I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest

After May’s best friend, Libby, dies in a car accident, May is lost. The girls used to do everything together, including creating a comic series called “Princess X”. The comic features a strong female character (Princess X) who must take back her kingdom from usurpers. A few years after Libby’s death, May begins to see pictures of Princess X plastered around town. At first, May thinks the stickers and posters must be some sort of weird coincidence — someone must have copied Libby’s drawings. But, as the clues keep piling up, May isn’t so sure. Is Libby really dead? If not, where is she, and why does everyone think she’s dead?

Wow! I LOVED this book. I really like that it features strong, smart female characters who are obviously super talented. I also loved that we get to read the Princess X comments along with May’s story. While this book has a large “tech-thriller” aspect, don’t worry if you’re not tech-savvy; the book is still very easy to understand. I can’t lie, I read this book in almost one sitting because I just HAD to know what happened next. If you’re looking for a new mystery/thriller to read or if you love web comics/graphic novels, definitely try this book out. I just hope there are more!

*Lonestar, 2016

Rating: 4.5/5

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.

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Tomboy by Liz Prince

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Labeled as a “tomboy” from a young age, Liz struggles to find a place in a hyper-gendered world. In this unique graphic novel memoir, Prince chronicles her battle with mainstream society in all its awkward glory. With each humiliating, painfully real episode, Liz sheds much needed insight into the consequences of forcing gender on individuals, as well as highlights the need for each person to determine his/her gender identity independently.

I LOVED this book! It’s a graphic novel, so that automatically catches my attention, and it’s a memoir. I love hearing people tell their stories! Liz’s book was particularly good because she talks about what it’s like to not fit in because of the way others perceive you. Because of her looks, people call Liz a boy. Liz doesn’t see anything wrong with being a boy (in fact she likes doing “boy” things), but she’s still made fun of because of it. In short, Liz isn’t allowed to be herself because the way she is isn’t “normal”. It was sad to read some of the parts of her story, but I feel like this is also an important book. Through Liz’s story, readers can really see what it’s like for someone who doesn’t fit into a predetermine role — whether gender or otherwise. This book really got me thinking about how I look at and treat other people, as well as the ridiculous standards society/the media places on gender.

Rating: 5/5 

*Maverick, 2014

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here. 

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Using graphic novel format, Satrapi recalls her time as an Iranian child during the country’s multiple violent regime changes. For Satrapi, life is dangerous, as she embodies everything the hyper-religious new government abhors: independence and free thinking. Though the book is over ten years old, readers will still find it extremely relevant, as it sheds personal light on the conflict in the Middle East, and explores such themes as feminism, religious fanaticism, fear, and, ultimately, sacrifice.

If you’re like me and don’t know a lot about the conflict in the Middle East, Persepolis is a good place to gain some knowledge. As it’s a graphic novel (comic book), it makes for a pretty easy read, and the illustrations help make characters believable and relatable. Additionally, the author does a good job of providing some background information on Iran and how the country got to its current state of violence and religious rule. Through her personal story of living in Iran, Marjane shows readers that Iran is not a country full of extremists — rather, the citizens of Iran find themselves caught under repressive governments, unable to exercise the freedoms that other countries enjoy. The memoir is an eye-opener for sure. A quick, but powerful read that gives insight into an often unfamiliar and stereotyped world.

Rating: 4/5

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS), click here.