kabuki
PUBLISHER: Marvel Comics
RELEASE DATE: 2001 – 2008

The Kabuki series opened my eyes to the boundless potential of the graphic novel genre.  Not only is the plot the definition of epic, but its gorgeous art style destroys expectations.  The core of Kabuki is personal transformation – rewriting one’s identity, history, and culture to live a new narrative.  It explores the binary of inner/outer self, with the motif of masks to protect/represent true self.  I’ve lost count of all the times I’ve raved about this series to friends.  It is an unforgettable contribution to the “war of art”.   Continue reading

Book Review | Paperboy by Vince Vawter

paperboy-review-paiges-pagesTITLE: Paperboy
AUTHOR: Vince Vawter
PUBLISHER: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
RELEASE DATE: May 14, 2013
GENRE: Junior Fiction

Set in ’50s suburban Memphis, Paperboy is a gripping Own Voices coming-of-age story.  11-year-old Little Man has battled with a debilitating stutter all his life.  His unique view of the world takes us on an adventure beyond the walls people raise to defend their inner truths.  Paperboy is about not judging a book by its cover.  

Little Man is our irresistible first person narrator.  When his best friend goes away for a month, Little Man offers to cover his newspaper delivery route.  This seemingly trivial favour is a terrifying challenge.  When he musters the courage to speak to strangers, he discovers much more to his neighbourhood than meets the eye.  Continue reading

Book Review | Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

simon-vs-the-homo-sapiens-agenda-review-paiges-pagesTITLE: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
AUTHOR: Becky Albertalli
RELEASE DATE: April 7, 2015
GENRE: Young Adult Fiction, LGBTQIA

With surprising heart, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda teaches that everyone’s journey is valid and private.  I grew invested in characters who represented many aspects of my  teen experience, and taught me empathy for experiences beyond my own.   

Until recently, Simon’s secret was safe with his online pen-pal, Blue.  But when his classmate blackmails him with screenshots revealing he’s gay, falling in love with Blue over email gets a whole lot more complicated.
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