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ARC Review: Enola Holmes: The Graphic Novels Volume 1 by Serena Blasco

Publication Date: May 24, 2022


A graphic novel adaptation of the hit books that inspired the Netflix film! Sherlock Holmes’ brilliant, strong-willed younger sister takes center stage in this delightfully drawn graphic novel based on Nancy Springer’s bestselling mystery series.

14-year-old Enola Holmes wakes on her birthday to discover that her mother has disappeared from the family’s country manor, leaving only a collection of flowers and a coded message book. With Sherlock and Mycroft determined to ship her off to a boarding school, Enola escapes, displaying a cleverness that even impresses the elder Holmes. But nothing prepares her for what lies ahead…
Book One in the series includes three thrilling mysteries: The Case of the Missing Marquess, The Case of the Left-Handed Lady, and The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets. At the back of the book, readers can explore a portfolio of pages from Enola’s secret notebook!

My Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I really enjoyed this! I’d previously read the first Enola Holmes book and really enjoyed it, and it was fun to revisit and then follow the story of the next two.

The watercolor style was playful and expressive, giving Enola Holmes plenty of personality. It fit really well with her exuberant and determined character. I liked how the color scheme changed to fit the mood of the story, and the expressiveness of each character’s design.

The storyline was easy to follow and hit all the main points of the plot. I enjoyed seeing the excerpts from Enola’s notebook at the end of each volume.

I will look forward to future volumes and following Enola’s adventures.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing for providing an e-arc for review.

ARC Review: Ten Days in a Madhouse (graphic novel) by Brad Ricca

Publication Date: April 19, 2022


Beautifully adapted and rendered through piercing illustrations by acclaimed creators Brad Ricca and Courtney Sieh, Nellie Bly’s complete, true-to-life 19th-century investigation of Blackwell Asylum captures a groundbreaking moment in history and reveals a haunting and timely glimpse at the starting point for conversations on mental health.

“I said I could and I would. And I did.”

While working for Joseph Pulitzer’s newspaper in 1887, Nellie Bly began an undercover investigation into the local Women’s Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell Island. Intent on seeing what life was like on the inside, Bly fooled trained physicians into thinking she was insane—a task too easily achieved—and had herself committed. In her ten days at the asylum, Bly witnessed horrifying conditions: the food was inedible, the women were forced into labor for the staff, the nurses and doctors were cruel or indifferent, and many of the women held there had no mental disorder of any kind.

Now adapted into graphic novel form by Brad​ Ricca and vividly rendered with beautiful and haunting illustrations by Courtney Sieh, Bly’s bold venture is given new life and meaning. Her fearless investigation into the living conditions at the Blackwell Asylum forever changed the field of journalism. A timely reminder to take notice of forgotten populations, Ten Days in a Mad-House warns us what happens when we look away.

My Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This was an excellent adaptation of a chilling story. It covered all the main points of the story of Nelly Bly getting herself committed in order to expose the conditions inside a mental institution. The contrast of Nelly’s self-assured, composed inner voice and the illustrations of the women she was with and the conditions they faced was very powerful. I also loved how her self-confidence and self-assuredness deteriorated the longer she remained inside.

The illustrations were haunting. The black-and-white pen-strokes conveyed texture and detail and a chilling atmosphere. The way the women’s faces were rendered were also very powerful and haunting.

When I finished reading I discovered that I was tense and chilled — the story affected me quite strongly. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to know about how mental institutions used to be, but also with the caveat that while the story moves along quickly and is compelling, it will stay with you.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Gallery Books for providing an e-arc for review.

ARC Review: Juliet Takes a Breath (Graphic Novel) by Gabby Rivera

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I loved this book. I have not read the book the graphic novel is based on (also called Juliet Takes a Breath) but now I definitely want to.

The art is gorgeous and I love the color palette. The characters are all clearly individuals and clearly queer and beautiful.

Juliet undergoes so much growth in this graphic novel – nearly every frame shows her growing and becoming herself. She starts as a baby queer interning for one of her heroes. Unfortunately, said hero turns out to be a very white granola hippy feminist with a poor grasp of intersectionality.

There are a lot of lessons here of what it means to be queer and a poc vs what it means to be queer and white, and I really appreciated it. I feel like I learned a few things too.

It was a quick read and that was a bit deceptive because every frame is important and every frame takes Juliet on her journey from her mom not accepting her to finding her tribe and her family finally accepting her. It ties up neatly, but so often stories of girls like Juliet don’t, and it was nice to find one that does.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Boom! Studios for providing an e-arc for review.