Book Reviews

Book Review: Truly Tyler by Terri Libenson

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel
Series: Emmie & Friends #5
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: Cliques. Crushes. Comics. Middle school.

Ever since Tyler started getting into art and hanging out with Emmie, his friends and teammates have been giving him a hard time. He wonders why can’t he nerd out on drawing and play ball?

Emmie is psyched that she gets to work on a comics project with her crush, Tyler. But she gets the feeling that his friends don’t think she’s cool enough. Maybe it’s time for a total reinvention. . . .


My Review: Truly Tyler was everything I hoped it would be. One of my most anticipated 2021 releases, I was very excited to read this next installment in the Emmie & Friends series. Tyler’s book was an absolute joy to read!

Truly Tyler continues the storylines from book 1, Invisible Emmie, and the new social dynamics Emmie and Tyler now find themselves in. Tyler is torn between his two passions, art and basketball. Meanwhile, the teasing both he and Emmie have been getting causes Emmie to not feel popular/cool enough and way out of Tyler’s league. The two then struggle with working together on their comic book project as well as the straining relationships with their friend groups.

This story was really absorbing. It’s way longer than all the other books but Libenson makes every page count with her engaging art style. She always creates a fun atmosphere to enjoy her stories within. The straightforward plot is woven together with timeless, relatable themes that throw you back to those awkward middle school days. Wanting to be yourself but at the same time fit in and be liked.

Tyler is a great main character. I liked learning about him as more than Emmie’s secret crush. I connected with Tyler feeling divided over having multiple interests and feeling pressed to decide on one thing to define who you are. Although Emmie is still that same insecure, awkward turtle from book 1, she grows even more so in this book. I liked how she comes into her own as a much stronger version of herself.

Truly Tyler was another excellent addition to the Emmie & Friends series. It was honest, delightful, and very entertaining. Libenson is a talented storyteller and illustrated. I hope there will be more books in the future!

More by Terri Libenson

Emmie & Friends
Invisible Emmie (#1)
Positively Izzy (#2)
Just Jaime (#3)
Becoming Brianna (#4)

Book Reviews

Book Review: Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Young Adult, Graphic Novel, Fantasy
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson. Featuring an exclusive epilogue not seen in the web comic, along with bonus conceptual sketches and revised pages throughout, this gorgeous full-color graphic novel is perfect for the legions of fans of the web comic and is sure to win Noelle many new ones.

Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t the heroes everyone thinks they are.

But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona’s powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.


My Review: Nimona is a really cool graphic novel. I wanted to read this story because the villain (Lord Ballister Blackheart) and not the hero (Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin) is the main (morally grey) character.

Things aren’t as they seem in the best possible way. I liked Blackheart far more than Goldenloin because Blackheart was more of a dynamic character than the other. I also loved his often comedic interactions with Nimona. Nimona surprised me with her care-free attitude to commit evil. There are some pretty violent killings in this novel.

As the story developed, I became emotionally invested in Blackheart and Nimona’s plot to take down Goldenloin and the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics. I couldn’t help but sympathize with Blackheart but don’t condone his actions to achieve that goal. The Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics is super suspicious.

The artwork was splendid and accentuated the mood and tone of the story. The ending was sad but fitting. I highly recommend this fun read!