Introverts Graphic Novels | Short Reviews

Are you in a reading rut? Bored in quarantine? Need memes to send to your friends about being bored in quarantine? Maybe even something to send to friends as a nudge towards staring into the darkness of depression, but not in a way that’s too concerning, but maybe they’ll check up on you more? Okay, that last one was too specific, and most likely the best thing is to just be honest with friends and all that, but it might have been what this post was born from. Anyway! Here’s some good graphic novels aimed at introverted people and perfect now that we all were forced to be more introverted during quarantine.

Emotions Explained with Buff Dudes by Andrew Tsyaston

I know this comic writer as Shen Comix on instagram, where you get a sneak-peak of what types of comics this whole collection is about. But it was my favourite of these ones for many reasons, it was both very cute illustration style, most relatable to me and it had worked well as a collection, without having the different comics be to similiar!

I’ll give it 5/5 stars. Definitely something I will pick up again and again when I need a pick-me-up. Funny comics explaining the weird happenings in life. “Life be like dat” in graphic novel form, if that makes sense.

Quiet Girl in a Noisy World by Debbie Tung

I like and relate to this girl’s introverted ft. bookworms story, with an interesting illustration style. I’m not that big of a fan of something leaning so heavily into being ‘introverted’ to the point where it seems less of a personality and more of an anxiety thing, but I’m not going to get into a discussion on that. It doesn’t really stand out among these others, except by trying a bit too hard to be relatable in every aspect. 3/5 stars.

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

This is also a comic series that has lived on the internet as long as I can recall, without me realizing that it’s one person behind this style. Here’s the blog it was born from! It’s just so smartly written, and matched my humor great. It doesn’t shy away from the memoir/darker aspects dealing with depression especially, without overpowering the humor or taking away from anything, a balance which I really respect. The drawing style makes it feel like anyone could do this, but it takes real talent and craft to be this good. 5/5 stars.

There Is No Right Way to Meditate by Yumi Sakugawa

It’s not life-changing or very profound or even very helpful. But it is interesting to look at, a reminder and cute. Maybe being a reminder of what meditation can do for you is enough for me to deem this graphic novel practical in these times with its short colorful guides of genuine tips to practice peace among other such lists. Favourite parts were illustrations of anxiety as a rock, just laying on you. 4/5 stars.

Honorable mentions

Other graphic novels that I’ve read that is similiar to these ones are “I think I am in friend love with you” also by Yumi Sakugawa, and Sarah’s Scribbles vol. 1, 2 & 3. All of my reviews on them are linked. I almost forgot the amazing “everyone’s a aliebn when ur a aliebn too” by Jonny Sun!

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my tumblr & twitter

Also I’m doing mentally good for the first week in about two months. It’s a relief. Hope you are all safe!

Platonic Love & “I Think I Am In Friend-Love With You” by Yumi Sakugawa

Before reading this book I have a confession to make.

I’ve been really missing two friends that I’m having to stop myself talking about way too much in front of my family now. I’m more attached to them than they’re to me, not that I would ever admit it to them. Only that I did to one of them, the last day before I left the city because of corona, saying that sometimes I made dinner just because he was cooking. (okay we might also be flatmates, let’s be sure no one from real life ever finds this blog, shall we?) Only one of us had been drinking and it was not me, so I wonder where that courage came from. I’ve been actually searching for what my fucking problem is. Dodie Clark (a singer/youtuber) recently made a post with a caption about how she’d been obsessed with Shannon Barry as this better version of her, before they met and actually became friends. Like a friend-crush, but also jealous of. It reminded me of my situation, but both the friends are guys, so it’s not like I’m jealous and comparing myself. Well, only a little. They’re so damn smart. Anyway, enough of my troubles and let’s read this book and hopefully get some clarity or relatability.

After reading this book.

It’s like an adult kids book! This book is filled with interesting and cute, simplistic illustrations, the writing is so precise and everything just describes and/or states for future generations how friendships and friend-crushes are these days, where half or more of the relationship happens online. It also describes my situation nearly perfectly. How many times has I been so excited that the other person also struggles to fall asleep and is willing to discuss cults or strange books we read way too young.

It’s just the perfect little graphic novel. I’m shrugging in real life right now, because I don’t know what more to say. Here’s an example;

I really liked the open end, and hope from the bottom of my heart that these cuties will be best friends forever. I might also have had a online movie night with the two friends, and one of them (the one that seems most detached and independent normally) drunkenly said that this was the best moment of his week. So I’m taking that as a sign that even if we are bad at communicating all three of us, like the nerds we are, I’m not solely imagining this friendship to be bigger and stronger than it is. I might not go in for hugs anytime soon though, because last time I tried two of us was leaving for France and the last friend looked like I’d hit him, he was so confused. Totally worth being the dumb, attached one sometimes for seeing a glimse of the genuine shock on his face.

In summary, read this book if you can get your hands on it, absolutely worth it. It’s short and something I would totally buy in actual book form just to have around as a thing that warms my heart.

Also, a thing that I’ve been doing way more recently is texting friends (or telling them face to face when that was a thing) if I’m thinking about them or think they’re particularly cute that day. Like actually showing affection. I’m reserving that for everyone but these two friends though. They get scared easily, and there’s always a risk they’ll tear up if you bake cake for their birthdays. Fuck, I miss them.

Exciting Book Releases Spring 2020

The Hand of the Wall (Truly Devious #3) by Maureen Johnson

Release date: 21. January

Why I want to read it: this series is just great, and I love Maureen Johnson’s writing in general

Deathless Divide (Dread Nation #2) by Justina Ireland

Release date: 4. February

Why I want to read it: The first book Dread Nation was such an interesting mix of historical setting, diversity, kickass armed girls and zombies.

Heartstopper vol. 3 by Alice Oseman

Release date: 6. February

Why I want to read it: Heartstopper vol. 1 and 2 was so so great and I need more of this cute gay love

When We Were Magic by Sarah Gailey

Release date: 3. March

Why I want to read it: queer friendgroup of witches. that’s what I know and it’s definitely enough to get me interested.

Imagine Me (Shatter Me #6)

Release date: 31. March

Why I want to read it: I don’t really? I have nr. 5, Defy Me, 3 out of five stars after having loved the whole series. But it is the finale, so I’m going to hope for the best.

Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan

Release date: 7. April

Why I want to read it: I like this kind of fantasy, or at least I liked Wicked Saints, but I’m nervous to how well this sequel to a debut novel is going to hold up. Seems like a tough job.

Loveless by Alice Oseman

Release date: 30. April

Why I want to read it: Oseman is a great author, and I’m really looking forward to this + the main character is asexual.

Short Reviews: Fencing & Geeks

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

DNF at 25%. I went into this book wanting to love it, but while I’m a huge nerd I don’t immediately relate to this type of geek culture, especially if it’s (this I’ve just realized is a huge pet peeve) based on a made-up fandom. The protagonist seem great and the anxiety so well portrayed, I just didn’t like the writing, which would’ve continued to be a problem. Would still recommend others to give it a try and make up their own mind.

The main character is bisexual, also has character who have asperger’s & dealing with anxiety, and queer love. Ownvoices for anxiety and Asperger’s.

Fence vol. 1-3 by C. S. Pacat

I was very intrigued by the characters, the sport aspect and the conflict. I wanted to love it so much. But then the graphic novels just delivered a row of fencing matches, in beautiful art style, but with little other excitement. There were mentions of stakes and motivation, but in the end, for someone who isn’t into fencing, they’re just two people lunging until one lose. And it’s not like it was given extensive back stories on each of the players, so you’re really rooting for them. In that way it felt like a «final tournament» to something we’ve not been there for the beginning of? What am I missing? Why is everyone liking this? The gay vibes are great, of course. I just wanted to know more about the characters, so I could follow this with some more interest.

Short Reviews: queer magical realism & graphic novels

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

DNF’ed at 70%, which says a lot about how I really wanted this book to work for me.

I love magical realism, but sometimes I’ve found that the books I can’t get into have in common that they have no set plot making the focus feel all over the place and I don’t personally connect with the characters. Which was my problem with this one. I loved the family, the idea that they were tied to their land, the writing (well, it did get too flowery at points), and the queer girls. It feels like someone wrote a lovely world with these girls with flower magic and this lost boy with amnesia, and then just didn’t have a clear vision of the rest. Also the writing tried to push the magical feeling at points by describing the place instead of showing how the magic really could be used, or where it was hiding within the ground, story and people. I still think & hope I might like “When the moon was ours” by the author better.

But Estrella let all those things chase her down the stairs, out of the stone house, through the gardens where dahlias and calla lilies rose up around her like a flowering forest. The lawns and paths flew under her feet, but still, she ran, until the gardens thinned and the land passed from tended to wild. 

Wild Beauty by Anne-Marie McLemore p. 164

Big Mushy Happy Lump & Herding Cats by Sarah Andersen

Sarah’s Scribbles book 2 (four out of five stars) & 3 (three out of five stars).

The second graphic novel felt very much similar to the first one in all the good ways. Obviously the concept of the drawing panels are further developed, but the spirit of the introverted relatable character is still all over it. It experimented with a storyline, which I didn’t like as much. Which is probably why I didn’t like the third graphic novel as much, because it really stayed to themes which felt very much like anything you would find on tumblr/twitter in comparison to the previous ones. It’s still good, but more average. Would recommend the first (Adulthood Is A Myth, full review here) and second, probably the third is worth a try if you’ve liked them.

Herding cats

Heartstopper by Alice Oseman Review | M/M Romances #PrideLibrary19 🌈

The webcomics are free and regularly updated here!

Genre: graphic novel with lgbt main characters (m/m romance) & mental illness

Pages: 278 (vol. 1)

Synopsis

Charlie, a highly-strung, openly gay over-thinker, and Nick, a cheerful, soft-hearted rugby player, meet at a British all-boys grammar school. Friendship blooms quickly, but could there be something more…? 

Charlie Spring is in Year 10 at Truham Grammar School for Boys. The past year hasn’t been too great, but at least he’s not being bullied anymore, and he’s sort of got a boyfriend, even if he’s kind of mean and only wants to meet up in secret.

Nick Nelson is in Year 11 and on the school rugby team. He’s heard a little about Charlie – the kid who was outed last year and bullied for a few months – but he’s never had the opportunity to talk to him. That is, until the start of January, in which Nick and Charlie are placed in the same form group and made to sit together.

They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn’t think he has a chance. But love works in surprising ways, and sometimes good things are waiting just around the corner…

My thoughts

Rating out of five: five

Alice Oseman is great at telling stories in general (see “I was born for this” and “Radio silence” for more proof). Solitaire is the only book I didn’t like from her, which made me more wary going into this one since it’s a spin-off. I don’t think you need to read the novel before to fall in love with this one, but it does give more context and might make it even better. Through this novel I even got a better sense of what Oseman was trying to do with the characters of Solitaire, it was apparent that she cares for them deeply and seeing the big sister (protagonist in Solitaire) from the brother’s perspective and in graphic novel format was so endearing and made me like the book more, well no more like the characters, in hindsight.

The illustration style is both extremely cute and just informal enough. The m/m romance starts so innocent, with two teenage boys figuring themselves out and where being friends stop and flirting starts. They’re both so adorably awkward and comfortable throughout it all. Meeting through sports team has become a trope I’m really into all of a sudden this pride month (having read the amazing “Running with lions” by Julian Winters as well).

This volume and the rest of this on-going series is actually a webcomic which you can get for free at tapas here and is regularly updated by Oseman! The story only gets better (if that’s even possible) as I’ve of course read through it all straight after I was done with vol. 1 and I can’t wait to hold vol. 2 in my hands as well. I really need to get more into queer webcomics and graphic novels. Fence by C. S. Pacat is next on my list.

Feelings while reading this book: smiling from ear to ear, making sounds of cuteness overload and me physically freezing in place when someone tries bullying Charlie (like the big sister I am).

Short reviews: aliens & feminism

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Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

A short book packed with useful and practical advice to how to raise a girl to have complete self-worth and make them prepared, without setting unreachable standards for how to raise a kid. It’s very matter of fact and inclusive, a modern view and setting for feminism and a woman’s place in society (which is everywhere – you just got to get your children to believe it). Wholeheartedly recommend it to every adult who in any part participate in raising a kid. 5/5 stars. 

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everyone’s a aliebn when ur a aliebn too by jomny sun

This book is so special, it’s a graphic novel in very simplistic style, about a lonely alien that’s sent to earth to observe humans and instead meets a lot of different animals and tries to learn from them. It’s just a wonderful, wholesome, calming read with a alien feeling alien to other aliens and then finding friends in strange places. When ur too tired to read anymore you can just sit there and colour in the illustrations, like I absolutely did. 4/5 stars.

 

 

 

Adulthood is a Myth by Sarah Andersen

I’ve fallen asleep like this too many times… 

My thoughts

 

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The scribbles are really cute! It’s the cartoon series/graphic novel I’ve always wanted, an introverted person trying to survive daily life. I don’t have a lot more to say really, it’s great. The title and sweater on the cover is even fuzzy, so you can pet this book? What more do you want

The only negative thought on it is that some places it feels like it tries too hard to be relatable. The drawing style is amazing, and I’ve followed sarah on instagram for a while, so I mostly knew what to expect. Will definitely pick up the second part of “Sarah’s scribbles” soon!

 

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