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Book Review | Bonding: A Love Story About People and Their Parasites by Matthew Erman—

From the publisher:  “Wear your heart on your sleeve.”  That’s the saying. But in BONDING, people wear their anxiety on their chests – in the form of a  parasite that shows everyone just what you’re feeling on the inside …

Bonding is a love story (or more accurately, two generations of love stories) set in a dystopian future – one in which humans are now forcibly bonded to slug-like alien creatures which feed on their blood plasma and hang off their chests like grotesque living neckties. The story begins a couple generations after the invasion, when humanity has adapted to (if not exactly accepted) the presence of these slugs. Teens Marcus and Laura go on a disastrous first date, in which Marcus nearly dies after his slug unbonds from him, but Marcus survives and he and Laura end up getting together. Eventually the story jumps a generation and follows Marus and Laura’s teenage son Ira, who is in a long-distance relationship with Elegant and is desperate to come visit her. His plans are thrown into disarray by a catastrophic event called the Blooming causes people’s slugs to die en masse.
While this graphic novel sports beautiful art and a really cool premise, it unfortunately doesn’t really deliver in terms of story or characters. The biggest problem is the disjointed nature of the story; the narrative skips around Marcus and Laura’s first date to several years into their relationship, to many years later when they’re adults and their son is suddenly the main character. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really spend enough time on either Marcus and Laura or on Ira and Elegant for the reader to get invested in either pairing. Neither does the story explore the circumstances that led to the entire human race becoming bonded to the slug parasites,. The only explanation is a few vague references to a past war that humanity didn’t win. As a result, neither the sci-fi premise nor the romantic relationships are developed enough to be really interesting.
That said, while this story wasn’t for me, it might appeal to other readers who like quick romance stories featuring characters coping with mental health issues.
Bonding: A Love Story About People and Their Parasites is available at Galesburg Public Library in the graphic novel collection.

Book Review | Huda F Are You? by Huda Fahmy

From the publisher: From the creator of Yes, I’m Hot In This, this cheeky, hilarious, and honest graphic novel asks the question everyone has to figure out for themselves: Who are you?

In this fictionalized autobiography, Huda Fahmy gives a charming, funny portrayal of what it was like growing up as a hijab-wearing Muslim girl in America and figuring out just who she is and wants to be. In case the punny title didn’t make it clear, the author is not afraid to crack jokes at her own expense (though according to the book’s dedication, her mom hates the title).

Huda was always “the hijab girl” growing up, but once her family moved to Dearborn…

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Book Review | Sensor by Junji Ito

From the publisher: Horror master Junji Ito explores a new frontier with a grand cosmic horror tale in which a mysterious woman has her way with the world!

A young woman named Kyoko is hiking alone in the woods when she finds a bunch of volcanic hair, thin, hairlike strands of lava that can sometimes be carried on the wind near volcanoes. Except rather than being black like the normal stuff, this hair is bright gold. A short time later, she meets a man who says he was expecting her and brings her to his village, which turns out to be absolutely coated in the stuff, which he calls the amagami, or “heavenly hair.” Even stranger, strands of amagami seem to stick to these people and give them limited mental powers. The village believes this hair is a blessing from Saint Miguel, a Christian missionary who was thrown into the volcano centuries before. The next day, the…

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Book Review | BRZRKR by Keanu Reeves

From the publisher: Keanu Reeves makes his comic book writing debut alongside New York Times bestselling co-writer Matt Kindt and acclaimed artist Ron Garney in a brutally violent new series about one immortal warrior’s fight through the ages.

In this comic created by Keanu Reeves, the main character is an immortal killing machine who flies into an unstoppable blood rage and enacts graphic, gory violence on anyone in his path.

The story begins with Subject B, as he’s known, going on a covert mission for the US government with a team of operatives. It quickly becomes clear that the other operatives are unnecessary, as B is more than capable of taking out everything and everyone in his way. In between missions, teams of government scientists study and interview Subject B…

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Book Review | The Hard Tomorrow by Eleanor Davis

From the publisher: Hannah is a thirty-something wife, home-health worker, and antiwar activist. Her husband, Johnny, is a stay-at-home pothead working—or “working”—on building them a house before the winter chill sets in. They’re currently living and screwing in the back of a truck, hoping for a pregnancy, which seems like it will never come. Legs in the air, for a better chance at conception, Hannah scans fertility Reddits while Johnny dreams about propagating plants—kale, tomatoes—to ensure they have sufficient sustenance should the end times come, which, given their fragile democracy strained under the weight of a carceral state and the risk of horrible war, doesn’t seem so far off. Helping Hannah in her fight for the future is her best friend Gabby, a queer naturalist she idolizes and who adores her. Helping Johnny build the house is Tyler, an off-the-grid conspiracy theorist driven sick by his own cloudy notions of reality…

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Genre List Highlight | Adult — Graphic Novels

Need some help choosing your next book to read? We’ve put together some lists of popular titles in different genres to help you pick! Each Wednesday we’ll highlight a new genre list. This week, we’re highlighting the Graphic NovelReaders Advisory page for more help!

EPILEPTIC by David B.

David B. was born Pierre-François Beauchard in a small town near Orléans, France. He spent an idyllic early childhood playing with the neighborhood kids and, along with his older brother, Jean-Christophe, ganging up on his little sister, Florence. But their lives changed abruptly when Jean-Christophe was struck…

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Book Review | Are You Listening? by Tillie Walden

From the publisher: Bea is on the run. And then, she runs into Lou. This chance encounter sends them on a journey through West Texas, where strange things follow them wherever they go. The landscape morphs into an unsettling world, a mysterious cat joins them, and they are haunted by a group of threatening men. To stay safe, Bea and Lou must trust each other as they are driven to confront buried truths. The two women share their stories of loss and heartbreak—and a startling revelation about sexual assault—culminating in an exquisite example of human connection.

Tillie Walden weaves a surreal twist on the classic road-trip narrative. Like any road trip, there are slow, meditative moments and there are fast-paced chases that make the reader’s heart race. There are moments that feel so real you pause to reflect on your own memories and surreal, hauntingly creepy forays into a world that can only be described as…

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Book Review | The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

From the publisher: Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride―or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia―the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion! Sebastian’s secret weapon (and best friend) is the brilliant dressmaker Frances―one of only two people who know the truth: sometimes this boy wears dresses. But Frances dreams of greatness, and being someone’s secret weapon means being a secret. Forever. How long can Frances defer her dreams to protect a friend?

Prince Sebastian recruits expert dressmaker Frances to design and sew dresses for him. The two become fast friends and go on all sorts of adventures together. The tradeoff is…

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Book Review | Heaven’s Design Team, Vol. 1 by Hebi-Zou & Tsuta Suzuki, illustrated by Tarako

From the publisher: God created the heavens and the Earth — but, little-known fact, he outsourced the animals to the office of Heaven’s Design Team! This hilarious and educational manga features weird real-life animals and puts even some humdrum critters in a strange new light.

THIS ISN’T YOUR AVERAGE DESIGN AGENCY!

Heaven’s Design Team has kind of a wacky premise – what if instead of creating all the various animals on Earth, God hired a design firm to come up with creatures based on his guidelines and then submit them for approval? The result is a humorous, educational, enjoyable, but ultimately not very deep reading experience…

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Book Review | Magus of the Library, Vol. 1 by Mitsu Izumi

From the publisher: A story about a poor boy swept away by a kind library mage and the (literal) magic of reading, Magus of the Library is a beautifully-drawn, spirited fantasy adventure, like a Fullmetal Alchemist for all ages! Ages 13 and up.

Magus of the Library is a manga series in which a young, poor, outcast boy named Theo strives to satisfy his love of reading, and find a way to give back to the books that have given him so much. He dreams of one day visiting the great library of Aftzaak, the City of Books… but for now he’d settle for at least being allowed to use the library in his hometown.

Theo’s shaggy blond hair can’t disguise his pointy ears, which identify him as mixed race in…

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