It is rare a sequel is as good as the first. However, sometimes there is one that you like even more “just because” you do. Maybe it is because the character is your favorite, or maybe it is because you relate to the character, or the author really got into the story and is moving things along. These three books may or may not better than the first, but they are just as good.
I was able to relate to Nick in Heartstopper: Volume Two. This time, Alice Oseman focuses on Nick, the “straight one” of the team of Charlie and Nick. While Charlie is content being out, he is also okay to let Nick take his time and explore who he is. Charlie thinks Nick might be bisexual and is willing to let Nick learn if he thinks so, too. Charlie, and eventually the few friends Nicks slowly comes out to, offer a safe place for Nick to learn, explore and understand himself. Simple text and illustrations compliment the quick tone and pace of the story. And while this is a “slice of life” book and not a lot of “stuff” happens, there is much going on. The book feels realistic and not “pushy.” And though it is not a “roadmap” for how you should come out (or not) it is a good look at once persons journey.
I finally found book three of Asadora! by Naoki Urasawa. Though this is not a sophomore attempt, it is a sequel. And if one thinks book twos can lose steam, follow up books can be worse. Yet, volume three stays strong and might be the best of the three so far. Maybe that is because Asa is getting into the “thick of things.” There is mystery, intrigue, and more monster sightings. And while I do not approve of fighting, Asa’s younger siblings are a hoot when they take on a set of local siblings who are bigger, meaner, and outnumber them. I enjoyed the history of Japan that is shown (the cans and cannot after the war, especially the military; the Olympics; the attitudes of people; and even the red-light district changes). Toss in the supernatural this slice of life book has nothing and everything going on at once. The tension is subtle, but it is there.
Finally, this last one is not a true sequel but another in a series of history books. Still, once you read almost nine books in one format style, you can start to dislike it. Yet, Magical History Tour #9: The Titanic keeps things fresh. Perhaps there are better Titanic books for kids out there, but Fabrice Erre’s nonfiction book is fun and has a few facts I have never seen before. And I went to the Titanic Museum in NYC several years ago. The story of Nico and Annie on the Titanic is a great introduction to the subject. And the afterwards with facts that did not smoothing fit into the narrative where even more fun and educational (in my opinion). Sylvain Savoia’s illustrations are clever and just as informative as the text.
Heartstopper and Asadora! are for teens to adults, whereas The Titanic book is for at least 7 to 10.