Book Blurbs: February 2021

Book Blurbs: February 2021

Books Blurbs” is a series where I write blurbs about books I have read in the mentioned time frame. I briefly review the books, giving them a rating out of five stars. These posts may contain spoilers.

As a new comic reader, any comics reviewed will include a general “thoughts” section instead of a “likes” and “critiques” sections, as I learn more about comic writing and storytelling.

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

  • Premise: After failing to get the financial aid she needs for her dream school, Liz Lighty decides to run for prom queen, knowing it gives her a chance at winning a scholarship. But as a young black woman in small town Indiana, she knows defeating her rich, white classmates will be a challenge.
  • Genre: Young adult
  • Likes: The story was well-paced, had good characters, and did well detailing Liz’s feelings. Liz’s love interest, Mack, is utilized well. She isn’t just there to be a love interest, and Johnson provides good insight that legitimizes Liz’s feelings for her. There’s various sources of conflict aside from the need for a scholarship, and the secondary problems help the story move along without straying far from the plot.
  • Critiques: Despite liking the use of supporting characters, I still found Liz’s friends to be mostly forgettable. There is also a minor plot point regarding Liz’s family that, until it reemerges in the story, I completely forget about it, and I feel like it could have had a bigger impact on Liz and the burden she feels she has to take on in her family. But this is really just me being nitpicky.
  • Rating: ★★★★1/2

Slam! by Walter Dean Meyers

  • Premise: High schooler Greg Harris, known as “Slam” due to his dunking ability, is having a tough time adjusting at his new magnet school—both in the classroom and on the basketball court.
  • Genre: Young adult
  • Likes: This is a quick, relatively easy read that would be a good fit for preteen/early teen readers. Slam’s voice is clear and evident in Meyers’s writing, and there are a good group of characters to support him. I liked the balance between Slam’s new life with his new school and basketball team and his old life with his childhood friends.
  • Critiques: I’m not sure if this has to do with Slam and his perspective on school and life, but the story seemed a bit jumpy and choppy. Ultimately, I felt like the book had potential to address more and dig deeper but just explored the surface and included just enough details to provide a full story.
  • Rating: ★★★

Captain America (2018) Vol. 1: Winter in America by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Issues #1-6)

  • Premise: Captain America has become a controversial figure in the aftermath of a Hydra takeover, so Steve Rogers has to figure out how to go about his life as both a man out of time and a distrusted figure.
  • Genre: Comic
  • Thoughts: I really enjoyed the outgoing inner monologue and felt it did great justice to how Steve Rogers thinks and approaches being Captain America. I haven’t read Secret Empire, though, which I have since discovered would have helped me make more sense of the narrative this series will explore.
  • Rating: ★★★★

Captain America (2018) Vol. 2: Captain of Nothing by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Issues #7-12)

  • Premise: After being convicted for a crime he didn’t commit, Steve Rogers is sent to a special prison, where he is surrounded by supervillains—some of whom he had previously gone up against.
  • Genre: Comic
  • Thoughts: Again, Coates continued with the solid insight/inner monologue of Steve, and it was nice exploring how, even without the Captain America mantel, he’s a natural leader. The introduction of the Daughters of Liberty was also interesting, and I’m intrigued by what role they’ll play in the series moving forward.
  • Rating: ★★★★

House of M (2005) Issue # 1 by Brian Michael Bendis

  • Premise: Scarlet Witch has emerged as a threat, so the Avengers and the X-Men have come together to figure out how to approach the situation.
  • Genre: Comic
  • Thoughts: Getting to learn about the varying insights of the Avengers and the X-Men was interesting, especially as a new comic reader. I liked seeing how each group regards Wanda, which was also telling of how the two approach things.
  • Rating: ★★★★

House of M (2005) Issue # 2 by Brian Michael Bendis

  • Premise: This issue is essentially a “What if?” regarding numerous Avengers and X-Men.
  • Genre: Comic
  • Thoughts: This issue detailed some scenes from a couple different characters in an alternate universe. Albeit interesting, I had a tough time getting through it, because I wanted more progression concerning what would happen with Wanda this early in the series. Maybe I would’ve enjoyed it more if the different scenes were more than just glimpses at the alternative reality and happened further along in the series.
  • Rating: ★★★
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