This post is all about graphic novels! Thanks to kind friends at Raincoast Books, I have the pleasure of talking about Clash, book four in Click, Kayla Miller’s wonderful middle grade graphic novel series. Read on for my review of Clash as well as a look at some of fantastic, fun, and spooky children’s graphic novels I have read lately. Happy reading to you all and enjoy!
“So, what? If someone doesn’t like you instantly, that’s it?” “That’s not what I’m saying, Lucy. I just don’t think that it’s healthy to worry so much about making other people like you”.
The fourth entry in the popular and bestselling middle grade graphic novel series by Kayla Miller, Clash follows protagonist Olive as she and her school friends welcome a new kid into their fold. From previous novels, readers know and love Olive as the kid who is friendly and friends with everyone. In Click, we met Olive as she was trying to figure out her niche and wondering where or how exactly she fit in at school; in Camp, Olive found herself opening up to the possibilities of more friends and new interests (and at odds with her more reticent friend Willow!); and Act sees student council and school politics at the forefront when Olive goes up against friends Trent and Sawyer during a school election. Now, in Clash, Olive finds herself struggling and worrying as a new, seemingly cool and sophisticated sixth-grader named Natasha just…doesn’t seem to like Olive. “I was just thinking about Nat…it’s not like she’s being really mean to me or anything, but I get the feeling…I dunno…that she doesn’t like me?” While Olive does her best to welcome Nat to the school, show her the ropes, and introduce her to all of her friends, Nat seems strangely detached. By asking Olive whether she’s a cheerleader or dating Trent, Nat finds out that Olive is actually friendly with just about everyone– and everyone likes and respects Olive back! As days go by, however, small and hurtful things Nat does push Olive the wrong way: after a volleyball incident in gym class, a lie about hanging out, and belittling Olive’s love of the supposedly juvenile Teen Swamp Creature television series, Olive starts to wonder…What do you do when you think someone doesn’t like you- no matter what you do? A climactic moment and reveals during a Halloween party are so well done, and Miller brings the story to an insightful finale. A thoughtful and heartwarming dive into friendship and all the uncertainties, highs and lows it can bring; as well as touching upon emotions of jealousy and loneliness, Clash is an excellent series entry, likely to be hugely resonant with readers. In an already-fantastic middle grade series, Clash might just be the strongest entry yet and I cannot wait to see where author and illustrator Kayla Miller goes next with Olive’s story. Readers can also look forward to a new graphic novel called Besties: Work It Out, starring Olive’s friends Chanda and Beth. Besties: Work It Out, written by Kayla Miller and Jeffrey Canino, illustrated by Kristina Luu, is set to release in October 2021. Clash’s Extra Credits: Lettering by Micah Myers, Colour by Jess Lome.
Now let’s take a look at some of the other graphic novels (from early reader series to middle grade) I’ve read and would recommend!
In no particular here they are: The Accursed Vampire by Madeline McGrane, a macabre and spooky yet wonderfully tender and clever story starring vampires, a maybe impossible-to-break curse, unexpected found family, and fantastic characters (think along the lines of Reza Farazmand’s City Monsters, for a much younger crowd!); acclaimed author and illustrator Remy Lai (Pie in the Sky) brings readers her graphic novel debut called Pawcasso, a beautifully layered story about the most loveable, incredibly talented dog in town, and a lonely (and wary of other kids!) eleven year old named Jo who accidentally- but maybe also on purpose!- lets other kids in town think that Pawcasso is hers; Ira Marcks’s Shark Summer, a captivating read set on Martha’s Vineyard, featuring local mystery and lore, with very cool movie-nods throughout; the very wacky, very funny Ham Helsing: Vampire Hunter by Rich Moyer, which has a 1990s WB and Nickolodean animation style and energy. And yes, it stars a vampire hunting (but-would-rather-be-doing-something-else) pig named Ham! Mike Deas and Nancy Deas’ Otter Lagoon (Sueno Bay Adventures #2) is the exciting and beautifully drawn follow-up to Shadow Island; Georgia Dunn’s Breaking Cat News series continues to seriously delight with Elvis Puffs Out, book four in the series (I also went back to re-read the series recently, it is such a JOY!). In the case of early reader/younger reader graphic novel series: Mika Song’s Apple of My Pie, book two in the Norma and Belly series, is just as sweet and funny as the series opener, with an apple orchard and missing Pops squirrel at its core; Grumpy Monkey: Freshly Squeezed, from Suzanne Lang and Max Lang, brings the orange-squeezing Jim Panzee and friends from the Grumpy Monkey picture books to a delightful graphic novel series opener; and last but not least, friends Pea, Bee, and Jay are back for more adventures in the laugh-out-loud series entry from Brian “Smitty” Smith called Lift Off. Cuteness and giggles abound! Happy reading to you all!
I received a copy of Clash courtesy of Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and comments are my own. All titles featured here have been published and are currently available.