Paper Girls, Volumes 1 & 2

Title: Paper Girls, Volume 1 and 2
Author: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Cliff Chiang
Publisher: Image Comics
Genre: Graphic Novel

Brian K Vaughan is quickly becoming one of my favorite graphic novel writers. I sped through all seven volumes of Saga recently, but I didn’t even realize he was also the writer behind Paper Girls until I picked up both volumes at the library.

Paper Girls is about a group of 12-year-old paper delivery girls in the autumn of 1988. It’s the morning after Halloween, and some pretty weird stuff is going down in their hometown. The normal post-Halloween weirdos are still out, but there is something more paranormal happening as well. Across the two volumes, this turns into a bizarre tale of time travel that reminds me of Stranger Things. I’ve heard it described as LumberJanes on steroids…I need to go out and read Lumberjane’s to see if it is an apt comparison!

What I like most about Paper Girls, Volume 1 is the setting: 1988 suburbia, and the nostalgia is turned up high. Both the artwork and the writing is top-notch, if you don’t mind finishing up both volumes having pretty much no idea where the story is going. It’s definitely confusing, and I still don’t know what’s actually happening, but I have enjoyed the ride!

In Volume 2, the girls are catapulted into the future…2016. It just so happens to be election season (in 1988, we glimpse Reagan yard signs, in 2016 we get a Hillary). One of my favorite, and bittersweet, moments in Volume 2 is when two of the girls spot a Hillary yard sign. Tiffany remarks in excitement, “Mac, look. We get a girl president!”, to which Mac quips, “No, some lady is running. Doesn’t mean she’s gonna win.” OUCH. That STILL burns.

I like how each girl is distinct and has their own personality. Erin is very much a 12-year old girl, while the other three are more jaded and less innocent. Mac is definitely the most interesting, and most troubled, of the quartet. Two of the girls get to confront their adult selves (well, kinda….but to say anymore would be a major spoiler), and the result is both heartbreaking and hilarious.

Volume 3 releases in August, and I will definitely be picking it up with the hope there will be slightly more clarity about the plot and where the series is heading.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

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When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

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Title: When Dimple Met Rishi
Author: Sandhya Menon
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: YA Contemporary

I dip into contemporary YA only on occasion, and YA rom-com even less. So there has to be a really unique take on the genre to grab my interest. This one has been making the rounds in the blogosphere for months, and it definitely caught my eye when I first heard about it earlier this year. It turned out to be a fantastic pick to bring along on my June vacation!

Told from two different perspectives, When Dimple Met Rishi follows two Indian-American teenagers during their summer break after graduating from high school. Dimple is ready for a break from her family, and can’t believe it when they give her permission to attend an expensive summer program for aspiring app developers. Little does she know, it is all part of her family’s plan to introduce her to Rishi…the young man her parents have secretly arranged to be her future spouse.

Rishi is, almost refreshingly, a hopeless romantic. He knows all about the arrangement between the two sets of parents, and attends the same summer program as Dimple in the hopes of getting to know her.

Little does he know that Dimple has been left in the dark as to who he is or what has been arranged, and deservedly freaks out when he first introduces himself.

What follows is a cute romantic comedy, with two really fun and enjoyable characters. It is made even better because by branching out from just being a love story, as it also brings up questions of culture and tradition, family relationships, and coming of age independence.

When Dimple Met Rishi tackles a controversial tradition, that of arranged marriages. I believe this is the first book I have ever read that doesn’t treat arranged marriage solely in a negative light. I have enough Indian friends who are in some form of arranged marriage to know that, although there are many bad arranged marriages out there in which girls were forced into the arrangement and/or treated terribly, there are many good ones as well. It is a complex issue, and while I can’t speak to the cultural accuracy in the story, it appears to be very well done.

The other thing this book did was Make.Me.Hungry!!! When I lived in New Jersey, our apartment was in a predominantly Indian and Pakistani neighborhood, and we had 3 different types of Indian restaurants and a grocer just within a 1/2 mile walking distance. Oh, how I miss that! Khatta Meetha! Nom-nom-nom.

Speaking of food, there is an amazing bar mentioned in the story, 2 sisters bar and books. A bar with tons of books to browse while you sip, and Sandhya Menon makes it sound like an adorable and amazing bar to visit. So I looked it up to find out…this is a real place in San Francisco!! And it just closed it’s doors in March. NOO!!!!

Ultimately, I found When Dimple Met Rishi to be an adorable, heartwarming story about two Indian American teenagers finding their way in life.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Back from a Blogging Break!

Well,  apparently my blogging mojo went out the window the past few weeks, because I unintentionally took a break! I apologize for my silence, the last few weeks have been incredibly busy, and it has been really difficult to find the extra time to sit down in front of a computer for any extended period of time.

However, lots of very cool activities have been filling that time! Like:

Hiking in Zion National Park, Utah

Angel’s Landing Trail

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Emerald Pools Trail

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The Narrows

Canyoneering at Lamb’s Knoll, Utah

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Giving back: Painting the Garden Shed at M’s Elementary School

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Hanging out at the pool

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… and kayaking!!

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Of course, lots of reading has also been happening!

May Reading

June Reading

I am planning on catching up on a few book reviews over the next two weeks, so keep an eye out for those!

I hope you are having a great summer!!