Wednesday, December 30, 2009

GROG - Love*Com (Lovely Complex) Volumes 4-7

(Or "The Philosopher Musician thinks plotting is like a glacier" and "Why am I still reading this?")

Title: Love*Com (Lovely Complex) Volumes 4-7
Author: Aya Nakahara
Illustrator Aya Nakahara
Copyright: 2001 (Japan) 2008 (Viz)
Price: $8.99 each
Vol. 4: 978-1-4215-1538-0
Vol. 5: 978-1-4215-1738-4
Vol. 6: 978-1-4215-1739-1
Vol. 7: 978-1-4215-1740-7 (Library copy labeled “Printed in Canada”)
Summary: Risa and Otani are still the crazy comedy duo in their class with their public fights. While the fights take a more slapstick turn in these volumes, they still seem to only communicate by yelling at each other. In volume 4, everyone but Otani recognizes who Risa has a crush on, but she is still determined. In volume 5, while Risa is feeling bummed by events in the last book, a chance encounter with her and Otani’s favorite musician and his family renews her hope. In volume 6, Otani finally reciprocates her Valentine’s Gift only to get sick the day before. At the pressuring of her friends, she goes to visit him, has her first kiss, only to learn he doesn’t remember it. There is also the introduction of a new rival. In volume 7, Risa tells Otani she is going to quit, once and for all, but he tells her not to. Are her feelings finally being returned?
Thoughts: Risa and Otani seem to FINALLY become a couple at the end of volume 7, but it is still not confirmed. I’m also finding and not enjoying that Risa is letting herself be yanked around quite a bit and, in some ways, being abused by Otani (physically and emotionally). Risa and Otani seem to be two average middle school students instead of third year high school students. In volume 7, the topic of “going out” is discussed and a must read for anyone wondering what kids these days mean by this. While the verbal and physical abuse on both sides is a bit annoying and slapstick, this is one of the few “clean” romances I’ve seen geared toward high school teens.
Will Teens Like It? Probably, but mainly those who like romantic comedies.
Things to be aware of: Surprisingly not much! Slapping, punching, fighting in school, typical teen situations.
Bonus: The books I reviewed were library copies. 

The Philosopher Musician thinks I’m nuts to keep reading this series. I’ve complained about it a lot because the characters are taking FOREVER to get to become a couple! Yet, I can’t seem to put it down when I start reading.

At least up to volume 7, this is one of the few graphic novels I’d recommend for a school setting as it is clean of language, sexual situations, and nudity. This is very rare in popular manga.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

SLJ Cover - Yet another voice

So, the library book review blogosphere is buzzing with the controversy over School Library Journal's "November Cover."

For a recap, here's the link...with comments from others.

What are this Little Librarian's thoughts on it? Well, thanks to ReadingRants on Twitter, I knew the photo shoot was 1.) during daylight hours and 2.) no drinking was really occuring. Either way, the choice of a bar for the photo still didn't make sense to me until someone mentioned (in the comments) the quote is a play off of a beer ad. To be frank, that was a creative idea and I really enjoyed the "This Blog's for You!" as a hook to get me to look at the article.The article itself is very well written and I gained a lot of new knowledge and resources in preparing this blog ("graphic novel reviews for librarians by a librarian who loves graphic novels and other stuff").

The photo: Well, I really don't have any thoughts on it. As a 20-something librarian, I am not surprised about the drinking side of things. Librarians drink. Only about 10% of the librarians I know don't drink (me included for personal reasons). Think back to the last conference you attended. Think back to the latest SCHOOL librarian conference you attended. Every social event included some sort of drinking event at least once a day. I met a favorite author at a drinking thing. I ran into my mentors at open bar in the hotel lobby. Both at a school librarian conference. On the other hand, at public librarian conferences it seems expected we drink.

Friends, librarians drink (water, beer, wine, tea, coffee, chocolate milk, etc).

Also, who sees SLJ in your school? If you are good about your mail, it goes in a box and you read it in the office because heaven forbid you should be caught reading it at the desk (this is my opinion - I could be wrong, but that's me). Also, the only people who see this professional title are other teachers and yourself. Students generally don't know it exists. Believe me on this one. Photos don't influence children and teens to drink, people do. Besides, by the time a child is six, they know about bars and drinking. How they understand that is different. In my opinion, the cover is harmless and at first glance, you don't know it's a bar, especially from a distance. Heck, I had to search for the martinis because I didn't realize they were there.

In fact, the children's librairan and myself discussed this cover and we were saying "Who do you think is the more friendly person?"

If you have a problem with the cover, I am going to be blunt: wake up. Realize we are human and realize we drink. Realize that the "tea-drinking" librarian is a stereotype and it's time to move on or you'll be left behind.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

GROG - Captive Hearts, vol. 1 and 2

Title: Captive Hearts, Vol. 1 and 2
Author: Matsuri Hino
Illustrator: Matsuri Hino
Copyright: 208
Price: $8.99
Publisher: Viz Media
ISBN: 978-1-4215-1932-6 (vol. 1)
978-1-4215-1933-3 (vol. 2)
Summary: Megumi Kuroishi’s life has been luxurious as the family his father served disappeared and was presumed dead. In a strange twist of fate, it turns out the daughter of the family, Suzuka Kogami, has been alive for the past ten years in China. She has returned home only to awaken the Kuroishi family curse in Megumi: the Kuroishi family must serve the Kogami family, no questions asked. Megumi and Suzuka learn to cope with the curse and set out together to end the curse, but when Hiryu, the son of a wealthy family asks for Suzuka’s hand in marriage, will their joint quest end?
Thoughts: How can I describe the BEAUTY that is Captive Hearts? By far this is one of my favorites as it features a unique plot (to me), beautiful boys (traditional shojo), and a few interesting subplots (Suzuka was kidnapped and almost sold into slavery!). The main theme this series discusses, the freedom to love makes for an interesting read as well. It will be interesting to see if Megumi loves Suzuka when he is free of the curse or if their love will even end the curse.
Will Teens Like It? Older teens for sure and those who love good Shojo. Oh, and those who know that Matsuri Hino also does Vampire Knight.
Things to be aware of: Sexual situations.
Bonus: I first discovered this title in my trips to the book store. I often choose manga based on my gut and often, my gut is right. It seems between two library systems, one library owns it and they are all checked out.

These two volumes are library copies.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Title: Love.Com Vol. 2 and 3
Author: Aya Nakahara
Illustrator Aya Nakahara
Copyright: 2007
Price: $8.99
Publisher: Viz Media
ISBN: 978-1-4215-1344-7
Summary: Risa Koizumi and Atsushi Otani are still fighting with each other and still walking home after school together. These mixed signals only confirm to their friends what a cute couple Risa and Otani would make. By chance in Volume 2, Otani’s ex-girlfriend re-enters his life and she has something to say. In volume 3, with a new school year come new feelings, new students and crushes.
Thoughts: The series is picking up for me. Unlike traditional shojo [“soap opera”] mangas I’ve read (only a few, but the big titles), the main characters still haven’t kissed by the end of Vol. 3. This is driving me NUTS, but as I read, I can see more of the charm of this manga and how teens could like it. I’m going to continue reading since it seems the library system has up to vol. 13 out of what seems to be 17 volumes. I hope this is worth the time.
Will Teens Like It? The more I read, the more I see middle school and early high school students enjoying this. Why? Teens are awkward about their height, their looks, and their feelings for others. All of this is touched upon in the manga.
Things to be aware of: SPOILER: There is a transvestite. Usual teen drama.
Bonus: Vol. 2 and 3 were checked out of my library system.

When I talk about “Soap Opera” mangas, I am generally thinking about the popular classic title Mars which is 15 volumes in length (and I own) and other titles that are shojo and deal with real world issues (Tramps Like Us; the short lived Honey Mustard, and such).

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

GROG - Black Jack Vol. 1

Title: Black Jack Vol. 1
Author: Osamu Tezuka
Illustrator: Osamu Tezuka
Copyright: 2008
Publisher: [I returned the lib copy. SORRY]
Price: $16.95
ISBN: 978-1934287-27-9
Summary: Dr. Black Jack is an unlicensed doctor, but when others are in a tight situation or need help, he is there to offer his services and work medical miracles. In this collection of stories, readers are introduced to Black Jack who performs eye transplants, brain transplants, skin transplants, and even repairs a machine that thinks it is human. He performs all of this coolly and calmly, asking for money from those who can part with it and offering assistance to those who can’t. Readers are also introduced to parts of his past and how he can help without the aid of medicine.
Thoughts: This is a great classic, though it should not be read anywhere near meal time (if you are squeamish like me). The art of Osamu Tezuka is a very familiar style, especially to those who know of Astroboy. The stories collected in this volume range from touching, to gross, to scary, but Black Jack always prevails (except in one, very moving story). Each snippet seems to conceal a hidden lesson for the reader and provoke discussion. This title is a must have as it is a classic and “cornerstone” to manga (most of what Osamu Tezuka wrote is considered classic).
Will Teens Like It? Older teens and adults will enjoy this title.
Things to be aware of: Some racist portrayals. Earliest copyright is the 1970s, but there is an unfortunate stereotype in this book.
Bonus: When I saw that they were republishing Black Jack I was excited! I wanted to read this title in high school, but the high school copy disappeared. Osamu Tezuka is a classic name I have run into over and over and his work has yet to disappoint.

This copy was a library copy.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

GROG - Vol. 1

Title: Love.Com: Lovely Complex Vol. 1
Author: Aya Nakahara
Illustrator: [Same]
Copyright: 2001 (First Printing 2007)
Publisher: Viz Media
Price: $8.99
ISBN: 978-1-4215-1343-0
Summary: Risa Koizumi is the tallest girl in her class. Atsushi Otani is the shortest boy in his class. Somehow, Koizumi and Otani often wind up together and fighting, which provides lots of entertainment to their classmates. In this first volume, Koizumi and Otani are stuck in summer school and decide it is time to find someone to “go out with.” The winner does whatever the other one says, but in working together, will they discover something more?
Thoughts: Obviously, this title is a “shojo” title in that it is a love story between tall, boyish girl and small, effeminate guy with lots of drama ensuing. Surprisingly, to me, the title is weak and doesn’t “stick out” like other shojo titles I’ve read. The art of this work is just like every other shojo title (which is fine by me) and the plot is the same. It feels like a title that may disappear in a few years. More reviews to come as I read the series.
Will Teens Like It?: Teens who love shojo will want this title, otherwise, it’ll probably be skipped.
Things to be aware of: The usual teen drama, i.e. discussions on sex.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

GROGs - The Novel is Silent

GROGs or 'Graphic Novel Reviews on the Go' is another feature you’ll find on this blog.

Developing a library graphic novel collection is difficult, at least to me. To be honest, I’ve found that while it is helpful that graphic novels are being reviewed, the reviews are not helpful. I’ve discovered that there is this difference between what a graphic novel reader thinks is cool and what a librarian thinks is good. As an avid reader, I’ve been on both sides, but have seen that this divide exists, so GROGs are my attempt to build a bridge between those that are recommended and those that are loved.

GROG reviews are basically the same as the ROGs in set-up and such. Same idea for the review, different format being reviewed.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

November is NaNoWriMo

Have you heard of NaNoWriMo? It seems teen authors may or have in the past taken part in this national writing campaign. Do you know what it is? NaNoWriMo is short for “National Novel Writing Month,” which, if I remember correctly was started by a small group of writers needing a way to write. NaNoWriMo is pretty simple: write a 50,000 word novel about anything and then you can say you wrote a novel. The point is just to write, write, write and about quantity and not quality. Although, that’s not to say quality work isn’t written. Heck, a few NaNoWriMo projects have been published as books.

Why should you care? The short answer: teens. How often have you seen an article about a teen writing group? Seen a program write up on hosting a writing group? Writing workshop? I’ve seen quite a bit from ideas in professional works to an article in Voya. Teens write. I used to be a prolific writer as a teen to help sort through my anxieties and problems. NaNoWriMo now provides a division for younger writers such as teens and some schools have even hosted their own NaNoWriMos and it is simple if you just tell writers to scramble the word and do a word count.

Programming Connections: Does your library have a writing group? See if teens can become involved. Offer writing workshops this month, author visits, or host a writing group once a week this month.

You get the idea. :)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Enjoy This Comic

This just gets me chuckling every time I see it (but I love anything poking fun at Twilight/Stephanie Meyer). The Philosopher Musician pointed this out to me. I have to remember to add XKCD to my growing list of web comic feeds in Bloglines. I do love web comics.

Troll Slayer

(Comic from:

In other news, I'm going to try to start updating more. Just not today.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

I SWEAR by for part of my collection development. I am SO excited they finally started a blog over there! I mean, I'm so excited that I have to tell you about the site as well as the fact THEY HAVE A BLOG! Yet another site I look forward to seeing in my Bloglines. ^_^

So What is

As a Teen Librarian, this is one of those review things that I always use when making my purchases. I tend to not purchase everything they suggest for the month, but I do take a look at what is up and coming.


They've done some of the work for me. The staff behind are reading the books, finding the best books that teens will love, and they GET IT. The concept of "Getting it" I will get into in another post, but the gist of it is: They are adults who understand teen reading habits.

They provide lovely summaries of the up and coming books, organize the new hardcovers, the new paperbacks (which I use!), and the new series books. They also offer reviews of previous works as well as author information, which is very, very detailed.

Either way, this is a great site to pass along to your collegues as well as add to your book marks. On my first day at this job, I was shown this site and I have used it ever since.