So, as you might know, I’m pretty new to the whole ARC thing. Whilst it’s amazing to have all these gorgeous books available (and not so amazing that I now have deadlines for reading), I hadn’t yet hit a 5 star book. I hadn’t read an ARC that made me want to cry my eyes out whilst hugging all the characters… until I read two!
Thank you to the publishers for providing me with a copy of these in return for an honest review.
Delicates (Sheets #2) by Brenna Thummler
This is the second graphic novel in the ‘Sheets’ series by Brenna Thummler… and at first I was painfully aware that I hadn’t read the first book. It’s the story of a girl called Marjorie
starting 8th grade in year 9? who is 14 (I don’t understand American schools) who can talk to ghosts in the form of sheets in her dad’s laundry. Her mum recently died, and whilst I think that is dealt with more in the first book, how we cope with life and death is covered in this one too. Intertwined with her life is Eliza, an avid ghost photographer who is having a hard time coping with middle school. Everything’s pretty self explanatory and whilst I’m sure most people will begin with the first book where this is obvious, it would be nice if it was explained how the whole ghosts-in-the-sheets-at-her-dad’s-laundry works?
Ahhh the ghosts! They were what intrigued me the most… and were also the most beautifully drawn characters. All of the pictures in Delicates are GORGEOUS – pastel colours and big, full page drawings that made me wish I had a physical copy because I bet they’re exceptional. Brenna Thummler is incredibly talented and can show so much emotion in one little picture – I think my family got bored of me telling them to ‘look at this!!’. But I couldn’t help it. The ghosts were adorable.
However, it wasn’t too cute. Near the end of the book, it got quite dark; dealing with real subjects in a concise but haunting (pun not intended) manner. I’d say that this is a young adult book because while the characters are a little younger, it covers serious topics. Whilst, to start, the subtle references to suicide might go over younger readers’ heads, it was eventually spelled it out and talk about it in a good, but not too heavy, way.
Basically, Delicates is brilliant. Moving and beautifully illustrated, it’s funny in a kind of laughing/smiling through tears way. The pace is brilliant and if you’re looking for a graphic novel to get you out of a reading slump, look no further! It hits shelves on the the 16th March.
The Hazards Of Love (Bright World Volume 1) by Stan Stanley
I WAS SO EXCITED TO READ THIS. The Hazards Of Love is a queer, dark fantasy, romance graphic novel about a chaotic delinquent sent into another dimension. Want to read it yet?
It follows Amparo, a non-binary teen who makes a deal with an untrustworthy talking cat that steals their name and their body in the human world and sends Amparo off to the Bright World. Yeah, don’t trust talking cats. The Bright World gives me Mexican ’Day Of The Dead’ undertones from the colours and the creatures – who Amparo has to try and survive. I fell a little bit in love with all the characters and it’s really nice to see a non binary protagonist. Does it affect the story in any way? No. But does it make me smile? Yes.
The Hazards Of Love is not a book for kids… or readers with a weak stomach. Whilst the plot isn’t an uncommon trope, there’s some violence that’s slightly disturbing and the entire book is dark and kind of creepy. It’s not exactly a light read… but that’s only because I was so stressed about what was going to happen to the characters.
I just couldn’t put it down. I LOVE the characters and the vibrancy of the illustrations makes them jump right off the page and into your heart. Amparo is hilarious and real and I just want them to be happy 😦 The title is a little misleading – it’s not really the love story I’d imagined between Amparo and a girl we’re introduced to at the beginning, Iolanthe. Mainly because they’re together for about a page (evil cat, remember?). But it’s a story of survival and other types of love and desperation… and also exploitation. Some pretty serious stuff is covered in the guise of this mad fantasy world.
Also, please note, I haven’t cried at a book in about a year and a half but this may have set me off. Possibly… although I admit nothing. The Hazards Of Love ends on a bit of a cliffhanger – let me tell you I physically gasped – but the rest of the series is luckily online. I am now suffering a severe book hangover, it’s so good.
To sum up, The Hazards Of Love is a weird and wonderful book. From badass female characters to the gorgeous illustrations and the gay jokes – this is just genius, I can’t praise it enough. If you love queer fantasy and dark graphic novels, read this on the 30th March! You won’t regret it.