Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel

From Elaine Pasquali

Title:  Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel

Author:  Anya Ulinich

Ever since reading Maus, I have appreciated graphic novels.  This graphic novel  tells the story of Lena Finkle’s life following the end of her fifteen year marriage.  Caught between two cultures, Russian and American, Lena enters the world of online dating and experiences love, sex and loss.  Her present day dating is juxtaposed against previous romantic/sexual experiences.  At the same time she is raising two teenage daughters and juggling a writing career.  While this novel has the sincerity and angst of Maus,  it doesn’t have Maus’ symbolic quality.  An interesting, engrossing, and engaging social commentary about women and divorce.


Maus: A Survivor’s Tale

From Elaine Pasquali

Title:  Maus: A Survivor’s Tale

Author:  Art Spiegelman

I have reread this book many times and each time it’s riveting. The comic strip format with it’s symbolic, allegorical characters provides an historical narrative of the  holocaust, speaks to Spiegelman’s relationship with his father, and describes his own mental breakdown.  A totally different approach to history and a must-read book.

Can’t we talk about something more pleasant? : a memoir

From  Margaret Mezzacapo
Author:  Roz Chast
Title:  Can’t we talk about something more pleasant? : a memoir 
You’ve undoubtedly seen Roz Chast’s artwork and cartoons, and probably derived pleasure and a few laughs from them. The answer to the question posed by the title is, “Yes, we could talk about ‘something more pleasant, but we’d miss out on the valuable story this book delivers.’ ”

Roz Chast’s parents were elderly, and were slipping slowly, but unfortunately, surely towards their last days. Chast, their only child, is thrust into the role of caretaker, a role she certainly didn’t consider to be one she desired. She details, in remarkable frankness and candor, her varying emotions towards this – many of which emotions are less than pleasant. Her artwork, which is featured throughout the book, elevates it to an even higher level. This is a book for adult children of elderly parents, for parents themselves, for caregivers, or for anyone. A particularly important piece of take-away information is to have that potentially uncomfortable talk about medical treatment at the end, last wishes, etc., while you can still have it comfortably and coherently, instead of waiting until all hell breaks loose and then fumbling around in the dark.

Maus: A Survivor’s Tale

From Elaine Pasquali
author: Spiegelman, Art
Maus: A Survivor’s Tale
I have read this allegorical book many times.  Spiegelman takes a journey of understanding about the holocaust, and specifically his parents’ holocaust experience, and uses anthropomorphic animal characters to relate this journey.  Because of its comic book style, Maus has been both lauded and vilified.  Does this style make Maus more effective or is it irreverant?  Readers must come to their own conclusions, but it is a “don’t miss” read.

Ender’s Game: Battle School

From Dean, Teen Book Reviewer
author: Card, Orson Scott
Ender’s Game: Battle School
Ender’s Game: Battle School by Orson Scott Card is an extremely short graphic novel, but that doesn’t make it uninteresting. I read it in about 30 minutes, so you could consider it to be like a TV show. The story, which takes place in the distant future, is about a 6 year old boy named Ender, who has been recruited into a military training facility. This one is more about when he first gets recruited and learns to deal with all the hardships, after all he is only 6 years old. I would strongly recommend this book to action and sci-fi fans. It has a lot of references to things such as null gravity, virtual reality and much more. As for action, this book packs a punch, whether it’s Ender taking out a bully old fashion style or laser action fight scene, it’s jam packed. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who wants a quick sci-fi action comic book.

Witch & Wizard. Battle for Shadowland

From Wendi, Teen Book Reviewer
author: Patterson, James
Witch & Wizard. Battle for Shadowland
 I read the book WITCH & WIZARD BATTLE FOR SHADOWLAND, an original graphic novel adventure by James Patterson. It was an interesting book about a brother and a sister named Wist & Wisty.  Wist and Wisty have magical powers.  They can do amazing things like heal themselves from gunshot wounds and freeze people.  They are fighting with lots of help from their friends to beat the evil adults in the New Order.  They go into different dimensions through portals and are faced with danger all the time.  They go to a dimension called Shadowland that is really scary. The illustrations, by Victor Santos are terrific and make the book as exciting to read as it is to look at.  I enjoyed this graphic novel and would recommended it to everyone who likes scary adventure stories.


From Edward, Teen Book Reviewer
author: Campbell, Ross
“Shadoweyes” by Ross Campbell is a graphic novel that takes place in a dark city named Dranac during the year 200X. The city is covered with disease,  crime and garbage. Hobos litter the streets. The story is about a teenager named Scout Montana who becomes a strange super strong creature and becomes an inspiring vigilante known as Shadoweyes. And through her acts of justice she slowly becomes a hero. Her life comes to a halt, as it became harder and harder to change back to human form. She becomes separated from society and things aren’t as easy as before.

This graphic novel is brilliantly illustrated, but the plot can be hard to believe some times. For instance, she gains her powers from getting hit with a brick. The characters are a bit sketchy too. They are thrown at you, one after another with hardly any information to help the reader know what is going on. Other than that, the novel is decent, however I wouldn’t recommend it to people who want a good story, but to people who want something new.


From Wendi, Teen Book Reviewer
author: Shiga, Jason
The book “Meanwhile” by Jason Shiga was really fun to read.  It’s kind of like a comic book and a maze you follow.  You can read it over and over as you follow the different paths of the maze.  The book starts out in an ice cream shop and you decide if the boy should order vanilla or chocolate.  This is where the adventure begins.  It is very creative and interesting.  You unlock secrets with codes you find.  You can read this book over and over and never get bored.  Everyone should take this book out and enjoy it!

Brain Camp

From Carson, Teen Book Reviewer
author: Kim, Susan
Brain Camp
The book Brain Camp, by Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan is a very interesting book. The main character, Lucas, is a long-haired boy who breaks  into cars and is a slacker. Jenna is a geek, and people consider her to be a freak because she acts very strange and weird. In Jenna’s family, all of  her relatives want to be doctors and lawyers and other jobs that require high levels of intelligence. Jenna doesn’t seem to want to be a doctor or  a  lawyer. Both Lucas’s parents and Jenna’s parents try sending them to summer camps that can get them smarter. However, in the past, both  of them were rejected by every summer program that their parents tried to get them into. This time, a tall stranger visits both Lucas’s and  Jenna’s parents and offers them the opportunity of having their children enroll in a special summer camp that can prepare children for the SATs and other exams. Both Lucas’s and Jenna’s parents decide to enroll them. But when Jenna and Lucas set foot  in Camp Fielding, they sense that  something is wrong with the campers. At first, most of the campers seem just like them. Then, the campers seem to change from deeply dumb to
surprisingly intelligent. They don’t notice how gross the food is anymore, and they have deep interests in highly advanced subjects. Also, Lucas  and Jenna notice lots of dead baby birds on the ground and feathers throughout the camp. They realize something isn’t right at Camp Fielding,  and they become determined to find out what it is.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who likes mystery books, because this book makes you want to finish the whole book in one sitting, due to  the highly entertaining plot of the story. It makes you wonder if there actually are camps out there that can be so mysterious.

Zeus: King of the Gods

From Kyle, Teen Book Reviewer
author: O’Connor, George
Zeus: King of the Gods
I read the book Zeus: King Of The Gods by George O’ Connor. This book is a graphic novel and it started off talking about Gaea. Gaea is also known as Mother Earth and she is married to Ouranos. Then the titans came along, and two titans named Kronos and Rhea had many kids. Every time they had a kid, Kronos would eat them. But when they had Zeus, Rhea did not tell Kronos about Zeus and she tried her best to hide Zeus from Kronos.When Zeus got older, he realized that he was lucky that Kronos did not eat him. Later in the story, Mother Nature told Zeus that if he gave this herb plant to Kronos, Kronos would eat it and then Zeus’s brothers and sisters would be set free. When Zeus gave this to Kronos, Kronos ate the plant and then all of Zeus’s siblings come out of his stomach. But now Kronos was furious and he wanted to kill Zeus and his siblings. It is up to Zeus to stand up to his own father in a dangerous battle that could change the whole universe. I enjoyed reading this book and I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about Greek mythology.