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The Okay Witch by Emma Steinkellner

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ARC was given by in exchange for an honest review

Content/Trigger Warnings: Bullying, harassment, minor racism, scene of parental abuse/child abuse, talk of death

Magic is harder than it looks and it always comes with a price.
Moth Hush is a thirteen year old who loves all things witchy and is just trying to survive school. She’s about to learn witches aren’t like how they are in fairy tales and movies, they’re more complex. When the bullies at her school take things too far, strange things begin to happen. Now Moth’s world will open up to things she never even knew about before. That is if her mother doesn’t stop her first. From talking cats, to family secrets, all the way to flying brooms… Moth’s life will never be the same again.

Readers, this was the perfect book to put me in the mood for the spooky season! Black cats, magic, and witches, oh my! I have been eager for all things witchy and spooky. And this graphic novel was the perfect way to fall into the mood. From the fall setting to all the magical witchy things happening, this is a super cute graphic novel to get anyone ready for Halloween.

This was such a cute and precious middle grade book to read! From the bond between Moth and her mother to the talking cat, all the way to Moth making a friend who’s just as quirky as she is, I loved every piece of this book. This graphic novel has so much to offer and I think many readers will enjoy this book. Plus, what better way to bring in the fall season then to curl up with a graphic novel packed with witches and magic with a gorgeous fall setting?! There’s also some really great representation in this graphic novel. We get main characters who visibly brown skin and we also get two different family dynamics! Be still my beating heart!

I truly loved Moth’s character in this book. While this graphic novel does take place close to Halloween, you can tell that Moth wears her uniqueness on her sleeve. She doesn’t bend to what the world wants her to be like and it really shows her uniqueness. And when she reveals her room, I couldn’t helping being in awe. She really devotes herself to the things that she loves and it was so nice to have that little glimpse. I also really love the bond Moth shares with her mother. Even though throughout this book Moth’s mother tries to prevent Moth from learning and magic, there’s a lot of love and a strong bond there between the two of them. That bond really shows at the beginning and end of this graphic novel. The way Moth and her mother feel about each other so strongly is so wholesome and touching.

And can I take a moment to gush about the artwork? The artwork is simply stunning and there’s so many pages where the mood it really set thanks to the artwork on the pages. It’s extremely easy to get wrapped up in the story and the artwork because of the way they flow together. I think it’s some of my most favorite art style for a graphic novel that I’ve seen so far and it definitely left an imprint on my memory.

However, my only true issue with this graphic novel and why I feel like I can’t commit to giving it five stars is due to a lot of history. This graphic novel has a way of reading like a history lesson and the readers are in class. There’s a lot of talk about the witch trials and colonization that gets focused on heavily throughout this book. Often times, this graphic novel felt like you really had to pay attention otherwise you would miss a lot of this that happen later on in the book. It all felt very school-y and homework-y for my tastes. It truly felt like I was sitting in history class all over again and I was about to get a pop quiz on witches and colonization. Also, I’m even sure how accurate the witch trials and colonization were represented in this book. I can definitely testify that the witch trials did originally start in the UK and Europe, which later on expanded over into North America, but past that I can’t speak for how accurate things were.

Overall, I truly did enjoy this graphic novel. It was a great way to kick off the fall season and get in the mood for all the spooky things to come. If you’ve been here a while, you know I love different family dynamics and this graphic novel offers so much of that in that diverse family department. It truly warmed my heart o see a single mother and her daughter in this book, but also see the dysfunctional family side of things as well. It was a breath of fresh air. But in all honesty, if you’re looking for a book to put you in the mood for fall, Halloween, and everything that comes along for the ride then this is the book for you! There’s so much representation and the main character is absolutely precious! Plus, there’s a talking cat!

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Song for Whale by Lynne Kelly

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Content/Trigger Warnings: Grief, loss of a loved one, minor bullying/harassment, abandonment/isolation

“He keeps singing this song, and everything in the ocean swims by him, as if he’s not there. He thinks no one understands him. I want to let him know he’s wrong about that.”

Friends, I’m feeling incredibly soft and sappy after reading Song with a Whale. This book is about so much, offers so much and I still can’t believe how much passion radiates from this book. I have fallen head over heels for this book and I can only hope many others will give this book a chance like I did. If you find yourself looking for a book that offers hope in dark times, immense passion, and unconditional desire to find a place in the world then this is a book you need to pick up.

Iris is a twelve year old tech genius who’s the only deaf person in her school. She struggles to fit in because most of the staff and students treat her like she’s not very smart. Constantly feeling isolated, alone, and like no one is listening to you, Iris keeps trying to find a small bit of understanding. Until her science teacher reveals Blue 55, a whale who is unable to speak with other whales, and suddenly Iris’s world has opened up a little more. Now Iris is making it her mission to help this whale and to let him know, he’s not alone and someone out there understands him.

I fell in love with Iris right away. She is so intelligent and works so hard at computer repairing. I think it’s absolutely incredible and it’s so unique to finally see a character like Iris in a middle grade book. I adored her even more when we truly get to see her desire to meet Blue 55 and how she would stop for nothing to meet this whale. That passion was so beautiful to read about and watch unfold in this book. Not to mention the way her relationships with her family and friends flourished in this book was something so raw and realistic that you really become sucked in. I also think the author did a wonderful job expressing to the reader Iris’s isolation, her loneliness, and her desire to be around others who understood her and her struggles.

Iris is such a great character and I love how inspired she became in this book. While I mentioned that she is a tech prodigy, the way she goes about handle the “puzzle” of Blue 55 was so captivating and I really enjoyed reading how Iris wanted to help Blue 55. Blue 55 is a whale who sings on a different frequency than other whales and therefore he can’t really communicate with other whales or pods. So Iris creates this master plan of recreating a song that he’ll be able to understand and on the exact frequency that Blue 55 communicates on. With the help of some old radio parts, the school’s music class, and the knowledge she’s learned about Blue 55, Iris creates the perfect way to communicate with Blue 55.

Out of all this book though, I loved the family dynamic and I love the way Iris talks about her grandfather. I’m a huge sap for books that have a family focus and this book has so much family focus. I love how we see the challenges in a family and the struggles of trying to communicate with one another. I loved how the death of a loved one can be a reason to bridge two family members together. And most of all, I love how the death of a loved one can imprint on us and how bit and pieces of them can inspire us in a time of healing, to never stop living. It was a beautiful underlying theme and I adored how lyrically it was woven into the story. I also like how near the end we saw the internal struggles of a mother feeling like she will never be needed only to be reassured that she will always be needed by her child. I read that and it felt like a thousand bolts of lightning to the soul. It was so moving and impactful, it had me thinking about my own mother and how I still need her thoughts and opinions on things from time to time. It was a brilliant way to show the meaning and importance of family.

While I can’t relate on a deep personal level with this book, I do have family members from my spouse’s side who are going deaf and have to use equipment to help enhance their hearing. So this book does touch home for me and this was such an important read for me. I also really appreciate while the author isn’t deaf, herself, she is a sign language interpreter and she based this story off a lot of her own experiences with the children she has encountered in her career. I also really loved that she went into more details in the back of the book on deafness and sign language. I think it will help many readers better understand where Iris’s character comes from and what inspired her to be who she is in this book.

“Your music sailed through the ocean
and over the land
and carried me here.
Sing your song.”

My only issue with this book was the perspective of the whale or Blue 55. While I don’t think this will be an issue for middle grade children who read this book, this was something that definitely threw me off from time to time when that perspective would pop up. I think for many readers who aren’t used to reading middle grade, I think that will be something that will throw them off or be difficult to look past especially since there’s only a small handful that are thrown in there. I also want to take a moment to further explain the “minor bullying” in this book. There are quite a few things that will stick out in this book that caught my attention and I wanted to take a moment to discuss them. The first issue is a teacher who constantly picks on Iris and pins Iris to be unintelligent. So the teacher constantly goes out of her way to cause a scene and make Iris feel like she’s less intellectual than the other students in her class. The second issue is the student who thinks she knows how to preform sign language. She’s constantly getting into Iris’s personal space, there are scenes of her preforming “sign language” in Iris’s face, and this student doesn’t stop when she is asked to stop. These are the two biggest issues with these side characters. I personally interpret as minor bullying or minor harassment, but for other readers it might not be too big of an issue. I just found it to be a hard thing to forget and a lot of those actions to be unforgivable because of how inappropriate they were during specific times during this book.

Overall, this book was an emotional read and as I said, this book does hit close to home. It’s such an important read especially for any child who has big struggles. There’s just so much inspiration, hope, and determination in this book that the author brings to life so well. I definitely recommend this to anyone who wants to feel inspired, needing of hope, or just wanting to read a more fascinating book. The author truly did a marvelous job with this book.

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The Tea Dragon Festival (Tea Dragon #2) by Katie O’Neill

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“There’s no reason you can’t start being a guardian now, even if it’s a little later than you intended.”

Dearest friends, if you thought I was going to miss this book then you are mistaken. I have eagerly been waiting for this book to drop ever since I finished The Tea Dragon Society. I loved the first book so much that I constantly go back and reread it just for something light and sweet. Now I can finally say that I will be rereading both of these books for comfort and happiness! And friends, I love this book, I love it with my whole heart. I love it as much as the first one and I truly hope we’ll be seeing plenty more in this series. If you haven’t thought about picking up either of these books, let me be the one to recommend both of these books to you with my whole heart and soul. If you love dragons as much as I do, you need these books.

This graphic novel starts off by showing us some very familiar faces. Erik and Hesekiel are back again, and it feels so good to see their pleasant, adventuring faces once more. They’re back to give us some good banter, but also as bounty hunters back to track down something ancient that’s causing people to fall asleep for years. But this story isn’t just about them. Our true star of this book is Rinn, who wants to become a great chef/cook. And one day while Rinn is out gathering some supplies for the village, she stumbles upon a sleeping dragon named Aedhan. After finding out their story, Rinn invites Aedhan to the festival.

What I love most about O’Neill’s work is she always makes them so diverse and this book delivers so much. There is a strong presence of Sign Language being used and taught throughout village in this book. O’Neill also included a section in the back of the book for more information on Sign Language for readers to learn more. Also, our main character Rinn is nonbinary/genderfluid. There’s also a conversation between Rinn and Aedhan about dragons being genderfluid and how dragons like to choose between the two genders, as well. And remember Erik and Hesekiel? Well they’re in an m/m relationship and they’re the cutest! Plus, the cast of characters is visible with brown skin.

“Just because something comes easily to you, does not mean it has no value. You find it effortless because you love it, and that is why it is your gift.”

Something I truly appreciated in this book was that moment between Rinn and Aedhan where Aedhan was teaching Rinn about how dragons can shift between genders. It was so beautiful and it made me feel very soft. As someone who used cross-dress and go by a gender neutral name; it was such an emotional moment and it made a huge impact with my reading experience of this book. I wish I had books like this growing up to say, “This is a thing, it’s normal, and there’s other out their like you.” Not only was that moment so movie, but seeing Aedhan tell Rinn how they’re worthy, they have value, and they shouldn’t feel lesser for the enjoyment and pride they get out of doing what they love… my soul left my body. Even more so because reading that moment shared between them, it came when I really needed to here those words the most. So now this book is completely imprinted on me!

Another thing I truly loved was how much emphasis was put on cooking in this book. Food and cooking is such a universal thing no matter where you come from. And I truly appreciated that this book really showed how you can cook with love, how cooking and learning from your elders is so important, that preparing the food and gathering supplies can be an intimate moment shared between two people. It’s something that can be done by anyone and at the end you can see the joy and the unconditional love shared between everyone who is partaking in the meal. In my family, cook is a very special thing. We’re taught to always cook and bake when you’re in a peaceful mood, a joyous mood, when you feel enlightened, or truly happy because those emotions will be poured into the food you prepare. Even now, I still like to uphold those traditions. So seeing how much the author put a focus and emphasis on the power of cooking, how it can bring people together, the intimacy, and the true beauty of cooking… I’m still very soft and caught up in my emotions.

Overall, I loved this book and I truly, deeply believe it’s a masterpiece that I hope more readers will read! I said it in the first book, but I’ll say it again here, I love the artwork and how captivating it is, how much emotion radiates from a panel. Both books have filled me with so much comfort, happiness, and joy, I truly hope Katie O’Neill will give us more from the Tea Dragon universe. Each book has such meaningful focuses and messages and I want everyone to read her books. Plus, I’m truly grateful for the reminder of you’re always worthy, you’re always needed, and you deserve love.

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Top Ten Tuesday | Books On My Fall 2019 TBR

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018!


Salutations Chapterlings! I’m back with another Top Ten Tuesday! I wish I could spend more time explaining why I’m so excited for these books and why each book is on my fall tbr, but I’m currently participating in my very first round of Contemporary-a-thon. So I’m a little all over the place and a tiny ball of chaos! However, just know that I really, really want to get to these books in the month of October, maybe November. November I do have a special TBR planned so I might not get to all the books I want to get to. The goal is to read all of these books in the month of October, for now. Anyway, without me chattering any further, here are the top ten books I have on my fall tbr!


🌻 Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa


🌻 The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones


🌻 His Hideous Heart by Dahlia Adler


🌻 Fables: The Deluxe Edition, Book Five by Bill Willingham & Matthew Sturges


🌻 Spells on Wheels #1-5 by Kate Leth & Megans Levens


🌻 Pan’s Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun by Guillermo del Toro


🌻 Red’s Untold Tale (Once Upon A Time #4) by Wendy Toliver


🌻 White Stag (Permafrost #1) by Kara Barbieri


🌻 Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin


🌻 Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco


Okay, friends! Those are just a few of the books I have on my fall tbr! To be honest, I have a lot more than these ten books and you’ll see why come October! However, I hope you all enjoyed these books and maybe you’re planning to read some of these books yourselves. Please let me know down in the comments some of the books you want to read this fall and if any of these books have made your list. Until next time; may the final weeks of September bring you five star reads, a strong Contemporary-a-thon game, I love you! ❤️

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To Drink Coffee with a Ghost (Things that Haunt, #2) by Amanda Lovelace

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Content/Trigger Warnings: Child abuse, eating disorders, sexual assault, self-harm, violence, cheating, death, trauma, grief, child neglect, emotional/verbal abuse, body shaming, talk of depression, manipulation, forced hospitalization, and much more!

“one minute you were here; the next, you had already gone. now i’m terrified to leave a room without saying goodbye to everyone inside of it first. – what if they disappear like you did?”

To Drink Coffee with a Ghost is the second and final book in the Things that H(a)unt duology. To Make Monsters Out of Girls explored the memory of toxic relationships, eating disorders, and wanting nothing more than to disappear into the thin cracks of the floor. Now in the second book we explore the memory of a toxic relationship between mother and daughter, body shaming, and the haunting shadows of the dead walking behind us.

Friends, I’m all soft, sappy, and emotional… I say it all the time, but let me say again how much Lovelace’s works are true master pieces. How much I love them and adore these pieces of works. Her writing has a navigation system to the soft parts of my heart and soul , she knows how to shatter me into a million pieces, but pulls me back together again. Her work makes me feel seen and she will forever be an author that has a place in my heart.

To say I have been anticipating To Drink Coffee with a Ghost would be an understatement. I knew the minute I heard she was coming out with the final book in this duology that I had to have it and words can’t express how grateful I was and still am that my past self pre-ordered this book.

I love this book with my whole heart. Amanda has an amazing talent for making readers feel like they’re not alone with their thoughts and they’re feelings when bad things happen to them in life. Even though this book will cause your heart to ache and feel like pieces of you are shattering, there’s comfort in the underlining of her words. That she understands, saying ‘you’re not alone, I’ve been there too.’

This collection is broken down into three parts; ghost-mother, ghost-daughter, and sun-showers. This will be the part where I do a bit of a breakdown. Don’t worry, I try to keep this a spoiler free zone. Besides, emotional reads a better when you go in blind anyway!

🌻 Ghost-MotherAbout the toxic relationship one can have with their parent, the lack of acceptance or not being good enough, and the emotional and mental abuse a child can endure.

🌻 Ghost-DaughterAbout the death of a parent and living life without them, the heaviness of grief, and slowly becoming your own person without them.

🌻 Sun-ShowersAbout letting go, finding your family and home, sisterhood, loving yourself and choosing to be free.

Now the way this book addresses grief and what is truly means to lose someone, someone close to you, someone who molded you into the person you are now… Lovelace hits the nail right on the head. While my mother is still very much alive, I have lost many, many people in my years of life to all sorts of causes. And the way Amanda brings to life just how heavy grief and losing someone is so painfully accurate and she talks about the heaviness of it all. She even writes how it feels like she’s walking with the ghost of her loved one weighing her down, impacting her life, and how it all feels like quick sand. Words can’t express how much my heart ached, but how much I loved every second.

“for the first time, i will allow myself to believe that the best can & will happen to me, instead of the worst. – life doesn’t have to be a horror show”

If there’s one thing I love the most about Amanda’s writing is that it never fails to bring some form of hope or sense of peace. Both books in this duology start out heavy, laced with hard, raw emotions and feelings, but slowly they move towards brighter things. Like how we can create and choose our own family, that grief doesn’t have to keep us chained to the darkness, and most importantly, love will always find you in the end. I think that’s why I love the third portion of this book so much. It reminds me so much of finding my own happy place among someone who means the world to me. Plus, the mention of finding a sisterhood was such a breath of fresh air. It’s not often that sisterhood gets put in a positive light especially in the process of healing. Plus, there was a gorgeous illustration to match that sisterhood. This section was truly beautiful, sorrowful, but nonetheless beautiful in every way.

Overall, I truly love Amanda Lovelace and her work. I don’t often mention it, but Amanda has a way of bringing pieces of my life to reality and it touches some of the softest parts of my soul. For me, Lovelace in a favorite author and I can’t recommend picking up her poetry collections enough. Even more so if you find that you’re in need of a mirror, if you feel you’re alone in your thoughts and feelings then her books are the ones to pick up. But please remember to be in the right head space when you read this book. Even the soundest of minds can take some big mental and emotional hits. So please remember self-care and to make sure you’re in the right head space for reading this book. And of course, I think the best way to go into this book is to go in blind (which is why I barely went into detail). Emotional books are best read when one knows barely about it. It’s just the best way, in my opinion, a better reading experience.

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Every Heart A Doorway (Wayward Children #1) by Seanan McGuire

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Content/Trigger Warnings: Death/murder, graphic content, trauma, talk of gender dysphoria, minor transphobia

“It gets better. It never gets easy, but it does start to hurt a little less.”

Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests

Children have been disappearing under all the right conditions with all the love and care they could hope for. Slipping through cracks, fading into the shadows under their bed, falling deep into the pits of a well, or stumbling through the back of the wardrobe… only this time they find themselves some place new, some place magical. But these lands come with a price and besides, what magical realm has use for a miracle child who’s used up all their luck…

Every Heart A Doorway follows the journey of Nancy, a pale girl who wants nothing more than to tumble back down her door. A door that leads to ghosts and for her, a life of being the perfect statue. She’d not the only child who lands at the home for Wayward Children. Oh no, plenty of children under Eleanor’s care understands the longing and desire to go back through their door, just like Nancy does. But Nancy’s arrival isn’t the only thing that shakes things up. Something evil begins to lurk in the shadows and when tragedy strikes, Nancy will find herself teaming up with outcasts yet some new friends to solve the reason behind the dark deeds brewing at the Home for Wayward Children.

“Death was precious. That didn’t change the fact that life was limited.”

If you would have told me I’d be thrown down a rabbit hole and become obsessed with this series, I probably would have awkwardly chuckled and ate some popcorn. Now, I’m in so deep. So deep that I already ordered the next two books in the series because I know I’m going to binge read the daylights out of this series! And I already have the fourth book lined up in my cart! It was so good and I still can’t believe I’ve waited so long to read Every Heart A Doorway!

Seanan McGuire is a legend from packing this book with so much representation! I can’t begin to list how many books I’ve read that barely had any representation, if any at all! Not only does McGuire give us a main character who’s asexual, but we get a second main character who’s transgender. Take my soul now! Not to mention, this book abolishes gender roles, but we also get a scene where transphobia is shut down with assertiveness and then there reinforcement of love. It was so wonderful read and simply wonderful.

If you were expecting a book of romance and fairy tales then this probably won’t be a book up you’ll be into. Basically, this book is a murder mystery that takes place inside the Wayward Children boarding school. This boarding school is home to many (seventy some children) children who have traveled through doors that are portals to magical worlds or realms. These children have spent so much time there that they come back changed and they no longer fit into society. You wouldn’t either if all you wanted to do was go back to the place that made you finally feel like you found your place in the world. Home is where the heart is.

“You’re nobody’s rainbow.
You’re nobody’s princess.
You’re nobody’s doorway but your own, and the only one who gets to tell you how your story ends is you.”

I’ll admit, this book did a few blows to me. As I already mentioned, this book is pretty diverse with it’s characters. But the thing that gut punched me every time was the content of trauma in this book. It’s such an important topic and often times, not many books like to address trauma or acknowledge how important addressing trauma is. In this book, you have all these kids who feel completely displaced and they no longer feel like kids. These kids travel to these mystical realms and it changes them, and unfortunately, it leads to them suffering from PTSD. The worst part is they don’t even have the support they need from their loved ones. Most of these kids’ loved ones don’t believe their children and instead have their children shipped off to this boarding school to get “fixed.” My soul breaks for these children because I have been there and I’m still right there. And Seanan McGuire just hit the nail on the head with trauma because in reality, most kids don’t get the support of their loved ones when they go through traumatic events and they get shipped off to get “fixed” when all they need is someone to say they understand and they’re here for them. Thankfully, we have a character like Eleanor because she may have the ability to open any door at any given time, but she stays in the real world to care for these children who may never go back to their magical worlds.

“We cared about the fact that for the first time, we didn’t have to pretend to be something we weren’t. We just got to be. That made all the difference in the world.”

Not every child was from the same realm though. Many children at the boarding school were from different doors that led to different magical realms and those realms didn’t always get along well with other realms. Our main character Nancy actually comes from the realm of the Underworld (and yes, we get a name drop of Persephone, my Queen!). The Lord of the Dead makes a promise to Nancy that Nancy will return, but only if she’s “sure” or when she’s truly ready, but being back in the real world throws her some curve balls and suddenly she’s starting to have doubts. As I mentioned, other children at the boarding school had very different realms compared to Nancy. Some children come from places similar to Candyland while others may come from realms that sound more like a world ruled by Dracula to lands that are battle grounds for fairies and goblins. One can never truly know what they’ll find on the end of a mysterious door.

“This world is unforgiving and cruel to those it judges as even the slightest bit outside the norm.”

Overall, I don’t think I have anything negative to say about this book. Other than the fact that I wish this book didn’t end so soon. For a book so short, it really packed a punch to my gut and as I had already mentioned, I already ordered the next two books in this series. I think anyone who loves a good mystery and loves fantasy should read this book. If you get the opportunity to read this series and you still haven’t read this series (like me) then let me be the person you need, to tell you to go pick this series up and then come gush about this book with me!

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The Girl from the Other Side: Siuil, A Run Vol. 7 by NAGABE

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🌻 The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 1 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌻 The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 2 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌻 The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 3 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌻 The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 4 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌻 The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 5 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌻 The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 6 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Content/Trigger Warnings: Violence, guilt, disembodiment, death/murder

“The plain truth is that one girl’s life can save everyone. Isn’t it hubris to imagine salvation will come without sacrifice?”

Okay friends, if you’ve been here for a hot minute then you know how obsessed I am with this series. And it just keeps getting better and darker! I can honestly say that this might be my favorite volume in this whole series. It was so good and I can’t get over the fact that we’re going to have to wait till 2020 for the next volume. I need it now, in my hands, so I can scream into the void how much I love these characters.

If you’re not familiar with this series yet then here’s the breakdown. Keep in mind, this isn’t a spoiler especially if you’ve made it all the way up to this volume. However, I will do my best to keep this volume as spoiler free as possible.

Divided Land

🌻 The Inside – Where all the humans, like you and me, ruled by the King and the Church, patrolled by armed forces
🌻 The Outside – Where the Cursed Ones exist, abandoned villages, also where Teacher and Shiva exist
🌻 The Inside – Where all the humans, like you and me, ruled by the King and the Church, patrolled by armed forces

Factions

🌻 Humans/Mortals – Like you and me, live on the Inside
🌻 Cursed Ones – Beast like creatures, plagued with The Curse, feared by mortals, roam the Outside
🌻 Humans/Mortals – Like you and me, live on the Inside
🌻 The God of Light – Creator of happiness and peace
🌻 The God of Darkness – Trickster, plays pranks on the God of Light, steals away happiness, cause of The Curse

Characters

🌻 Teacher – Main character, horned Cursed Child, guardian of Shiva, either a scholar or doctor when mortal
🌻 Shiva – Main character, child of Light, protected by the most holy, innocent, companion to Teacher
🌻 Teacher – Main character, horned Cursed Child, guardian of Shiva, either a scholar or doctor when mortal
🌻 Father or Head Priest of the Church – Orders for constant capture of Shiva, believer of the “prophecy”, orders soldiers to cause democide, aid of his royal majesty
🌻 Mother – Intentions unknown, creator of the Black Children
🌻 The Black Children – Created by “Mother”, similar to Teacher, wish to obtain Shiva’s soul

Now that you understand a little more about the book, volume seven picks up where volume six left us. Clutching our pearls and hoping Teacher kicks some series butt. Oh yes, I think we all want Teacher to throw down and pull a moment of “YOU. SHALL. NOT. PASS.” on these corrupted soldiers. It was probably one of the most tense ways to start this graphic novel off and I’m not going to lie, I was choking a little bit. The first chapter of this graphic novel is gut wrenching and may cause the water works to flow. I know I shed one or two tears especially the whole scene we get with Shiva. That first chapter just packs a hard hitting punch to the gut.

What I wasn’t expecting from this book was Teacher going into a “two personality” situation or I guess it would be a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde situation. All of the volumes in this series so far have been building up to this point. We know how much Teacher cares about Shiva, but his love is so thick and deep that he is emotionally tearing himself apart. And in this one scene, we get a double conversation he’s having with himself or his inner self and you know he’s at that ledge of debating how far is he willing to go to protect Shiva. I think it’s brilliant that we’re seeing him show so much emotion and really pushing that line of staying within one’s own values and principles vs. doing whatever it takes. It was beautifully done and I loved how the only thing that brought him out of his own conversation was scooting a cooking pot across the floor. It was so well done and I loved watching him fight himself.

“I will become as monstrous as I must.”

Through this entire series, I have always loved and stood by the relationship Teacher and Shiva have and I still stand by it. That entire ending, I don’t think I’ve loved an ending more with a book, with a series, in general. Nagabe does an incredible job of showing the blurred lines of right and wrong, doing enough and going too far. Even more so when you’re at a crossroad in life and you have to make an insanely hard choice. This ending was such a mix of emotions by Teacher and honestly, a book has never made me reevaluate my own morals and how far I would go for the ones I love and care about. Not to mention, I loved how Nagabe painted Teacher in a light of being the most human he has ever been in this whole series. It’s just wave of emotions and I just loved it. It flowed beautifully and ended in the most cliffhanger way possible.

Overall, I refuse to go into any more detail about this book because the best way to go into this series is to not know a lot about it. I will say this, when you start volume one and get to volume seven, it’s a slow build of this series becoming darker and darker. Not to mention the stakes become higher and higher. It’s so well done and I have never been this addicted to a graphic novel series the way I am with this series. I can’t recommend this series enough and if you have been debating this series, just buy the first two volumes. You won’t regret it, trust me. Plus, it’s never too early to start building a dark, spooky TBR!

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