Thursday, August 22, 2019

Review: Archimancy (Shadow School #1) by: J.A. White

Title: Archimancy
Series: Shadow School #1 
Author: J.A. White
Publication Date: August 27th, 2019
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Source: Publisher
Format: Edelweiss
Age Group: Middle Grade
Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal 

Cordelia Liu knew Shadow School was going to be different. Black gates and ivied walls. Long hallways lined with old paintings. A tower with a window that looks like an eye. Different she expected; different she could handle. Still, Cordelia can’t shake the feeling that something’s not right—and that she’s being carefully watched.The answer isn’t just in front of her eyes—it’s in her gym, next to the bulletin board, even in the cafeteria. The school grounds are filled with ghosts. Cordelia soon realizes she’s not the only one who can see them; her new friend Benji can too. Together with supersmart Agnes, the trio are determined to find out why the ghosts are there, and whether there’s a way to set them free. But the school was created with more sinister intentions, and someone is willing to go to extreme lengths to ensure that the ghosts remain trapped forever.

I need to make it a point this year to read more middle grade novels. I do not know why I haven't but what I do know is that they can be such fun reads. Yes, some can be spooky and some can make me wonder if there are ghosts walking around me but like Shadow School it can be all fun, spooky, and a little ghost paranoid. 

Cordelia Liu has just moved cross country and is starting her first day at a new school. However, something doesn't feel right and that could be because of the little boy she sees under the gym bleachers, in his pajamas, crying. But it could also be the fact that when she goes to comfort him, her hand passes right through him. Soon realizing that she and another student are able to see ghosts the two of them plus the help of Cordelia's new best friend, Agnes, set out to set these ghosts free. What they do not know is something lurks in the shadow, and it is watching. 

Normally I would be reading spooky stories in October to go with the mood but this was a nice break from what I was normally reading. It was a light enjoyable read that flowed smoothly and held my interest. Talking to issues of relocating, new friendships, and teamwork, J.A. White writes a book that capture key things that kids will be able to connect too. 

Looking at characters, Cordelia is unhappy in the beginning of the novel, having to leave her past life behind and start a whole new life in her hometown. But as we move through the story we start to see this brave, young girl stand up for what she believes in and most importantly her new friends. Agnes and Benji are good friends to have. They have their own personalities that gave the story depth. However, I am concerned with the description of the unlikely duo of parents and the further description of the Chinese dad as the more unflattering and non-social character and the representation it brings for non-white characters. 

At the ending there was a little bit of an emotional read that did hit home pretty hard but it was nice to have that in the story. It answered some questions that the reader might have towards a particular character and their suspicions throughout the novel. 

Overall, minus that bump, J.A. White writes a enjoyable read. Capturing my attention till the end and leaving with me wanting to know more. You do not have to wait till October to read this novel but the ghost paranoia, well that is something you should always be worrying about. 

I give this novel 4 souls! 

Friday, June 21, 2019

Manga Review: Evergreen Vol. 1

Title: Evergreen, Vol. 1
Series: Evergreen Vol. 1
Author: Yuyuko Takemiya
Publication Date: May 12th, 2015
Publisher: Seven Seas
Source: Library
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary

Born with a congenital heart disease, and thus unable to join in activities that are too physical, Manga Club Captain Yoshimatsu Hotaka can only watch through the club room's window whenever the school swim team practices. Hotaka is enamored with swimming ace, Awaya Niki. But sickly, shy and extremely introverted, he feels all he can do is pine for her from afar. Seeing her as a sort of Goddess of Summer, he feels he isn't even worthy to share the same air with Niki, much less approach her.But when the gym teacher asks Hotaka to attend a special, after-school swim class to make up for not participating during regular classes-a supposed to be one-on-one student teacher session which the swim team unexpectedly crashes-it sets into motion events that may, quite surprisingly, result into Hotaka and Niki actually becoming friends.

Manga is defintley something I am starting to make more time to read. One of the best places I have been to check them out is my local library, naturally. So one day as I was browsing the shelf I noticed  this manga sticking out and felt myself gravitating to it. Feeling a sense of nostalgia with the anime show Free, I grabbed the first volume and dove right in. 

In this first volume we are introduced to character Yoshimatsu Hotaka, born with a heart disease, president of the manga club, and who is currently crushing on student Awaya Niki. After an incident at the school pool the two find themselves becoming the most unlikely of friends. 

A story that begins as relatable and shows the relationship between two characters that perfectly encapsulates what new friendships are like as well as the feelings we may feel towards new crushes the author does a remarkable job in bringing this story to life. 

I did find this first volume to begin slowly but I do feel that with more volumes there is potential for the story to open up into being a heartwarming story of friendship, this is a manga, although falling somewhat short for me, is one that could turn out to be a great summer read.