Thursday, September 14, 2017
Book Review: Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power!
Author: Mariko Tamaki, Brooke Allen (Illustrator)
Genre: Adventure, Urban Fantasy (Middle Grade)
Rating: 3.5 stars
Page Count: 256
Publication Date: October 10th, 2017
This is an original story staring the five main characters of the BOOM! published comic series Lumberjanes - created by Noelle Stevenson. And I'm a huge fan of it. We don't get exact ages for the girls but I'd say between ten and thirteen? They seem older sometimes, for various reasons, but the comics, and this book, are marketed for a younger middle grade audience.
This one starts off with them trying to earn the Living the Plant Life badge when they see a unicorn and Ripley takes off after it because, well, unicorn. And the adventure takes off from there with classic Lumberjanes shenanigans and mystery.
(If you haven't read the comic, you can read this book no problem but the comic is amazing)
I enjoyed this book a lot, but I did have problems with it. We're going to start with the problems, because there's only a few - and all of them are pretty minor, considering - but then we can end on a high note. My first problem with it was the fact that it was younger middle grade - which is fine, in itself, but my problem with that was the way it talked down to the reader. Explaining when a bigger word was used, kind of thing. Kids are smart, if they're confused by a word they can - figure out the meaning, look it up, or ask. It drove me a little crazy, and it would of as a kid, too.
So, obviously, I am not the age range this book is targeted but besides that I found it really cute and sweet. I forget, sometimes, the comic is all ages just because I don't think about it. However, I'd recommend both for, like it says, all ages.
The way the pacing of this book is, is a little weird. We meet the unicorns right away, and then it just felt a little weird the in between moments? Besides that, though, I just plain loved it. I might be biased because of my established love for the comics, I've read all the current out volumes and normally rate then 4/5 stars.
The girls are, of course, my favorite. They're so strong/good together, and it makes me so happy to see such great friendships shown between girls. Who aren't talking about guys all the time. I mean, sure, they're young and they also go to a camp for hardcore lady types but still, most others would of probably added that in since there is a boys camp near by.
Speaking of gender! We get a nonbinary or genderqueer character in this book - it's not specified which in the text just says they prefer they/them pronouns. And, actually, they're a character that we've seen in the comics that use to go to the boys camp and is adorable and amazing, and apparently makes really good cookies? So that was cool, even though we don't see them much in this book, hopefully they'll pop up more in future ones.
We still have Mal/Molly happening, like in the comics, which I kind of want more of because they're so dang cute. They seem to be living in this summer forever - it's even mentioned in one of the comics, time seems to run weird - but I'm hoping we do get to see them get older, and also at home, what it's like when they aren't at camp. And I feel like these books might be better suited then comics for that, because we can be shown/told how they're feeling easier through a novel then through a comic.
So I'll definitely be picking up my own copy of this when it comes out in October, and am excited that it seems to be planned to be the first in a novelized series. I'd recommend this for anyone who likes hardcore lady types, adventure, and magical realism/portal fantasy? The magic is weird, follows it's own rules, and I love it.