Take A Peek Book Review: Comics Will Break Your Heart by Faith Erin Hicks

“Take a Peek” book reviews are short and (possibly) sweet, keeping the commentary brief and providing a little peek at what the book’s about and what I thought. This week’s “take a peek” book:


(via Goodreads)

Miriam’s family should be rich. After all, her grandfather was the co-creator of smash-hit comics series The TomorrowMen. But he sold his rights to the series to his co-creator in the 1960s for practically nothing, and now that’s what Miriam has: practically nothing. And practically nothing to look forward to either-how can she afford college when her family can barely keep a roof above their heads? As if she didn’t have enough to worry about, Miriam’s life gets much more complicated when a cute boy shows up in town… and turns out to be the grandson of the man who defrauded Miriam’s grandfather, and heir to the TomorrowMen fortune.

In her endearing debut novel, cartoonist Faith Erin Hicks pens a sensitive and funny Romeo and Juliet tale about modern romance, geek royalty, and what it takes to heal the long-festering scars of the past (Spoiler Alert: love).

My Thoughts:

Comic and graphic novel writer Faith Erin Hicks makes her debut in young adult fiction with Comics Will Break Your Heart, and does it beautifully! In this sweet YA novel, two teens from families with a long-standing grudge meet and connect one summer in Nova Scotia. Miriam’s grandfather co-created the TomorrowMen comics with Weldon’s grandfather, but sold his rights to the brand for only $900 many decades earlier. Since then, TomorrowMen has blown up with a huge fandom and a blockbuster movie in the works, and while Weldon’s family stands to profit hugely, Miriam’s will see not a dime, despite the 20-year lawsuit waged by her grandfather to undo the shoddy deal he unwittingly agreed to.

When Miriam and Weldon meet, they each carry their families’ baggage, but their mutual love of comics as well as their own personal struggles to figure out their futures draw them together and help them move past the animosity that’s lingered for so long. This is a quick, fun read, with touching moments too, and has some lovely scenes that highlight the intricacies and quirks of best friendships, relationships between teens and their parents, and the heartaches and worries that come with making decisions about where to go in life.

Comics Will Break Your Heart is also a terrific ode to the glories of fandom, culminating in a visit to (of course) San Diego Comic-Con. I’m sure everyone with a secret geeky obsession will relate to the characters’ reactions to entering geek heaven:

In a flash he saw everything as she saw it, the madness and energy but also the joyful heart of the convention.

“Oh, wow,” she whispered. “Comics made all of this.”

For more by this author, check out my reviews of two of her graphic novels, Friends With Boys and The Adventures of Superhero Girl.


The details:

Title: Comics Will Break Your Heart
Author: Faith Erin Hicks
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Publication date: February 12, 2019
Length: 218 pages
Genre: Young adult
Source: Review copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Top Ten Tuesday: My top 10 favorites in graphic novels, comics, & illustrated books


Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is All about the visuals: Top Ten Favorite Graphic Novels/Comics or Ten Comics on My TBR or Top Ten Favorite Picture Books.

That’s a pretty broad range of choices, but I think I’ll stick with my favorites in graphic novels (some of which might more properly be called comics, but I don’t mind lumping them all together, as people tend to do). I needed to expand the topic to include other types of illustrated books as well. You’ll see why.

Starting with the serious and historically important:

1) Maus by Art Spiegelman: This modern classic is a must-read.


2) Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi: The story of a girl’s adolescence and young adulthood in Iran is moving and beautifully drawn.


Moving on to more fantastical fare:

3) Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan (review): One of my favorites ever! I love this “saga” of a worldwide mysterious event that leaves exactly one human male left on Earth. Brilliant.


And speaking of sagas by Brian K. Vaughan…

4) Saga by Brian K. Vaughan: Such a wonderful bit of storytelling — war, love, child-raising, plus wings and horns and TV monitors for heads.

saga collage

5) Fables by Bill Willingham: I love everything about Fables, except the fact that it ended.

fables storybook love

6) Buffy the Vampire Slayer (season 8, 9, 10) by Joss Whedon et. al.: No such thing as too much Buffy! The TV series may have ended after 7 seasons, but the official Buffy storyline lives on in comic book format. And don’t miss the spin-offs about Angel, Faith, Spike, and Willow.


7) Alex + Ada by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn (review): I stumbled across this trilogy purely by accident at the library one day. The drawing are spare, but the storytelling (about a human and a robot who fall in love, and explore what it means to be a real person) is really terrific.

Alex + Ada

8) Through the Woods by Emily Carroll: Spooky, eerie stories and illustrations make this one a must (and a great gift for anyone who enjoys the darker side of life).

Through the Woods

Ack! I’m running out of room! So tied for number 9 (cheating!) are two different works that scare the pants off me:

9a) N by Stephen King: Oh my sweet heavens. This is a terrifying book. Nightmares, nightmares, nightmares. But read it anyway!


9b) The Locke & Key series by Joe Hill: I’m ashamed to admit that I STILL haven’t read the final volume in the incredibly creative and horribly creepy Locke & Key series. Mainly, I haven’t finished because it’s been too long since I’ve read volumes 1 – 5, and I think I need to do a re-read. But the books are so scary that I’m not sure I want to do a re-read! Seriously, I love Locke & Key, but they make me want to lock all the doors and windows and never, ever go near wells or keys.


And finally, an illustrated novel:

10) Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick: Really, I’d pick just about any of this author’s three wonderful illustrated books (the others being The Invention of Hugo Cabret and The Marvels). I love how the drawings are part of the narrative itself, rather than simply decoration. Wonderstruck made me cry, so it deserves a spot on my top 10 list!


What books made your list this week? Please share your link!


Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I host a Book Blog Meme Directory, and need your help! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!










Five reasons why you should read Fables

There are certain books and series that I tend to rave about — a lot — and anyone who visits my blog from time to time has probably stumbled across my random gushes about one or another of my favorites. One book series that I’m always pushing on unsuspecting friends is Fables, the comic book series by Bill Willingham (available in trade paperback volumes, which is how I read them).

Fables, Vol. 20: Camelot

The newest volume in the series is #20, Camelot. Let me tell you, #19 was a heart-breaker, and I opened #20 with trepidation. Would the pain continue? Would there be any happiness left anywhere in the world of #20? How could the story possibly move forward?

I just read #20 today, and — big surprise — loved it. I won’t say too much about the story. If you’re already a Fables fan, you’ll want to go into this one with no advance knowledge. What I will say is that the story moves forward in new and unexpected ways, with a narrative that follows several storylines simultaneously, so that it’s not all tragedy, all the time. The groundwork is prepared for new conflict, and while ominous signs abound, in many ways this volume serves as a bridge from the awful events of the previous book to the next big challenge for our beloved characters. There’s some hope, but also a clear warning that we readers aren’t going to get everything we want — not by a long shot.

Most devastating of all is the fact that there are only two volumes remaining in the series, as creator Bill Willingham has announced that he’s wrapping up the series. How can this wonderful world be done? I can’t even.

So, if you’ve never read Fables, why should you? Here are five reasons why this series deserves to be on your must-read list:

1) World-building extraordinaire: The world of Fables is huge and magnificent. The premise is that all storybook creatures and magical beings are real, and having been banished from their own lands by an evil emperor, now live in hiding in the human world. The laws of Fabletown are complex, with layers upon layers of history and mythology. With each new chapter, the world expands in different and surprising directions, and the internal logic of the series expands to encompass each new facet of the Fables cosmos.

2) Incredible characters: At first glance at volume 1, you may think that the female characters are too comic-style feminine, with their short skirts and heels and flowing long hair. Look again. The women here rock, from tough-as-nails Snow White to bad-ass superspy Cinderella. These women are nobody’s damsels in distress, and while there are love stories and dashing princes, the women are the ones to watch. Not that the male characters are anything to sneeze at. My two favorites are Bigby Wolf — yes, the Big Bad Wolf who’s a chain-smoking tough guy in his human form, and Ambrose, aka Flycatcher, aka the Frog Prince, whose story is surprisingly tragic and heroic. But scratch the surface of any of the books, and you’ll find richly developed characters to care about.

3) Tragedy and triumph: Good versus evil plays out throughout the series, but it’s not all black and white. There are power struggles, horrible losses, wars that threaten all of existence, and heroes who are ready to sacrifice all for the greater good. It doesn’t get more dramatic than some of the long-running story arcs of Fables.

4) Storytelling that takes its time: Because there are so many volumes in the Fables saga, the storytelling can unfold with its own rhythm. Pieces come together that may only have been hinted at; characters and events come back in unexpected ways; an event that seems like a happy ending in one volume may have unforeseen (and usually dire) repercussions down the road.

5) A sense of humor: Even at its bleakest, the writing and dialogue in the Fables books is sharp, witty, and not without its own wicked sense of humor. There’s usually a lighter story thrown in amidst the sadder parts, and there are certainly enough comic relief characters around to lighten the mood whenever needed. Sure, you may be heartbroken at certain places in the story, but I guarantee you’ll be smiling at least a few times during each of the volumes of the series.

I said I’d stick to five, so there you have it. But if I were to go on, I’d just add that the 20 volumes published so far make up the main Fables storyline, but aren’t the entire Fables world. There’s a spin-off series about Jack of Fables that fills up another 9 volumes, stand-alone stories about Cinderella and Snow White, and yet another spin-off series, Fairest. In other words, it’ll take a very long time to run out of reading material!

Even if you don’t normally read comics/graphic novels, give Fables a shot. For excellent storytelling set in a fantasy world overflowing with fascinating characters and complicated plotlines, you really can’t do much better.