Book Reviews

Book Review: “Sunny Side Up” by Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm, Water Color by Lark Pien

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel
Series: Sunny #1
Rating: 4 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes


ABOUTSunny Lewin has been packed off to Florida to live with her grandfather for the summer. At first she thought Florida might be fun — it is the home of Disney World, after all. But the place where Gramps lives is no amusement park. It’s full of . . . old people. Really old people.

Luckily, Sunny isn’t the only kid around. She meets Buzz, a boy who is completely obsessed with comic books, and soon they’re having adventures of their own: facing off against golfball-eating alligators, runaway cats, and mysteriously disappearing neighbors. But the question remains — why is Sunny down in Florida in the first place? The answer lies in a family secret that won’t be secret to Sunny much longer. . .


My Review:
Sunny Side Up was a cute, adventurous story set in 1976. The juxtaposition of the past and present was cool. Secretes are being kept with the same ferocity as a superhero. And, as superheroes come to learn, they cannot save everyone. I found that to be such a powerful theme for a middle grade book.

What I loved most about this book was the old comic art style. It was a nostalgic reminder of the kind of art you’d see in newspaper comic strips. And the addition of watercolor over the pages was aesthetically pleasing.

I rather liked the panels that had no words because they spoke louder than the one’s that did and I always admire people who can depict something without words.

Overall, a wonderful story I’d recommend for a fun, light bit of reading.

About Manga Book Reviews

Manga Series Review: Dawn of the Arcana by Rei Toma

Genre: Manga, Graphic Novel, YA Fantasy
Series: Dawn of the Arcana
# of Volumes: 13
Rating: 5 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes


Sumamry (via Goodreads):
Princess Nakaba of Senan is forced to marry Prince Caesar of the enemy country Belquat, tantamount to becoming a hostage. While Caesar is pleasing to the eye, he is also selfish and possessive, telling Nakaba outright: “You are my property.” With only her attendant Loki at her side, Nakaba must find a way to cope with her hostile surroundings, her fake marriage…and a mysterious power!


My Review:
I really enjoyed reading Dawn of the Arcana. It was funny and sweet, but sad and depressing.

I actually liked the love triangle between Nakaba, Caesar, and Loki; it’s one of the better one’s I’ve seen. Love isn’t so instantaneous in this series, which is good. It grows organically albeit quickly.

There’s so much going on and so much action. The series touches greatly upon the race relations between humans and Ajin. Humans are seen as higher beings than Ajin. Ajin are treated as slaves. These moments were hard to read because this theme echoes so loudly and powerfully within actual history. All the royal families (except a very select few) are just horrible people and it’s no wonder the children ended up just as hateful and spiteful as their ancestors. It’s all just sad.

But I grew to like Caesar rather quickly – one of those few royal lights with the dark. He’s rather sweet and amusingly awkward where Nakaba is involved. He is open to change and rather thoughtful when he tries to be.

Nakaba I liked but there were times when she was just so winy. She’d complain and hesitate every time the “mysterious power” was used or going to be used. And I get it. The power is not easy to wield and rather complex. It’s almost soul-crushing. But I feel if she just stopped and really thought about things she wouldn’t stress so much.

Loki I loved so much in the beginning but my feelings for him began to wane as the story went on. I’m not sure why. Probably because of the conflicting ways he treated Nakaba. In the end, I just had indifferent feelings about him. I feel like there were better choices he could have made.

It’s a lovely story told beautifully but with a few jarring transitions and jumps in time between scenes. The ending felt rushed as if there could have been more pages to make it truly satisfying. Regardless, I was still happy with how things turned out overall.

I loved this series and devoured each volume rather quickly. I’m so glad I found this series.

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And, As Always, Happy Reading!!!