Review: El Deafo by Cece Bell

“Our differences are our superpowers.”

Starting and ending the day with a good read will never grow tired on me.El Deafo 6-- bookspoilsStarting at a new school is scary, even more so with a giant hearing aid strapped to your chest! At her old school, everyone in Cece’s class was deaf. Here she is different. She is sure the kids are staring at the Phonic Ear, the powerful aid that will help her hear her teacher. Too bad it also seems certain to repel potential friends.

This funny perceptive graphic novel memoir about growing up hearing impaired is also an unforgettable book about growing up, and all the super and super embarrassing moments along the way.

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El Deafo is filled with all the upheavals and self-questioning of Cece Bell’s early childhood, from experiencing crushes, pushy “best friends” and loneliness, to making many discoveries about lip-reading, including how it can create many awkward misread situations.

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I’d highly recommended this for fans of Wonder by R.J. Palacio. This graphic novel was the perfect blend between funny, realistic, and enlightening to keep me flipping rapidly from page to page.

It’s totally fascinating, and alarming at times to read through what the author went through in her school education, from dealing with “well-meaning” yet completely ignorant folks coming up and asking straight up rude questions to her face, to describing the many cues to notice to fully understand a conversation piece in real life or on TV.

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And to include a few other noteworthy moments:El Deafo 3-- bookspoils

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El Deafo 8-- bookspoilsWow. I feel utterly exposed by the above panel.

El Deafo 9-- bookspoilsThis brought to mind a similar exchange in one of my favorite episodes in Master of none season two.


Overall, I enjoyed this middle-grade graphic novel more than I expected with the months of waiting. So the anticipation to finally read El Deafo paid off quite well. Oh, and just throwing it out there: I’d love to see this story turned into a movie in the near future!

4/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying El Deafo, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

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The Beautiful Book Covers Tag

“I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.” 
― Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane

The last tag I did on my blog was back in March, when I created part two to my original Skam book tag, so it felt like the perfect time to answer and add a new one to the archives. This tag was created by theheavyblanks on Youtube.

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you want to buy any of the reads I mention in this post, just scroll down to the books at the end to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

1. Choose five of the most beautiful books in your collection.

The yellow aesthetic is naturally strong in this one.

*Note on the cover of One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul: I chose the beautifully fan-made cover by the talented Gillian Goerz, instead of the originally published one.

2. Choose a beautiful book that features your most favorite color.

Pink, pink, pink in all its splendor and glory. I have a whole Goodreads shelf dedicated to my pink covers, which you can check out here.

P.S. You know you’re having way too much fun with a tag when you can’t decide on just one book.

3. Choose a beautiful book that features your least favorite color.

Orangey-brown hues tend to least attract me to book covers, but with the above two I can stare for hours on end at the detailing. With Jonathan Safran Foer’s Here I Am in particular because of those background sentences you cannot help but try to make sense of.

4. Choose your favorite cover of a classic.the-handmaids-tale-bookspoilsThe cover for this timeless piece of fiction can be summed up in one word: grandiose.

“We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom.
We lived in the gaps between the stories.” 

5. Choose your favorite cover of a children’s book.Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls-- bookspoilsI simply had to give this empowering collection a spotlight. I read and reviewed it earlier this year and have been on the search ever since for more feminist reads like it.

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is a children’s book packed with 100 bedtime stories about the life of 100 extraordinary women from the past and the present, and I would highly recommend it for all ages! You’re never too young or old to start on your path through feminist history.

6. Do you often buy books based solely on a beautiful cover?

To put it simply: Yes. Whether I’m buying or borrowing from the library, the cover plays a pretty big role in my decision making. However, what usually makes or breaks the final cut is the first sentence/ chapter of said book.

7. Out of every book that you own, which book best exemplifies your idea of a beautiful book.

My personal definition of an ultimate beautiful book cover is one that makes me feel wistful while looking at it. Like Noora Sætre below:tumblr_ohcqbqculy1r3ssslo3_500So far the only book that’s succeeded at creating that effect is one I have a long history with: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.Fangirl-- bookspoilsI probably wouldn’t have discovered my love for reading back in 2014, if it hadn’t been for the phenomenal characters Rainbow Rowell created in here. So looking at that cover always makes me reminisce about so many things, including my favorite scenes from the book, which I talk about extensively in my review here .


And that’s a wrap on all my answers for the Beautiful Covers book tag. If you’re interested in answering these questions, I tag you.

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you want to buy any of the reads I mention in this post, just click on the books below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

Review: Thornhill by Pam Smy

“We are the voiceless ones.”

Parallel stories set in different times, one told in prose and one in pictures, converge as a girl unravels the mystery of the abandoned Thornhill Institute next door.

1982: Mary is a lonely orphan at the Thornhill Institute For Children at the very moment that it’s shutting its doors. When her few friends are all adopted or re-homed and she’s left to face a volatile bully alone, her revenge will have a lasting effect on the bully, on Mary, and on Thornhill itself.

2017: Ella has just moved to a new town where she knows no one. From her room on the top floor of her new home, she has a perfect view of the dilapidated, abandoned Thornhill Institute across the way, where she glimpses a girl in the window. Determined to befriend the girl and solidify the link between them, Ella resolves to unravel Thornhill’s shadowy past.

Told in alternating, interwoven plotlines—Mary’s through intimate diary entries and Ella’s in bold, striking art—Pam Smy’s Thornhill is a haunting exploration of human connection, filled with suspense.

This tale set in alternate times, one told in words and the other in drawings, sounded right up my alley when I discovered it back in May. In particular because it reminded me a lot of  Brian Selznick’s Wonderstruck, which had a similar format of storytelling that I loved. Unlike that one, though, Thornhill is a creepy and disquieting ghost story. That is to say: I was racing to finish reading it before sunset because I’m not about to be scared out of leaving my bedroom… again, since ghosts are one of my greatest fears, thanks to watching the horrendous film called The Sixth Sense at night when I was just eight years old. (I thought at the time that I was brave and cool and that it wouldn’t be as eerie as the blurb made it seem.) (Oh, how wrong I was.)

“I like the noise of being surrounded by a group. It’s as though there are little stories whizzing around—dreams of pop groups and boyfriends, gossip about eyeliner and shoes and teachers. I don’t have to join in, but still I feel part of their gang—on the edges looking in, watching, listening, but happy to be included.”

Circling back to the book, a pleasant surprise came to me with the drawings, which wasn’t what I expected in terms of style before reading. I feel like ages have passed since I last sat down and enjoyed a proper book. But I was a bit disheartened to see that the art was on the lower side compared to the prose. Overtime, I actually came to look forward most to what the story would convey through these black and white drawings.

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But for now I’m definitely on the lookout for a more lighthearted read after the eeriness left by Thornhill. I mean, that ending surely raised the hair on the back of my neck. Shudders.

3/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying Thornhill, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!