What happens when you read three books (one young adult novella and two middle reader graphic novels) but none of them inspire you to write large expansive reviews about them? You combine them into one fun package. Now, that is not to say these books are not good, in fact they are delightful. One is a continuation of a beloved graphic novel series, Heartstopper by Oseman. In fact, so beloved it’s been adapted to the small screen. The other two are familiar themed, but fresh takes on it with a diverse cast, so if I were to write longer reviews you might as well just read the book!
Starting with Nick and Charlie: A Heartstopper Novella by Alice Oseman I must confess, while I like this series, I was disappointed that Oseman went this route. I’m sorry, but I wanted Nick and Charlie to be where they were at the end of book four, and I did not need to know they were having issues when Nick graduates and is ready to be off to university; and Charlie is having a hard time with this adjustment to their lives. It’s unnecessary. Let us romantics have our happily ever after, or us realists know that the odds of a high school romance lasting forever might not be plausible, but why tell us? However, if you love this duo, and need all you can, it’s the perfect addition while you wait for book five in the graphic novels.
Class Act: A Graphic Novel by Jerry Craft is a series that needs to be read back to back (thankfully there are only three and they read quickly and still are packed with goodies) and in order. In other words, I read them out of order and there were large gaps between them and that threw some things off. However, it is a good graphic novel as a solo read. Maybe sometimes things are a big “heavy handed” with the theme of racism and well-meaning, but still microaggression acts and comments, but everything is honest. Well written, presented, and illustrated. The social themes are played out among the three novels, and each one takes its own time to explore their areas. Hidden gems can be found in the art.
And then we have Squished: A Graphic Novel by Megan Wagner Lloyd and Michelle Mee Nutter (illustrations). It is a cute story about a huge family (total 9, with all but two not in double digits) and the coming of age of the oldest girl. The dynamics of family and friends unfold in a “happy format” and is good for younger readers. It is “grandparent friendly” (meaning nothing really bad happens). Cute artwork keeps things light due to minimalism with details. It is mostly text driven, with some illustrative support.. If you read a lot of coming of age stories, nothing is new here, but still entertaining and representative of diverse characters. There is potential for sequels with the same narrator, Avery, on a new adventure, but also I would like to see oldest child, Theo, or the next girl after Avery. But I wouldn’t want to go to the preschoolers or the babies.