Marshmallow reviews Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel by Rey Terciero

Having already reviewed the original (unabridged) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Marshmallow recently read a modern retelling of the story: Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel, written by Rey Terciero and illustrated by Bre Indigo. Below she shares her thoughts on this book.

Marshmallow reviews Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel, written by Rey Terciero and illustrated by Bre Indigo.
Marshmallow reviews Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel, written by Rey Terciero and illustrated by Bre Indigo.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like Louisa May Alcott’s classic Little Women and enjoy graphic novels like Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy are four siblings who live in Brooklyn, New York. Their father is away in the Middle East fighting in the army. Meg wants to marry rich, Jo wants to write and be left alone, Beth wants to be a songwriter, and finally Amy wants to be an artist. They all have problems in their lives. Amy is bullied in school, Beth has health issues, Jo has trouble dealing with her “secret”, and Meg doesn’t like being poor and wants to have nice things. They are also all very worried that their father will not come back from the war. 

Marshmallow’s Review: This modern retelling of the classic Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is a great graphic novel. I think the author Rey Terciero and the illustrator Bre Indigo did a great job of remaking Little Women for today’s readers.

This book shows each of the original characters and their characteristics very well, The pictures are also all very well created. They depict the feelings of the characters very well. 

It is interesting how the author made this a modern retelling. Almost all of the events that happen in the original happen in the retelling except that they are modernized. As a result, this is not as old-fashioned as the original book. In the original, the sisters all get married (except for Beth, who dies). In this version nobody gets married because they are all too young (and nobody dies, either).

I think that this version of the story is a lot more relatable since the sisters are all realistic. All of the girls suffer from different problems, and on top of all that, they all worry for their father who is in the Middle East fighting in a war.

I also recently watched the movie remake of Little Women. Here is the official trailer, which made me really want to see the movie:

The official movie trailer of Little Women (2019).

The movie stuck very close to the original and so it was similar to the book but not precisely. But in the graphic novel, I liked how Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy are all very different. If you read the original or watched the movie, you can tell that the characters in the graphic novel are the same characters, but they encounter many different problems and they are living in today’s world. They also all change a lot from how they were in the beginning, so the story is interesting.

This is a very good book for eight to seventeen year olds. It might be slightly confusing if you haven’t read the original, but you can read it and still get much out of it in any case.   

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel written by Rey Terciero and illustrated by Bre Indigo 100%.
Marshmallow rates Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel written by Rey Terciero and illustrated by Bre Indigo 100%.

Marshmallow reviews Refugee by Alan Gratz

Marshmallow has recently read Alan Gratz’ novel Refugee and below shares her thoughts on this moving fictional account of three refugee children across recent history. As Marshmallow also points out below, the stories are harsh and harrowing. The publisher recommends the book for 8 and up, so does Marshmallow.

Marshmallow reviews Refugee by Alan Gratz.
Marshmallow reviews Refugee by Alan Gratz.

Marshmallow’s quick take: If you like realistic and historical fiction, then this might be the book for you. (Warning: This is a very harsh book and should not be read by readers under 9.)

Marshmallow’s summary (with spoilers):

“JOSEF is a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany…”
“ISABEL is a Cuban girl living in 1994…”
“MAHMOUD is a Syrian boy in 2015…”

All of these kids are relatable and normal. Their experiences, on the other hand, are something that nobody should have to face. 

Josef’s father is taken away to a concentration camp called Dachau. When he comes back, his family is overjoyed but when they see him they realize that he is mentally disturbed. The family then receive news that they have to leave Germany in fourteen days. 

Isabel lives on the streets, and when her father gets involved in a protest, he is told to leave. 

Mahmoud is a present-day Syrian boy and he learns that to stay away from bullies you have to be “invisible”. Then his house is bombed and it becomes clear that he has to leave.   

Marshmallow is looking up from reading Refugee by Alan Gratz.
Marshmallow is looking up from reading Refugee by Alan Gratz.

These three different families set out on the same mission: make it to a safe place. This for Josef is Cuba, for Isabel it is el norte, the US, and for Mahmoud it is Germany. Along the way, all lose someone that they care about, whether physically or mentally. 

Josef’s family is breaking up and his father is scared. They board a ship called The St. Louis in order to escape the Nazis, but eventually Josef’s father tries to commit suicide by jumping off the side of the ship.

“Josef’s father was gone. His mother was unconscious. His little sister was all by herself. And they would never let Josef’s family into Cuba now, not after his father had gone mad. Josef and his family would be sent back to Germany. Back to the Nazis.
“Josef’s world was falling apart, and he didn’t see any way to put it back together again.”

Sadly, he never does. Josef never makes it to Cuba and only two members of the Landau family survive. 

Isabel tries to escape from Cuba with her family and her friend’s family. They build a boat to escape but soon they face the fury of the ocean. 

Mahmoud and his family start the long journey to Germany and lose each other in order to save each other. 

“All three kids go on a harrowing journeys. All face unimaginable dangers. But there is always the hope of tomorrow. And although Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud are separated by continents and decades, shocking connections will tie their stories together in the end.”

The publisher’s video about the book Refugee by Alan Gratz.

Marshmallow’s review: This is a very good book. It might be the most moving book I have ever read, but it should definitely not be read by younger readers. It has stories about the Nazis and other terrible things that children should not learn about until a little bit older. Though Josef’s story is fictional, it is very similar to what happened to a lot of Jewish families. Isabel has terrible losses and she faces many dangers. Mahmoud’s family is eventually drained of joy in the journey to Germany and to safety.

Marshmallow’s rating: 100% (but this is not happy reading…)

Marshmallow rates Refugee by Alan Gratz 100% (though it is definitely not a happy book).
Marshmallow rates Refugee by Alan Gratz 100% (though it is definitely not a happy book).

Marshmallow reviews Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

Marshmallow enjoys reading graphic novels now and then, and she has reviewed some of them for the book bunnies blog. See, for example, her reviews of Lucy and Andy Neanderthal and Lucy and Andy Neanderthal: Stone Cold Age by Jeffrey Brown, and her review of They Called Us Enemy by George Takei. This week she reviews one of her recent favorites: Ghosts, by Raina Telgemeier.

Marshmallow reviews Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier.
Marshmallow reviews Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like graphic novels or if you enjoyed Raina Telgemeier’s other books, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers):  Cat’s sister, Maya, has cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that makes it hard to breathe. Cat and her family move to a place called Bahiá de la Luna. Their parents think that Bahiá de la Luna will benefit Maya from the salty air, but unfortunately, Cat doesn’t like their new home. Still, since she wants her sister to get better, she tries to adapt.

One day their neighbor tells them that there are ghosts in the area. Cat doesn’t believe him but she soon learns that the neighbor was telling the truth. Maya is determined to meet a ghost and find out what dying is like.

“As the time of year when ghosts reunite with their loved ones approaches, Cat must figure out how to put aside her fears for her sister’s sake – and her own.”

Marshmallow is reading Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier.
Marshmallow is reading Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier.

Marshmallow’s Review: This is an interesting book. The author, Raina Telgemeier, creates intriguing characters like Maya. Maya sometimes makes you think that she is not aware that she can die but then you realize that she realizes more than you think she does. Not only are the characters interesting, but the characters are also very relatable. Cat is someone you can relate to. Cat is infuriated when someone accidentally hurts Maya, and the drawings show her emotions very well. More generally the author does a great job drawing images that show the emotions of each character very clearly.

Cat is very protective of Maya. She is probably always very stressed because she keeps worrying that her sister Maya might die if she does something that she is not supposed to do.

My favorite character in Ghosts is Maya because she is so cheerful and she tries not to let her disease bring her down.

The setting, Bahiá de la Luna, is sort of creepy. As it says in the book, it has a “laid-back Halloween vibe”.  

This book displays a very different style of writing than Raina Telgemeier’s usual style. Her other books do not often deal with supernatural events.

This graphic novel is probably best for readers of ages eight to fifteen.

“Raina Telgemeier has masterfully created a moving and insightful story about the power of family and friendship, and how it gives the courage to do what we never thought possible.”

This quote on the back of the book describes the book in a nutshell. In this book you learn about Mexican traditions like an ofrenda, an altar for the dead, or The Day of the Dead (Dia De Los Muertos). 

(Ghosts is dedicated to Sabrina Castello Collado, Raina’s cousin who died at age thirteen.)

Marshmallow’s Rating: 95%.

Marshmallow rates Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier 95%.
Marshmallow rates Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier 95%.

Marshmallow reviews Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs

After a one-month break, the book bunnies have a lot of books to write about! Marshmallow starts 2020 off with her thoughts on Belly Up, the first novel in Stuart Gibbs’ Teddy Fitzroy / FunJungle series.

Marshmallow reviews Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs.
Marshmallow reviews Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like mysteries, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): Teddy Fitzroy lives in the largest zoo in the world, FunJungle, where you could watch sharks in Shark Odyssey, experience what being on a Safari is like, or see what most of the visitors come for: Henry Hippo, the most celebrated hippo in the world. That is, until he dies.

The vet of FunJungle figures out that Henry was actually murdered. Teddy sneaks into the autopsy and learns that Henry might have died from peritonitis, a disease that makes holes in the stomach, but the vet, Doc, says that there were too many holes for it to be natural. The people who run FunJungle cover it up and say that Henry Hippo died of natural causes. Teddy realizes that no one is doing anything and that he has to solve the mystery himself. 

“As Teddy searches through all the clues and asks too many questions, it becomes clear that he too might end up belly up.”

Marshmallow is reading Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs.
Marshmallow is reading Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs.

Marshmallow’s Review: This book is a great book! You will not be able to put it down once you start reading.

The story is so mysterious that you cannot figure out who killed Henry even if you are Sherlock Holmes. The book supplies you with so many suspects that you cannot guess who did it. Unlike many mystery books, Belly Up supplies you with many suspicious characters. The real murderer turns out to be someone who you would never suspect even though the clues were all there under your nose (but they were all just things that seemed unimportant).

This is one of the best mystery books that I have read and I expect that I will reread it over and over again.

I have to admit that Belly Up is slightly confusing and requires holding onto clues that add up to the solution, so it is probably great for ages 8-15. it might confuse readers under 7. There are some curse words but not any very serious ones and there are only a few in a 286-page book.

Marshmallow thinks that Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs is one of the best mystery books that she has ever read.
Marshmallow thinks that Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs is one of the best mystery books that she has ever read.

Stuart Gibbs creates great characters, and his characters show us what other peoples’ lives are like. For example, Summer McCracken, the daughter of the billionaire J.J. McCracken, lives a luxurious but caged existence.

I think that this is a book that can also be enjoyed by adults, too, (and I am trying to get Sprinkles to read it soon!) but I believe it is better for children. Belly Up has humor, animal facts that Teddy uses to solve the mystery, adventure, and mystery.

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs 100%.
Marshmallow rates Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs 100%.