Despite its ridiculous title, this was a really fun book. Hanako-kun is one of the seven mysteries of Yashiro’s school. She summons Hanako-kun one day because she’s heard she can be granted one wish, but Hanako is nothing like she expected. To begin with, he’s a boy bound to a toilet in the girls' bathroom! Yashiro is desperate to be part of a couple, so she eats a mermaid scale and tries to give its matching scale to a boy she has a crush on (as legend says he will be inexplicably bound to her forever), but she chickens out at the last minute. The scale turns her into a fish, but Hanako eats the matching scale to save her from a worse fate, and fights off the mermaid who has come to claim Yashiro. From that point on, Hanako and Yashiro are bound together with a supernatural bond. Yashiro becomes Hanako’s assistant and the two continue to explore the supernatural elements of the school, keeping them from harming the mortal students whenever possible.
Vol 2: Home Fire, illustrated by Chris Samnee
There's quite a time jump here - volume two takes place 15 years after volume 1, Owen now has a family, a home, and he’s having a bbq. Ma Guang, one of Owen's rivals from his training at the Temple of the Flaming Fist, interrupts his peaceful suburban life and tries to get Owen to come back to the temple. But, there were some terrible things that happened that made Owen sever ties with the Order, and he has no interest in going back. Ma warns Owen that if he found him, others will surely follow, and that’s exactly what happens. Deadly assassins invade Owen's home while he and his wife Kellie are out on a date, and Owen has to fight tooth and nail to protect his family.
Across the Tracks by Alverne Ball
Illustrated by Stacey Robinson
This book seeks to chronicle the success that was Greenwood, Oklahoma, a portion of the city of Tulsa that was a completely segregated Black community. Several Black business owners, entrepreneurs, and real-estate investors had a vision for a community that could be sustained entirely without white businesses, and they went about creating a thriving town with grocery stores, entertainment venues, mortgage offices, banks, and just about everything else you need in a town. Because so much was offered, much of the Black community spent their money in Greenwood, rather than in Tulsa, and money was spent several times over inside Greenwood before going to white businesses. Greenwood got the nickname "Black Wall Street" from Booker T. Washington when he came on a visit. Then, a race war came to Tulsa, with claims that a young Black man touched a white woman. Residents of Greenwood armed themselves and marched on the courthouse to protect the young man. But white residents of Tulsa were also marching on the court house, and the ensuing battle resulted in the destruction of most of Greenwood, the implementation of a military state, the deputization of hundreds of armed white Tulsans, and the systematic execution of many of Greenwood's residents.
Black Star by Eric Glover
Illustrated by Arielle Jovellands
Two astronauts fight against a harsh environment and each other after their ship collided with an asteroid and crashed on the planet’s surface. Harper North, the lead scientist, and the team’s survival expert are the only survivors. The ship’s emergency shuttle crashes around 100 kilometers away, so it’s a race against each other and the deadly summer sun and acid rains to see who can get to the one-person shuttle first. The team came to this deadly planet in search of a special flower with properties that can help an unknown sickness on Earth, but the tragedy of the crash and loss of the rest of the crew bring out the worst in North and her surviving shipmate.
My Life in Transition is a second anthology of Kaye’s web comic, Up and Out, chronicling her life as a transgender woman. Kaye publishes nearly one three-panel comic a day, and this collection is roughly six months of her life. In it, Kaye explores dating as a trans woman, both men and women, and healing after a long-term relationship ends. Kaye also shows instances of people misgendering her, and the anxiety and dysmorphia that often follows. Kaye also navigates friendships and builds personal boundaries with friends, romantic partners, and work. Kaye also struggles with her bio family who is not supportive and exhibits transphobia. A friend suggests a chosen family - building a family of people who are supportive and positive influences. Kaye builds a chosen family of other trans individuals and friends who see Kate for who she is.
Willow loves to be out in nature, especially in the woods behind her house. This is where she finds herself after an episode of anger directed at her big sister. While wandering, trying to contain her little monsters of emotion, she runs into Pilu, who has also run away from home, and isn't sure she wants to go back. With some careful questioning, Willow discovers Pilu is actually a tree spirit, and she lives in the magnolia grove that was so special to Willow and her mother. Willow decides it's better for both of them to go home, so she agrees to lead Pilu back to the grove. While journeying, a terrible storm rages, and Willow loses control of her little monsters and has to exert a control over them she never knew she had in order to save herself and her new friend.
Max is a citizen of Kittyopolis trying to gain more followers for his vlog, so decides to interview his friend, super smart scientist Mindy. Max inadvertently leads the robot Robbie, a minion of the evil Agent M, to Mindy’s secret lab, where there is a squabble over a mysterious meatball from space. A piece of the meatball accidentally lands in Max’s mouth, and he gains super powers! He has super strength, can fly, and can shoot electricity from his tail. Mindy and the newly dubbed Cat Crusader must continue to thwart Agent M from getting his hand on the meatball, and never let it into the hands of the Big Boss!
Fights by Joel Christian Gill
Fights: One Boy's Triumph Over Violence is an autobiographical memoir of Joel’s childhood. As a small boy, he is forced to learn how to fight in order to protect himself from kids at school and in his neighborhood. He makes the assertion that children are sponges so can only absorb so much violence and negativity before it explodes out of them, often violently as well. As he grows, Joel learns to control his outbursts and tries to get away from the constant threat of violence, but he is frequently the target of other people’s anger. As he becomes a teenager, he becomes a target for other males well don’t like how popular he is with the ladies, and he also gets on the wrong side of drug dealers.
Vol 1: Bright World
Amparo is a teen prankster, desperately trying to impress the super-smart Iolanthe, but succeeding in only stressing out their mother and abuela. When a talking cat comes to Amparo's bedroom, Amparo becomes convinced that the magical cat can grant them their wish: to be a better person Unfortunately, the magical cat is a better trickster than Amparo, and steals their name and identity. The former Amparo is doomed to Bright World, a vibrant, terrifying land squished in between the mortal world and what lies beyond. Fierce creatures feed on humans and use memories as currency, and it's all former-Amparo can do to survive! They become an indentured servant to cafe owner, Mimi, who dubs them "Paola," but Paola soon finds a new master - El Ciervo, a creepy "doctor" who specializes in performing medical procedures on humans. Now "Fawn," Amparo must fight their way out of Bright World and back to their life before they become a demon only worthy of Bright World.
Lemonade Code by Jarod Pratt
Illustrated by Jey Odin
In a not-so-distant future, or perhaps an alternate dimension, everyone is gifted in science and math. Robbie is no exception - he’s a super, super genius. Mad scientist Robbie decides to create a state of the art lemonade stand that will mix customers any flavor lemonade they want. His profits will help fund his super secret genius project. But when new girl, Daphne Du-Ri sets up her lemonade stand right across the street, she derails all of Robbie's plans. Her lemonade somehow resonates with people, and they can't get enough, while with his, the gimmick is sure to wear off. Robbie and Daphne go head-to-head in a battle for the neighborhood's very soul.
I've been reading manga and comicbooks for years. Now, I write reviews and other helpful things for School Librarians, teachers, parents, and students.
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