Everything I Read In October 2020

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What a reading month! Like September, I read a ton of books, especially graphic novels. Some great, some less than great. There were also two prevailing themes for October: witches and refugees/immigrants.

I have loved reading so many graphic novels because I feel like so many of them are just topics I wouldn’t normally pick, but after reading these, I want to read so many more like them. I definitely had some of my best reads of the year this month and hope you decide to read some of them yourself!

When Stars Are Scattered

Author: Victoria Jameson, Omar Mohamed

Genre: Graphic Novel

Rating: 5/5

About the book: Omar and his younger brother Hassan have spent most of their lives in Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya. Omar has the opportunity to go to school in the camp and it could change their lives, but it also means leaving Hassan every day.

This takes us into life in a refugee camp and is a true story. We see the hardships and heartbreak of day-to-day life as a refugee in a camp.

Final thoughts: This was SO GOOD. It’s heartbreaking, it’s got funny moments, and it’s so eye-opening. I think everyone should read this to get a little more understanding of life as a refugee. So good.

Northwest Resistance

Author: Katharena Vermette, Scott B Henderson, Donovan Yaciuk

Genre: Graphic novel

Rating: 3/5

About the book: This is the third graphic novel in this series and Echo finds herself in the Metis resistance in 1884 led by Louis Riel.

The experience helps her in finding her own identity and facing the challenges in her own life.

Final thoughts: This was good but it’s not my favorite graphic novel series. It’s an interesting concept, Echo being able to go back in time and experience the history of the Metis people, but there’s just something about it that doesn’t pull me in.

The Witch Boy

Author: Molly Ostertag

Genre: Graphic novel

Rating: 5/5

About the book: Aster is 13 and part of a magical family where girls are raised to be witches and boys shapeshifters, but Aster wants to be a witch and still hasn’t shifted.

The other boys are being threatened by a mysterious danger and Aster knows he can help – as a witch. His new, non-magical friend Charlie will help give him the confidence to practice his new skills and truly be himself.

Final thoughts: I loved this. I read the third one in September and this is the first. It’s such a good read for anyone that is looking for graphic novels featuring a lot of diverse characters or kids learning about that or that it’s ok to be different than what people think or expect. I love it!

Operatic

Author: Kyo Maclear, Byron EEggenschwiler

Genre: Graphic novel

Rating: 4/5

About the book: Charlie’s middle school years are coming to an end and she has to find the perfect song for her music class assignment. She can barely focus since she can’t stop noticing Emile and can’t stop wondering where Luka has been for weeks. And now she’s been talked into participating in the end-of-the-year performance with her friends.

Then in class she learns about opera and discovers her love for Maria Callas, admiring her passion for singing and ability to always express herself through music. Can Charlie follow in her footsteps in being the ultimate diva in her own life?

Final thoughts: I enjoyed this. It was an easy read and interesting to see someone’s internal debate about the challenges of liking something that is usually seen as “weird” and her concern for a classmate. I love that she reached out and warmly welcomed Luka. I won’t lie though, I only picked this up because of the cover but it was a nice surprise.

Saga Vol. 1

Author: Brian K. Vaughn, Fiona Staples

Genre: Graphic novel

Rating: 5/5

About the book: Two soldiers from opposite side of a galactic war that is never-ending. They risk everything for love and to bring a new life into a dangerous old universe.

Final thoughts: I actually really enjoyed this and will definitely keep reading them. If you’re looking for a more mature graphic novel, this is a good choice. I just read the first volume but linked a collection of them (book 1 of four, there are nine volumes total split between the four books.)

Sugar Falls: A Residential School Story

Author: David Alexander Robertson

Genre: Graphic novel

Rating: 4/5

About the book: Daniel interviews Betsy, his friends grandmother, about her childhood being abandoned then adopted into a loving family for a school assignment. At 8 she was taken away to a residential school where she was forced to endure abuse and indignity, but she remembers words her father spoke to her at Sugar Falls that help her persevere.

Final thoughts: I liked this a lot but I thought it could have been a little more detailed. Basically a little longer than it was, but it was still a really interesting look into the residential schools, especially if you, like me, know nothing about them.

Eat, and Love Yourself

Author: Sweeney Boo and Lilian Klepakowsky

Genre: Graphic novel TW: Eating disorder

Rating: 3/5

About the book: Mindy is struggling with an eating disorder and is leaning to love herself again. In search of the perfect body, she buys low-fat diet products and magazines that promise the secrets she’s looking for.

On a whim she buys a new chocolate bar called “Eat and Love Yourself” and with every bite, she’s brought back to a moment in her past that helps her look at herself honestly. She learns to love herself and might even accept it from others.

Final thoughts: This was ok. I honestly just picked it for the cover. I loved the art style but the story itself wasn’t my favorite.

There’s Someone Inside Your House

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Genre: YA horror

Rating: 3.5

About the book: Makani Young thought she left her dark past behind her in Hawaii when her parents forced her to live with her grandma in Nebraska. Things aren’t all bad since she’s made friends and it falling for Ollie Larsson, at least until her classmates start turning up dead and there’s a serial killer on the loose. Now she has to face her own dark secrets to find out who the killer is.

Final thoughts: I think horror is a stretch for this. I went into this knowing it wasn’t really scary but a lot more campy which I think helped my perception of it. I thought the villain was kind of boring, it wasn’t like, a key character which I always hope it will be. SPOILERS BELOW!

The most annoying thing for me was the end though, SPOILERS: One of my biggest book pet peeves is the whole death fake out thing and the end was RIFE with this and it really bothered me.

Dark Shadows

Author: Stuart Manning, Aaron Campbell

Genre: Graphic novel

Rating: 3/5

About the book: Barnabas Collins is re-adjusting to life under his vampiric curse, though he is haunted by terrifying dreams of Angelique, his age-old lover and nemesis, and his bloodlust. He fears danger lies ahead and the residents of Collinwood are being threatened.

Final thoughts: This was fine. That’s pretty much it haha.

The Breadwinner

Author: Deborah Ellis

Genre: Graphic Novel

Rating: 5/5

About the book: Parvana is eleven-years-old and disguises herself as a boy to support her family during the Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan.

She lives with her family in one room of a bombed-out apartment building in Kabul. One day her father is arrested and the family is left with no one to earn money or shop for food, so Parvana dresses as a boy to support her family and try to find her dad.

Final thoughts: I LOVED this! I loved the art style so much and the story itself was really touching. Apparently this is a graphic novel adaptation of an animated movie adaptation of a book so it may be a little watered down from the original but I still loved it, maybe since I haven’t seen/read the others? I do think it could have been a little longer and more detailed. Either way, I’d recommend this.

The Blue Road

Author: Wayde Compton, April dela Noche Milne

Genre: Graphic novel

Rating: 4/5

About the book: Lacuna grew up in the ink swamp but she sets off for a new life in the Northern Kingdom where she will hopefully find people like her.

She faces challenges along the way and finds ways to overcome them and when she finally makes it to the Kingdom it’s not what she imagined but she finds a way to make it her home.

Final thoughts: I liked this. It was a fun story about someone finding their place in the world with art that I loved.

Haunting the Deep

Author: Adriana Mather

Genre: YA paranormal historical fiction

Rating: 5/5

About the book: Samantha Mather already survived one curse on her family from the Salem Witch Trials, but now she’s facing something new: recurring dreams about her ancestors on the Titanic.

She’s also being haunted by the Titanic in her waking life and it’s up to her, the Descendants, and dreamy Elijah to figure out who is behind the spell that is unraveling her life.

Final thoughts: I loved this! It’s the second book in the How to Hang a Witch series and I really liked it. I do think I liked the first more, just the general plot, but this was still enjoyable and I’m still a fan of this ghost romance!

The Best We Could Do

Author: Thi Bui

Genre: Graphic novel

Rating: 5/5

About the book: This graphic memoir is about searching for a better future and a longing for the past. It explores the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects displacement has had on Thi’s family after their escape from Vietnam in the 1970s along with the difficulties they faced to build new lives for themselves.

Final thoughts: This was a wonderful graphic memoir about life as an immigrant family from Vietnam. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about this one, but I ended up loving it and it’s another one that I really think everyone could stand to read.

The Unwanted

Author: Don Brown

Genre: Graphic novel

Rating: 4/5

About the book: This graphic novel is a timely and eye-opening read about the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis. It explore the harsh realities of living in and escaping from a war zone. We get to see the horror and hope in the ongoing crisis as we learn what it is like to be one of the unwanted refugees.

Final thoughts: Another wonderful graphic novel about refugees. This is more about the history of refugees in Syria (starting in 2011) and how that has changed along the realities of living in and escaping from a war zone. It’s not just one person’s story. I thought it was interesting getting the background information from this since I don’t know as much about this as I should.

Illegal

Author: Erin Colfer, Andrew Donkin, Giovanni Rigano

Genre: Graphic novel

Rating: 5/5

About the book: Ebo’s sister left months ago and now his brother is gone, too and he knows it could only be to make the difficult journey to Europe.

Ebo sets off to find his brother, crossing the Sahara to the dangerous streets of Tripoli before making his way out to the merciless sea. But the whole way he just thinks of a new life and reunion with his family.

Final thoughts: Yet another great graphic novel about being a refugee and the journey to get somewhere safe. I didn’t like it as much as When Stars are Scattered (this is a lot shorter and less detailed) but it’s still a must-read to really see what life as a refugee is like, in search of a better life and your family. This was such a sad story, but it was so good.

Camp Spirit

Author: Axelle Lenoir, Michel Falardeau

Genre: Graphic novel

Rating: 4/5

About the book: It’s the summer of 1994 and Elodie is forced to take a job as a camp counselor by her mother. She doesn’t know a thing about nature, sports, or even kids but here she is, responsible for a horde of foul-mouthed red-headed girls who may even win her over.

As she gets used to her new environment and gets close to a fellow counselor, a dark mystery haunting the camp also begins to haunt her dreams.

Final thoughts: I thought this was ok. I liked it more than the other ones on here at are three stars, but it’s still not like, a MUST-READ. The story is a little weird, but I like the art and the idea, I do think it could have been a little better though. If you want a light graphic novel with a little paranormal and some LGBT rep, consider this one.

This Was Our Pact

Author: Ryan Andrews

Genre: Graphic novel

Rating: 4/5

About the book: On the night of the Autumn Equinox Festival, the town gathers and floats paper lanterns down the river. Ben and his classmates make a pact to find out of the legend is true, that the lanterns turn into stars once they’re out of sight. The pact: No one turns for home. No one looks back.

They plan to follow the river on their bikes for as long as it takes to find out what happens to them, but soon the pact is broken by everyone but Ben and Nathaniel, the kid who doesn’t really fit in and just tagged along.

Together they travel farther than anyone has ever gone and form an unexpected friendship full of magic, wonder, and a talking bear.

Final thoughts: I loved this! It was such a good story, the art was amazing, and it’s full of great life lessons. I think everyone should read this and maybe it could even become a tradition like chasing the lanterns!

Everything

Author: Christoper Cantwell, I.N.J Culbard

Genre: Graphic novel

Rating: 3/5

About the book: Everyone in this small town in Michigan is thrilled with the arrival of EVERYTHING and it’s picture-perfect manager, Shirley. Soon, the thrill turns to mania when bouts of random fires, violent explosions, and unshakable psychic experiences start to overtake the population. A couple of residents begin to think EVERYTHING is behind it all.

Final thoughts: This was..weird. It wasn’t necessarily bad, but it’s not something I’m super excited I read, if that makes sense.

Trees Vol. 1: In Shadow

Author: Warren Ellis, Jason Howard

Genre: Graphic novel

Rating: 3/5

About the book: Here’s the description direct from Good Reads because I don’t even know how to change this: “Ten years after they landed. All over the world. And they did nothing, standing on the surface of the Earth like trees, exerting their silent pressure on the world, as if there were no-one here and nothing under foot. Ten years since we learned that there is intelligent life in the universe, but that they did not recognize us as intelligent or alive.”

Final thoughts: Another one that was just fine. I honestly don’t even remember anything about this. Maybe looking back this is more of a 2/5.

A Court of Mist and Fury

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Genre: YA fantasy

Rating: 3/5

About the book: I’m not going to include a description since it’s the second book in the series and I don’t want to spoil anything.

Final thoughts: I have to say, after a lot of waffling, I finally decided I’m not even going to finish the series. I just don’t care about it enough to put myself through 1000+ more pages (including the novella and the new book).

Direct from Good Reads: I thought I would enjoy this more than I did. It was definitely better than the first but it just dragged on for me. There were parts I liked but I just couldn’t get past a lot of other things. I didn’t hate it but I’m glad it’s over. I’ll probably still finish the series because I feel like I have to and out of curiosity.

I’m done with the words mate and gossamer forever.

I think “built for Illyrian wings” are just filler words because obviously everything is built like that! They’re Illyrians! With wings!

It was very annoying how much Feyre and Rhys argued and fought.

And every time someone made a vulgar gesture (a lot) I thought of Ross doing his weird backward side fist bump thing in Friends, which honestly improved things.

Anna Dressed in Blood

Author: Kendare Blake

Genre: YA horror

Rating: 4/5

About the book: Cas Lowood kills the dead.  So did his father before he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he was out to kill.  Now Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and spirit-sniffing cat, following legends and lore to destroy the murderous dead.

The next hunt is a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood and he expects the usual: track, hunt, kill, but instead, he finds a girl entangled in curses and rage.  She is wearing the dress she was murdered in and kills any and every person that steps foot in the Victorian she used to call home, except Cas.

Final thoughts: Direct from Good Reads: Maybe closer to 3.5 but I did enjoy this for the most part. As far as ghost romance goes though, that gets like 2/5. How to Hang a Witch does that much better. And the timeline of this was also pretty confusing to me. I don’t actually know how much time passed in this, but it only feels like a couple weeks. I’d probably read the second one.

The Babysitters Coven

Author: Kate Williams

Genre: YA paranormal

Rating: 4/5

About the book: Esme Pearl has a babysitting club even though she knows it’s lame, but she likes it and she’s good at it. Plus, she needs the money since destruction seems to follow her everywhere. Cassandra Heaven is rebellious, Instagram-model hot, and dresses like she found her clothes in a dumpster.

So, why did she join a babysitting club? Because of a mysterious note her mother left her: “Find the babysitters. Love, mom.” Turns out they have more in common than they thought: they both come from long lines of superpowers, magic rituals, and saving the innocent from evil. If you want a more lighthearted and funny book about witches, this is for you.

Final thoughts: Direct from Good Reads: This was a quirky little magic book and I really enjoyed it. Mostly for its weirdness. I didn’t love that the spells are just prefix-kinesis but I did like the weird ingredients required. And the magic 8 ball was my favorite. Cassandra was pretty annoying in the middle part of the book though.

Nightfall

Author: Jake Halpern and Peter Kujawinski

Genre: YA horror

Rating: 4/5

About the book: On Marin’s island, day lasts for fourteen years, the night lasts for fourteen more. The sun is going down and everyone is preparing to leave for the Desert Lands. They prepare the houses with strange rituals that none of the adults will discuss.

Just as the ships are preparing to leave, Line, Marin and her brothers best friend, is found to be missing. They run off to find him since they’re the only ones that know the truth of where he is. But night is falling, the island is changing, and when they return to the ships, it may be too late.

Final thoughts: Direct from Good Reads: I thoroughly enjoyed this! If you’re looking for a good creepy book, this is perfect. If you could read it with minimal lighting, that would be even better! Is this a literary masterpiece? No, but it is entertaining.

My biggest issue is how Line is able to do anything close to what he does (climbing!?) with his injuries. Also I kept forgetting they’re only 14!

Witchlight

Author: Jessi Zabarsky

Genre: Graphic novel

Rating: 3/5

About the book: One day Lelek the witch is going through town when she kidnaps Sanja, the peasant girl. As they continue to travel together, they become more entwined as they look for the other half of Lelek’s soul, which is the source of her true magical abilities. Both women are seeking something and learning to bee whole again.

Final thoughts: I thought this was fine. It wasn’t a standout read for me and as far as witchy books and graphic novels go, it was just ok. I love the cover though.

These Witches Don’t Burn

Author:

Genre: YA paranormal

Rating: 4/5

About the book: Hannah is an Elemental witch with the power to control fire, earth, water, and air, but her magic is a secret and if she’s caught using it in front of a Reg (a non-witch), she could lose it forever. She spends most of her time avoiding fellow witch and ex-girlfriend, Veronica, hanging out with her best friend, and working at the Fly by Night Cauldron selling candles and crystals.

Evidence of dark magic begins to appear all over Salem after a blood ritual interrupted the end-of-school-year bonfire and Hannah is sure it’s the work of a deadly Blood Witch, but her coven is less than convinced and she’s forced to team up with Veronica.

While trying to smoke the Blood Witch out at a house party, Hannah meets Morgan, a cute new Ballerina in town and now she has to balance her dating life and the supernatural crisis which is easier said than done. She will test the limits of her power, especially as the attacks on Salem’s witches become deadlier by the day.

Final thoughts: I really liked this. I’m pretty over Veronica, but I’ll definitely read the second book. This is a fun witchy read with some awesome LGBT rep. Plus, that cover.

Have you read any of these? Which ones? What did you read in October?

Author: Megan Johnson

I'm Megan, a Wisconsin native currently working my way around the US. You can probably find me reading on the beach, wandering through the desert, or hanging out in a cute little coffee shop.

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