blog tour, book review, comic/graphic, middlegrade

First Second Books: Girl Power Graphic Novels! (Blog Tour)

Welcome to my stop on the Girl Power Graphic Novels! Blog Tour by First Second Comics! I am very delighted and honoured to be a part of this tour, and to have the opportunity not only to receive the above comics / graphic novels and read them, but also to talk to all of you about them! Continue reading to learn more about this stack!

– Tour Stops –

Don’t forget to check out all of the other blog tour stops!

4/23 — Novel Novice
4/23 — YA Bibliophile
4/23 — Miss Print
4/23 — Infinite Golden Floors
4/24 — The Book Rat
4/24 — A Backwards Story
4/24 — Green Bean Teen Queen
4/24 — Kid Lit Frenzy
4/25 — The Adventures of Cecelia Bedelia
4/25 — Cherry Blossoms and Maple Syrup
4/25 — Daddy Mojo
4/25 — Love Is Not a Triangle
4/26 — Librarian’s Quest
4/26 — Ex Libris Kate
4/26 — Bluestocking Thinking
4/26 — The Roarbots
4/27 — Book Crushin’
4/27 — Charlotte’s Library
4/27 — Me on Books

Title: The City on the Other Side
Creators: Mairghread Scott and Robin Robinson
Type: Fiction, Graphic Novel
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Published: April 24, 2018

When a wealthy and sheltered young girl stumbles into a pitched war between two fairy kingdoms, the fate of San Francisco itself hangs in the balance!

The first decade of the twentieth century is coming to a close, and San Francisco is still recovering from the great earthquake of 1906. Isabel watched the destruction safely from her window, sheltered within her high-society world.

Isabel isn’t the kind of girl who goes on adventures. But that all changes when she stumbles through the invisible barrier that separates the human world from the fairy world. She quickly finds herself caught up in an age-old war and fighting on the side of the Seelie—the good fairies.

This graphic novel was so, so, so cute! I absolutely loved the colours and the artist’s style. The plot was also full of adventure and mystery (but nothing too complex for middle grade readers not to fully grasp). I loved that the heroine is POC (litinx, I think? I’m not sure!), and that her sidekick is also POC (Philipino)! There were also a lot of faeries in this book (seelie and unseelie, both of which I’m always down for!) I really enjoyed this one and hope to see more from this author + artist combo!

Title: Star Scouts: The League of Lasers
Creator: Mike Lawrence
Type: Fiction, Graphic Novel
Genre: Middle Grade, Science Fiction, Adventure
Published: March 20, 2018

Avani has found the one place in the universe where she fits in: Star Scouts. The League of Lasers is the second volume of this action-packed graphic novel series by Mike Lawrence.

During a troop meeting, a robot messenger delivers Avani some exciting news: she has been invited to join a secret society of elite scouts known as the League of Lasers. She is eager to join their ranks, but first she has to survive her initiation challenge.

Stranded on an uncharted planet, Avani must contend with the methane atmosphere, hostile frog-like inhabitants, and her dwindling supplies of food and water. But even worse: her arch nemesis, Pam, is stranded there, too.

I won’t lie, it’s great to see a science fiction themed middle grade comic book series out there! I unfortunately was unable to get my hands on the book that came before League of Lasers (since this is the sequel), but I was still able to understand what’s going on (so there should be no worries about middle grade readers getting the grasp of things if they also by some chance skipped the first book). The MC in this one is also POC, which is awesome! I’m really happy to see that First Second is publishing all of these full colour, and glossy-paged comics! I’m the kind of person who is always disappointed when picking up a graphic novel with a beautiful and vibrant cover, and then finding that the interior art either does not compare, or that there is no colour, or that the paper is of poor quality. Needless to say, I really enjoyed Star Scouts: League of Lasers!

Title: Cucumber Quest: The Doughnut Kingdom
Creator: Gigi D.G.
Type: Fiction, Graphic Novel
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Adventure, Humor
Published: October 10, 2017

What happens when an evil queen gets her hands on an ancient force of destruction?

World domination, obviously.

The seven kingdoms of Dreamside need a legendary hero. Instead, they’ll have to settle for Cucumber, a nerdy magician who just wants to go to school. As destiny would have it, he and his way more heroic sister, Almond, must now seek the Dream Sword, the only weapon powerful enough to defeat Queen Cordelia’s Nightmare Knight.

Can these bunny siblings really save the world in its darkest hour?

Sure, why not?

Title: Cucumber Quest: The Ripple Kingdom
Creator: Gigi D.G.
Type: Fiction, Graphic Novel
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Adventure, Humor
Published: February 27, 2018

The quest to save Dreamside continues! After a surprise attack at sea, Cucumber finds himself in the Ripple Kingdom, home to white sand, blue waves . . . oh yeah, and the giant, terrible squid monster holding Almond and Sir Carrot captive. Can our so-called “legendary hero” rescue his companions from the nefarious Splashmaster?

Nah, probably not.

Good thing Princess Nautilus is here! With her wit, charm, and positive attitude, there’s no way they can lose. But saving the day won’t be as simple as it seems once a 500,000-year-old secret comes to light . . .

Adapted from Gigi D.G.’s popular webcomic series of the same name, Cucumber Quest: The Ripple Kingdom is the second book of a clever, adorable, and hilarious four-volume heroic adventure that is sure to make you hungry for sweets and action.

I absolutely love how colourful these are as well. Both comics also made me snort-laugh quite a few times! The creator definitely has a sense of humour! The food-themed kingdom in the first book reminds me a little of Adventure Time (which is always awesome), and I found it funny how unreliable the adults were (kind of reminded me of Series of Unfortunate Events in that way)! I also love underwater settings, so the second book was a delight to read as well! It was also great that a number of gender norms / issues were addressed in these, which is something that I believe younger readers need to learn about as soon as possible (so I completely approve of these books addressing these subjects). This is definitely a series that I will continue reading.

Title: Scarlett Hart: Monster Hunter
Creators: Marcus Sedgwick and Thomas Taylor
Type: Fiction, Graphic Novel
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Adventure
Published: April 3, 2018

Scarlett Hart, orphaned daughter of two legendary monster hunters, is determined to carry on in her parents’ footsteps—even if the Royal Academy for the Pursuit and Eradication of Zoological Eccentricities says she’s too young to fight perilous horrors. But whether it’s creepy mummies or a horrid hound, Scarlett won’t back down, and with the help of her loyal butler and a lot of monster-mashing gadgets, she’s on the case.

With her parent’s archrival, Count Stankovic, ratting her out to T.R.A.P.E.Z.E. and taking all the monster-catching rewards for himself, it’s getting hard for Scarlett to do what she was born to do. And when more monsters start mysteriously manifesting than ever before, Scarlett knows she has to get to the bottom of it and save the city… whatever the danger!

In his first adventure for middle-grade readers, acclaimed YA author Marcus Sedgwick teams up with Thomas Taylor (illustrator of the original edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone) to create a rip-roaring romp full of hairy horrors, villainous villains, and introducing the world’s toughest monster hunter—Scarlett Hart!

Scarlett Hart: Monster Hunter is also in full colour, with glossy pages, but the colours are a little more muted to suit the slightly darker themes and story. I also loved that the MC is female and that she has a male sidekick! This is in no way meant to be be hateful toward men. It’s simply that women have been cast as side characters, or sidekicks, for so long, that it’s empowering to see those roles reversed. I really enjoyed the type of humour found in this comic as well. The time period also appears to either be late Victorian, or early 1900’s, which is an era that I very much enjoy to read about. And I always like when that era is mixed with paranormal and supernatural elements, an area in which this graphic novel definitely didn’t disappoint!

Title: Giants Beware!
Creators: Jorge Aguirre, Rafael Rosado, John Novak, and Matthew Schenk
Type: Fiction, Graphic Novel
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Adventure
Published: April 10, 2012

Make way for Claudette the giant slayer in this delightful, fantastical adventure!

Claudette’s fondest wish is to slay a giant. But her village is so safe and quiet! What’s a future giant slayer to do?

With her best friend Marie (an aspiring princess), and her brother Gaston (a pastry-chef-to-be), Claudette embarks on a super-secret quest to find a giant—without parental permission. Can they find and defeat the giant before their parents find them and drag them back home?

Giants Beware! offers up a wondrous, self-contained world in the tradition of the very best of Pixar. Claudette and her friends will have you laughing out loud from page one.

Title: Dragons Beware!
Creators: Jorge Aguirre, Rafael Rosado, John Novak, and Mark Siegel
Type: Fiction, Graphic Novel
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Adventure
Published: May 12, 2015

Scrappy Claudette sets out once again with her pal Marie and her little brother Gaston to right wrongs and fight evil. And this time, it’s personal. Claudette is out to get the dragon who ate her father’s legs…and his legendary sword. But as usual, nothing is as simple as it seems, and Claudette is going to need Marie and Gaston’s help more than ever.

Title: Monsters Beware!
Creators: Jorge Aguirre and Rafael Rosado
Type: Fiction, Graphic Novel
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Adventure
Published: March 13, 2013

Claudette is back AGAIN, and she’s ready to kick major monster butt!

She’s fought giants, clobbered dragons, and now Claudette faces her biggest challenge yet… herself! Well, that and a gang of vile monsters. It all begins when Claudette’s town hosts the annual Warrior Games. After some sneaky maneuvering, Claudette manages to gets herself, Marie, and Gaston chosen as her town’s representatives. But none of Claudette’s past battles has prepared her for this. And to make matters worse, they must stop the vicious Sea Queen and her evil children from using the Warrior Games to free the dark Wizard Grombach and conquer the world!

In Monsters Beware!, the third and final book of the Claudette graphic novel series, Claudette is put to the ultimate test. With her honor on the line will she learn that there’s more to a fight than just winning?

The size, colouring, and layouts of the Chronicles of Claudette series are definitely more in line with what I know classic comics to be. The covers of the 3 books in the series also truthfully indicate the kind of artistic style and colour you will get on the inside! The stories, drawing style, mood, and humour very much reminded me of some of the cartoons that I used to watch on Cartoon Network as a child, and this made me feel both nostalgic and happy! This is definitely a series that kids growing up in the 90’s, the 2000’s, and the kids of today would all enjoy (and I won’t lie, but I believe that there is something in this series for adults as well)!


10 thoughts on “First Second Books: Girl Power Graphic Novels! (Blog Tour)

  1. Ahhhhhhhhhh I’m so jealous. I love comic books like these and this was such a cute review post. I remember the first time I ever used Netgalley and desparately wanted The City on the Other Side but didn’t get it, so sad because it looks great. I’ve also been seeing Cucumber Quest around and it looks so good!

    1. Awe thank you and thanks so much for reading! I’m sad that you didn’t get The City on the Other Side though 🙁 Maybe you could request it from the publisher now still? It was really good! And so was Cucumber Quest 🙂

  2. These all look like a lot of fun! I’m glad to see that publishers are offering more girl-positive books that are exciting and well-written. Comics are such a great way to keep reluctant readers engaged. And the diverse characters make them even more exciting.

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