Mini Reviews: Graphic Novels

Mini Reviews: Graphic Novels
I borrowed a bunch of graphic novels from the library (read all about that here) and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting stuck into them. Here are my thoughts!

Coraline by Neil Gaiman & P. Craig Russell
I must confess that I’ve never read Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, but I have seen the adaptation and have been curious about how it’d work as a graphic novel. As it turns out, it’s wonderfully creepy. I expected Coraline to have bright blue hair and the story to be as whimsical as it is in the film, but the graphic novel is more realistic. I don’t think button eyes and the Other Mother will ever stop being creepy. P. Craig Russell’s illustrations capture the weirdness perfectly!

Blankets by Craig Thompson
Blankets had been on my wishlist for years. I knew it was a coming-of-age story, but I wasn’t prepared for how gritty it could be. The story of young Craig Thompson and his little brother was both bleak and poignant. The story becomes more hopeful as Craig grows older and falls in love for the first time. Even though the religious aspect was a little too heavy for me, Blankets is full of lovely cinematic panels and gorgeous illustrations.

El Deafo by Cece Bell
El Deafo is one of the best graphic novels I’ve read, about Cece Bell growing up with a severe hearing impairment in the 80s after becoming ill. El Deafo is beautifully illustrated and the story is fantastic. Cece shows us what it’s like to not only be unable to hear what’s being said but understand what’s being said. From the difficulties of making friends – especially best friends – to discovering the amazing Phonic Ear, this is a remarkable story about growing up. Cece now has superpowers: El Deafo, Listener for All!

Phonogram, Vol 2: The Singles Club by Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie
Before I loved books, I loved music. In The Singles Club, each character gets their own comic, telling the story of one night in a dance club, in a world where music is magic – and they are all “phonomancers”. It’s a little odd and I didn’t love all the characters’ stories, but I enjoyed the bubbly Penny B and her love of dancing, The Pipettes, and beautiful boy Marc, who can’t get over his ex. It’s not a favourite, but a fun concept all the same.

The Property by Rutu Modan and translated by Jessica Cohen
I love coming across books I didn’t know about yet end up loving, but it rarely happens. The Property is the tale of Regina Segal and her granddaughter Mica, who return to Warsaw to get back the family home that was lost during the Second World War. The Property is an emotional tale of heritage and family secrets, but with a sense of humour too. I picked it up because I’m intrigued by World War II stories but I got much more: an emotional graphic novel that I continued to think about long after I put it down.

Ghost World by Daniel Clowes
Ghost World is the story of Enid and Becky, two best friends growing up and growing apart. It’s hailed as “a must for any self-respecting comics fan’s library”. Perhaps it’s because I wasn’t a teen in 90s USA, or perhaps I because I just wasn’t like these particular teens, but I found them too pretentious and unpleasant to appreciate what happened to them. Although I enjoyed the occasional panel, the story and artwork didn’t work for me. I welcome graphic novels about what it’s like to be a teenage girl, but Ghost World sadly isn’t one of them.

Have you read any of these graphic novels?

From My Bookshelves / Graphic Novels

El Deafo

From My Bookshelves / Graphic Novels

The Singles Club

From My Bookshelves / Graphic Novels


From My Bookshelves / Graphic Novels


Frame illustrations designed by Freepik.

17 thoughts on “Mini Reviews: Graphic Novels

  1. I want to read Blankets so badly its been on my wish list forever!

    • I think it was on mine for about 5-6 years!

      • Wow! I bet it felt good to finally be able to read it. Did it live up to your expectations?

        • That’s a good question! I never really expected to be a favourite, but I thought I’d enjoy it, so I guess it did. I thought it’d be more of a love story though, rather than also about faith/religion.

          • I figured that in a situation like that I tend to build things up in my mind and usually it doesnt live up to what I wanted it to be like. I’m glad to hear that you still enjoyed it 🙂 I didnt know it was more about religion, I totally had it pegged as a love story

  2. I loved ‘Blankets’, and have had Craig Thompson’s ‘Habibi’ on my wish list for ages. Reading your post could well be one of the most expensive things I do today – so many fab looking books here – I want them all! 🙂

  3. Someone recommended Ghost World to me because they had seen the film, but the book didn’t do much for me, either. Sure there was a snarky, sarcastic character, but the story as a whole held little to no value….. I was disappointed to say the least. Maybe this is one of those cases where the movie is better than the book?

  4. I’ve been eyeing Blankets for about a year at bookstores. My only worry is how to bring the huge book at home without breaking an arm.

  5. Hi, i bought Coraline in graphic novel but i haven’t read yet, but i like the movie. I looooove Craig Thompson’work, Blankets is my favourite. His new Graphic Novel (with space and a young girls seems to be interesting). I recently borrowed El Deafo (read in french and she called Super Sourde = Super Deaf), the illustrations are very cute and the characters are not boring, Cece was really a smart child.
    Ghost World is a great Graphic Novel and movie, even though characters are weird.

    Have a nice day !


    • Oh yes! Space Dumplings? I keep seeing it about. It looks very cute. And that’s really interesting about the title for El Deafo – thank you for sharing.

  6. […] Deafo by Cece Bell A stunning graphic novel about a smart little girl struggling to navigate the world of school and friends after an illness […]

  7. […] El Deafo by Cece Bell El Deafo is one of the best graphic novels I’ve read. Set in the 80s, it’s about Cece Bell, a young girl who develops a severe hearing impairment after becoming ill. From the difficulties of making friends to discovering the amazing Phonic Ear, this is a remarkable story about growing up.  […]

  8. I’ve read blankets and phonogram, but actually can not remember much of it. Ghost girls is on my to-read list and especially with your comments I am very curious to the book ( I like 90s culture). This is difficult to admit: but I never actually liked neil gaiman! El deafo sounds good and I will definetly add it to my tbr list.

    If you like coming of age novels maybe ‘fun home’ by Allison Bechdel or ‘Persepolis’ by Marjane Satrapi are something for you. They deal with serious topics in a accessible way.

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