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Sex Criminals: One Weird Trick by Matt Fraction & Chip Zdarsky

Image from Goodreads.com

Image from Goodreads.com

Fraction, M., & Zdarsky, C. (ill.) 2014. Sex Criminals, vol. 1: One Weird Trick. Image Comics: ISBN: 9781607069461.

Annotation: Suzie has the power to stop time when she has sex, and she thought she was the only one until she met Jon. Together they come up with a plan to save Suzie’s beloved library, using their superpowers to rob banks.

Reaction: Describing this book to people is ridiculous. Because the premise is RIDICULOUS. It’s crazy and weird and totally awesome. It’s so much fun to read (as an adult! This is definitely not one for kids, and I wouldn’t even recommend it to a teen [but I also wouldn’t stop them from checking it out if they found it]). As my husband and members of my book club can attest, I’m not usually a huge fans of things that can be described as “weird,” but this book manages to find a great balance between weird and not-weird that really works for me.

The two main characters are great, and I would like to go out for drinks with both Suzie and Jon. And, not gonna lie, I fell a little in love with Jon the first time we meet him, too. His Lolita quoting is so sexy, and Fraction and Zdarsky perfectly capture that moment between Suzie and Jon. Honestly, it made me want to read Lolita, which is not a book I’ve ever harbored a secret desire to read.

My buds, Matt and Chip, actually do a great job of portraying their burgeoning relationship for the entirety of the book. I enjoyed watching it unfold and develop, and I especially love their epic first date when they spend a lot time talking and getting to know each other. It just feels very natural and genuine to me, and it makes me really excited to see where Matt and Chip take them in later volumes.

I also really like the way Suzie breaks the fourth wall to speak directly to the reader, which is something I feel like I’m seeing a lot more often in various media, and it super works here. It really helps make the story feel intimate and as if Suzie’s having a conversation with a good friend over drinks. I also like how Suzie will actually insert herself into scenes from the past as she narrates. I find it clever and fun, but I also have a little bit of a girl crush on Suzie, so I’m not sure she can do any wrong in my book.

I know this review has already turned into an ode to how much I loved this book, but we have to talk about the art. It’s amazing. It really helps sell this ridiculous story. I really like the classic pinup vibe of the character designs and that they look like normal people. Suzie and Jon are hot, but not supermodel, superhero hot. They’re regular people hot (and most of Jon’s appeal comes from his humor and intellect). Zdarsky does really interesting things with the characters’ flashbacks, and the stopped time scenes are crazy cool. I also love the coloring here. I love everything. It’s all good.

So, you know, read this. But only if you don’t mind copious amounts of doin’ it in your comics.

Author’s website (Incidentally, Matt Fraction is married to the excellent Kelly Sue DeConnick.)

Illustrator’s website

(Contributed to Cannonball Reads 7 as part of my 52 reviews in 52 weeks. I’m a little behind.)


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The Library by Sarah Stewart

Image from Goodreads.com

Image from Goodreads.com

Stewart, S., & Small, D. (ill.) (1995). The library. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux. ISBN: 9780374343880

Annotation: Elizabeth Brown likes to read. And read. And read. And when her books take over her house, she makes a donation to her town of all the books she owns.

Reaction: The dedication to this book reads “to the memory of the real Mary Elizabeth Brown. Librarian, reader, friend. 1920-1991,” which makes this book a little bit more special to me. As a person who grew up spending more time at the library and reading books than doing anything else, I can totally relate to Elizabeth Brown lifestyle choices.

I love the frames Small uses around the color illustrations, which make the art look like old fashioned portraits, and the black and white ink illustrations in the empty white space adds a touch of humor and whimsy. All the art is fun and light and full of color.

The poem emphasizes her love of books and the way she does everything while reading, without making it a negative that she’s not interested in sports or boys or even grocery shopping.

I would read this to young children to give them an wonderful example of a bibliophile in action, and I may use it in one of my future storytimes.

ABBY Award Honor Book
American Booksellers Association, Pick of the Lists, 1995
The New York Times, Outstanding Book of the Year and Notable Children’s Book, 1995

Media Used: None listed, but appears to be watercolors.

Author’s Website

Illustrator’s Website