So the first thing you need to know is that this book is utterly gorgeous. It was created by Marc Andreyko in response to the mass shooting at the LGBTQ nightclub Pulse in Orlando in June, and all proceeds go to the survivors and victims’ families. Some of comics’ biggest names have contributed and it all comes together to create a beacon of, yes, mourning, but also (and mostly) hope and love. I started crying at page 1 and didn’t really stop.
It’s not perfect. There are some comics that just didn’t resonate with me for whatever reason, and I have to agree with the review on Goodreads that pointed out there don’t seem to be enough #ownvoices (but who am I to label people? After all, just because a person is married to someone of a different gender doesn’t mean they don’t belong to the LGBTQ community). But the majority of the stories did hit me in the way they were meant to, and the blurriness of my vision through the tears didn’t stop me appreciating the absolutely beautiful art. I’m not a huge reader of comics and graphic novels, but there are some amazing artists working in the industry at the moment, and most of them seem to be in this book.
I gave it 4.5 stars, because there were just a couple too many of those comics that didn’t hit, but the last paragraph of this Guardian article explains how I feel perfectly. I would love to be able to buy multiple copies and send them out to all my friends, or leave them in random places for people who need this book to find. The message of this book is that, in the end, love will win, and I think there are lots of people who need to hear that right now.
Buy the digital version at Comixology or find the paperback version at your local comic book store.
Ok, so I’m slightly late doing this, but sometimes life interferes and then suddenly it’s the 3rd of January and you’re back in work and no longer able to stay up until silly o’clock in the morning. Boo, quite frankly, boo. This year, as for the last couple of years, I used Goodreads to track my reading, and I apparently read 166 books in 2016. I’m slightly in shock to be honest. That’s way above my norm, and 151% of the target I actually set. That doesn’t count the four books I started but didn’t finish – I’ve recently come to the conclusion that life is too short to continue with books I don’t like, especially when there are so many out there that I do want to read. I think I got 2 chapters in to Marly’s Ghost by David Levithan before I wanted to throw it across the room. That’s the only book I truly hated I think. I made it about 100 pages into Stealing Snow by Danielle Page, Did I Mention I Love You by Estelle Maskame and Devoured by D E Meredith until I decided I was so bored I had to put them down. But I think 4 out of 170 isn’t bad going is it? (If you liked any of those books, please feel free to explain to me why I’m wrong in the comments!)
You’ve already seen my favourites of the year, but if you were going to force me to pick one as my top book, I think it would have to be The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. I really did love it unconditionally.
Looking forward, there are so many books coming out this year that I am really excited about. Some of them I’ve already read – Wing Jones is out on Thursday here in the UK, and 14th March in the US, Behind Her Eyes is out at the end of January – but there are so many I haven’t. I’m particularly excited about The Scarecrow Queen by Melinda Salisbury, which is out in March, A Conjuring of Light by V E Schwab, and All About Mia by Lisa Williamson, both out in February, and Margot & Me by Juno Dawson and Caraval by Stephanie Garber, both of which are out at the end of the month. And that is a mere smidgeon of the books I’m looking forward to! I’m also lucky enough to live near a Waterstones that has a brilliant line-up of events, and four of those authors (plus others) will be doing events in the next couple of months, which is also very exciting.
Let me know in the comments which books you’re excited about!