All Things Writing, Illustration, Publishing, Epic Music, and Vlogs

Book Review: “Saints” by Gene Luen Yang

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I have a page now dedicated to book reviews, but I really enjoyed this one, so I decided to put it in my feed.

Summary: Four-girl is a young girl who lives in a small village that is anti-Christian. She, unlike her three other siblings, survived, and for some reason, instead of being joyful, her grandfather hates her for this, as he claims that he’s seen too much death. He calls her a devil (Yang, pg. 9) and because of this, Four-girl (being the fourth baby) decides to become the best devil there is. She comes across others speaking about foreign devils; Christians, and wants to learn to be one of them, not understanding in the least what this means. So, she finds a man and his wife who are excited to teach her how to be a Christian. Meanwhile, she’s really just trying to get back at all of those in her family who have shunned her. Oddly, she meets a raccoon who seems devilish himself, and urges her to be as horrible as possible.  Throughout the story, we see her year after year as she slowly changes. Meanwhile, the tension is getting stronger between the Christians and those who look to destroy them.

My Response: Spoilers: Four-girl runs away with her teacher to a Christian village and takes on the new name, Vibiana. She also has visions of a martyr, Joan. Throughout the novel, Vibiana tries to determine what the will of God is for her, as she later becomes a Christian in the story. She takes heart from Joan and from a guy at the village that she had flutterings for, who was a murderer in the past and decides to become a female warrior to protect the Christians in her camp who are under threat. At the very end, an invasion takes place, killing many. Vibiana is told to renounce her faith, but instead she leaves her attacker with a prayer, and is killed. In the end, Vibiana is a martyr herself. I fully enjoyed this book, as there were several moments where I laughed out-loud, and others where I’m sure my face was crinkled in deep thought. This graphic novel really deals with coming of age as well as becoming a person who can morally think for themselves. This book allows for others to live vacariously through Vibiana; those who are also trying to figure out their purpose in life. The ending, however, made a big statement about life, about how everyone believes they are important and meant to make a difference but life is cruel, and while people think better is to come, they never get it; they die. It shows the harsh reality of life. Now, at least I’m pretty sure Vibiana died, because it was the last page before the Epilogue – the reason I might be a tad unsure is because the book had a few loose pages.

Audience: middle and high school libraries. Ages: 11- and up.

Links: Website plus a page for books and comics.

Another neat visual book review. Enjoy!

#graphicnovels #geneluenyang #saintsbookreview #bookreviews #middlegradebooks #yabooks

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