Post-It Note Reviews: Graphic novels, a sentient house, a holiday-themed love story, and more!
Here’s another round of quick reviews of recently released books. It’s I Love to Read Month and post-it note reviews would be a great way to allow students, staff, and librarians to show off their recommended reads!
All descriptions are from the publishers. My post-it review, typed, follows (telling you that so you don’t have to try to read my scrawl—-thanks, carpal tunnel!).
Crunch (Click Series #5) by Kayla Miller (ISBN-13: 9780358414216 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 08/30/2022 Series: Kayla Miller’s Click Series #5, Ages 8-12)
Kayla Miller, the New York Times bestselling author-illustrator of Click, Camp, Act, and Clash, returns with a new Olive story! Olive is balancing the too-many things she wants to do with the too-few hours in the day to do them. When everything adds up, suddenly it’s crunch time!
It’s no secret that Olive loves trying new things. Between taking guitar lessons, making a short film, joining Berry Scouts, and leading the charge on her school’s dress code reform, Olive has her hands full! But she enjoys being busy, so staying on track with her jam-packed schedule should be no problem…right?
As weeks fly by, it gets harder and harder for Olive to find time for her activities, never mind time for herself. Will she be able to accomplish her goals, or will all her sizzle turn to fizzle?
The New York Times bestselling author-illustrator Kayla Miller delivers a vibrant and timely story about the importance of balance, effort, and reaching out for help.
(POST-IT SAYS: I just adore this series and book 5 is maybe my favorite yet. Olive juggles so many interests and projects, which is great, but becomes overwhelmed. Good messages about stress and priorities. Readers who spy this new one will definitely seek out the rest of the series if they’ve missed it.)
Invisible: A Graphic Novel by Christina Diaz Gonzalez, Gabriela Epstein (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9781338194555 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 08/02/2022, Ages 8-12)
For fans of New Kid and Allergic, a must-have graphic novel about five very different students who are forced together by their school to complete community service… and may just have more in common than they thought.
Can five overlooked kids make one big difference?
There’s George: the brain
Sara: the loner
Dayara: the tough kid
Nico: the rich kid
And Miguel: the athlete
And they’re stuck together when they’re forced to complete their school’s community service hours. Although they’re sure they have nothing in common with one another, some people see them as all the same . . . just five Spanish-speaking kids.
Then they meet someone who truly needs their help, and they must decide whether they are each willing to expose their own secrets to help . . . or if remaining invisible is the only way to survive middle school.
With text in English and Spanish, Invisible features a groundbreaking format paired with an engaging, accessible, and relatable storyline. This Breakfast Club–inspired story by Christina Diaz Gonzalez, award-winning author of Concealed, and Gabriela Epstein, illustrator of two Baby-Sitters Club graphic novel adaptations, is a must-have graphic novel about unexpected friendships and being seen for who you really are.
(POST-IT SAYS: Fantastic read! Loved watching this group of very different kids come together to help someone in need and, in true Breakfast Club style, learn a little something about themselves and each other along the way.)
Besties: Find Their Groove by Kayla Miller, Kristina Luu (Illustrator), Jeffrey Canino (ISBN-13: 9780358521167 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 09/27/2022 Series: World of Click, Ages 8-12)
A fun and fresh spin-off of the New York Times bestselling Click graphic novels. With the school dance around the corner, fashionistas Beth and Chanda are ready to dazzle!
With their first formal school dance around the corner, Beth and Chanda are on a mission to make it the best night ever. Step one? Secure the perfect dresses so they can dominate the dance floor! But when neither of them can find an outfit that lives up to their high expectations—and when they encounter unexpected pressure to find dates—these besties will need to lean on their friendship more than ever if they hope to find their groove and bust a move!
New York Times bestselling author Kayla Miller and co-author Jeffrey Canino share a thoughtful and lively story about the challenges of finding your own personal style…and how it always helps to keep your favorite person at your side. Accompanied by Kristina Luu’s dynamic, expressive art, this graphic novel is the perfect companion to Olive’s stories.
(POST-IT SAYS: I snagged this before any of the kids could—I love everything in the Click world. So much great stuff about friendship, sibling relationships, bodies, and the nerves that come with middle school firsts. Love watching all these cool kids grow up.)
Marya Khan and the Incredible Henna Party (Marya Khan #1) by Saadia Faruqi, Ani Bushry (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9781419761164 Publisher: Amulet Books Publication date: 10/18/2022 Series: Marya Khan Series #1, Ages 6-9)
Perfect for fans of Ivy & Bean and Dory Fantasmagory, this is the start of a charming new chapter book series about a third-grader whose plans may backfire but whose persistence and heart are inspiring.
Marya’s eighth birthday is coming up in a week, and all she wants is an over-the-top birthday party just like the ones Alexa, her rich neighbor, always throws. When Alexa parades into school with fancy invitations, Marya can’t help herself—she claims that she’s having the most epic henna party ever. Now she has to convince her family to make it happen. Enter Operation Help the Khans! Marya’s siblings clearly need help with their projects. Maybe she could cook dinner for her parents, or clean her grandmother’s room? Except everything Marya does seems to end in disaster. Will Marya and her family be able pull it together and throw the best party ever?!
(POST-IT SAYS: Great early chapter book. Really nice that this is a relatively long book for this age, but short chapters, a large font, and many illustrations will help emerging readers keep going. I look forward to more in this series.)
Anisa’s International Day by Reem Faruqi (ISBN-13: 9780063206236 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 09/20/2022, Ages 8-12)
From the award-winning author of Unsettled, meet Anisa, the adorable Pakistani American heroine of this irresistible younger middle grade novel about a girl who introduces her class to the art of mehndi for International Day. Filled with fun black-and-white interior art, recipes, and activities in the back matter and perfect for fans of Meet Yasmin!
Anisa is super-excited about International Day and can’t wait to share her mother’s samosas with her class. But when someone else has the exact same idea, Anisa is crushed.
Going to her aunt’s dholki party gives her an idea for the perfect activity instead—mehndi! There’s only one problem: Anisa’s best friend doesn’t seem to like the idea. She doesn’t even seem to like Anisa anymore.
Will Anisa ever get to enjoy International Day?
(POST-IT SAYS: Loved seeing Anisa and her classmates celebrate and share their cultures. The heart of the friendship part of this story—misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and apologies—provide a good example of how to navigate these things.)
Reggie and Delilah’s Year of Falling by Elise Bryant (ISBN-13: 9780063212992 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 01/31/2023, Ages 13-17)
From the NAACP Image Award–nominated author of Happily Ever Afters comes a dual POV rom-com about Reggie and Delilah, who fall in love through missed connections and chance meetings on holidays over the course of a year. Perfect for fans of Nicola Yoon and Jenny Han, with crossover appeal for readers of Jasmine Guillory and Talia Hibbert romances.
Delilah always keeps her messy, gooey insides hidden behind a wall of shrugs and yeah, whatevers. She goes with the flow—which is how she ends up singing in her friends’ punk band as a favor, even though she’d prefer to hide at the merch table.
Reggie is a D&D Dungeon Master and self-declared Blerd. He spends his free time leading quests and writing essays critiquing the game under a pseudonym, keeping it all under wraps from his disapproving family.
These two, who have practically nothing in common, meet for the first time on New Year’s Eve. And then again on Valentine’s Day. And then again on St. Patrick’s Day. It’s almost like the universe is pushing them together for a reason.
Delilah wishes she were more like Reggie—open about what she likes and who she is, even if it’s not cool. Except . . . it’s all a front. Reggie is just role-playing someone confident. The kind of guy who could be with a girl like Delilah.
As their holiday meetings continue, the two begin to fall for each other. But what happens once they realize they’ve each fallen for a version of the other that doesn’t really exist?
(POST-IT SAYS: A delight. The trajectory of their relationship is well-paced and satisfying, but I really loved seeing them embrace their whole, truest selves. Sweet and funny while still addressing many serious topics. Bonus—chronic migraine rep!)
The Carrefour Curse by Dianne K. Salerni (ISBN-13: 9780823452675 Publisher: Holiday House Publication date: 01/31/2023, Ages 8-12)
The Addams Family meets The Westing Game in this exhilarating mystery about a modern magical dynasty trapped in the ruins of their once-grand, now-crumbling ancestral home.
Twelve-year-old Garnet regrets that she doesn’t know her family. Her mother has done her best to keep it that way, living far from the rest of the magical Carrefour clan and their dark, dangerous mansion known as Crossroad House.
But when Garnet finally gets summoned to the estate, it isn’t quite what she hoped for. Her relatives are strange and quarrelsome, each room in Crossroad House is more dilapidated than the last, and she can’t keep straight which dusty hallways and cobwebbed corners are forbidden.
Then Garnet learns the family secret: their dying patriarch fights to retain his life by stealing power from others. Every accident that isn’t an accident, every unexpected illness and unexplained disappearance grants Jasper Carrefour a little more time. While the Carrefours squabbles over who will inherit his role when (if) he dies, Garnet encounters evidence of an even deeper curse. Was she brought to Crossroad House as part of the curse . . . or is she meant to break it?
Written with loads of creepy atmosphere and an edge-of-your-seat magical mystery, this thrilling story reads like The Haunting of Hill House for preteens. Perfect for late-night reading under the covers.
A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
(POST-IT SAYS: A super fun and satisfying read! There’s magic, time travel, a sentient house, intriguing characters, a real spooky vibe, and lots of mysterious disappearances and deaths. Full of secrets, twists, and turns.)
Filed under: Book Reviews
About Amanda MacGregor
Amanda MacGregor works in an elementary library, loves dogs, and can be found on Twitter @CiteSomething.
SLJ Blog Network