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Beetle & the Hollowbones

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An enchanting, riotous, and playfully illustrated debut graphic novel following a young goblin trying to save her best friend from the haunted mall—perfect for fans of Steven Universe and Adventure Time. In the eerie town of ‘Allows, some people get to be magical sorceresses, while other people have their spirits trapped in the mall for all ghastly eternity. Then there’s tw An enchanting, riotous, and playfully illustrated debut graphic novel following a young goblin trying to save her best friend from the haunted mall—perfect for fans of Steven Universe and Adventure Time. In the eerie town of ‘Allows, some people get to be magical sorceresses, while other people have their spirits trapped in the mall for all ghastly eternity. Then there’s twelve-year-old goblin-witch Beetle, who’s caught in between. She’d rather skip being homeschooled completely and spend time with her best friend, Blob Glost. But the mall is getting boring, and B.G. is cursed to haunt it, tethered there by some unseen force. And now Beetle’s old best friend, Kat, is back in town for a sorcery apprenticeship with her Aunt Hollowbone. Kat is everything Beetle wants to be: beautiful, cool, great at magic, and kind of famous online. Beetle’s quickly being left in the dust. But Kat’s mentor has set her own vile scheme in motion. If Blob Ghost doesn’t escape the mall soon, their afterlife might be coming to a very sticky end. Now, Beetle has less than a week to rescue her best ghost, encourage Kat to stand up for herself, and confront the magic she’s been avoiding for far too long. And hopefully ride a broom without crashing.


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An enchanting, riotous, and playfully illustrated debut graphic novel following a young goblin trying to save her best friend from the haunted mall—perfect for fans of Steven Universe and Adventure Time. In the eerie town of ‘Allows, some people get to be magical sorceresses, while other people have their spirits trapped in the mall for all ghastly eternity. Then there’s tw An enchanting, riotous, and playfully illustrated debut graphic novel following a young goblin trying to save her best friend from the haunted mall—perfect for fans of Steven Universe and Adventure Time. In the eerie town of ‘Allows, some people get to be magical sorceresses, while other people have their spirits trapped in the mall for all ghastly eternity. Then there’s twelve-year-old goblin-witch Beetle, who’s caught in between. She’d rather skip being homeschooled completely and spend time with her best friend, Blob Glost. But the mall is getting boring, and B.G. is cursed to haunt it, tethered there by some unseen force. And now Beetle’s old best friend, Kat, is back in town for a sorcery apprenticeship with her Aunt Hollowbone. Kat is everything Beetle wants to be: beautiful, cool, great at magic, and kind of famous online. Beetle’s quickly being left in the dust. But Kat’s mentor has set her own vile scheme in motion. If Blob Ghost doesn’t escape the mall soon, their afterlife might be coming to a very sticky end. Now, Beetle has less than a week to rescue her best ghost, encourage Kat to stand up for herself, and confront the magic she’s been avoiding for far too long. And hopefully ride a broom without crashing.

30 review for Beetle & the Hollowbones

  1. 4 out of 5

    Deborah

    Take a big caldron. Add in all the aesthetic appeal of Halloween, the solidity of best friendship, the coziness of a giant sweater, a glowing rainbow palette of colors, the budding romance between two girls, and all the haunted hijinks you can think off - stir 'em all together and you've got "Beetle and the Hollowbones". This graphic novel is captivatingly magical, and absolutely bursting at the seams with humor, charm, and some of the most lovable characters you'll ever read. Here's the downlow Take a big caldron. Add in all the aesthetic appeal of Halloween, the solidity of best friendship, the coziness of a giant sweater, a glowing rainbow palette of colors, the budding romance between two girls, and all the haunted hijinks you can think off - stir 'em all together and you've got "Beetle and the Hollowbones". This graphic novel is captivatingly magical, and absolutely bursting at the seams with humor, charm, and some of the most lovable characters you'll ever read. Here's the downlow: Beetle is a young goblin witch who spends her days training under her Gran, trying to master goblin magic, learning how to ride a broom, and hanging out at the local mall with her BFF Blob Ghost and getting into shenanigans. Oh yeah, BG is also mysteriously tied to the mall and they can't leave, so Beetle is trying to figure out THAT situation. And now, Beetle's old friend Kat is back in town, and with Kat's appearance comes a whole lot of other feelings Beetle has to sort through. On top of all that, Kat's cunning aunt has her own plans that could spell THE END for everything Beetle loves. There is so much to admire about this book: first, the world of "Beetle" is incredibly well realized and fleshed out- the magic system, the citizens of 'Allowstown, even the pop culture embedded in the world feel like you've stepped through that wardrobe and into a very real place with history. The artwork is just downright dreamy; I love the interior shots of Beetle's home and the opening spreads of her flying lesson! And like I said, the characters are so SO good! Blob Ghost is my personal favorite; for a character who doesn't literally speak out loud, they are delightfully expressive and look so huggable. :3 I need a BG plushie in my life NOW. Literally the only thing I think could have been added is a short explanation of how the Council works/operates, but honestly that's partially just because I'm nosy and like magic councils. But that really doesn't have to do with anything else in the plot (maybe we'll see it in a sequel though?!) "Beetle and the Hollowbones" is a 5-star book through and through, and I would highly recommend it for both young readers, adults, or really just anyone who wants a wonderful dose of magical reading. (Preorder link: https://www.simonandschuster.com/book...)

  2. 4 out of 5

    The Nerd Daily

    Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Sarah Campsall This was a joy to read! I’m slowly getting into graphic novels this year as I think they are a great way of storytelling and a really useful tool for getting people into reading. Beetle and The Hollowbones is the debut graphic novel from Aliza Layne, who is the creator of the Webcomic, Demon Street. The graphic novel is bursting with colour, but it has some gorgeous, dusky, Halloween hues like oranges, purples, and blues that I thin Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Sarah Campsall This was a joy to read! I’m slowly getting into graphic novels this year as I think they are a great way of storytelling and a really useful tool for getting people into reading. Beetle and The Hollowbones is the debut graphic novel from Aliza Layne, who is the creator of the Webcomic, Demon Street. The graphic novel is bursting with colour, but it has some gorgeous, dusky, Halloween hues like oranges, purples, and blues that I think give it a nice vibe. Read the FULL REVIEW on The Nerd Daily

  3. 5 out of 5

    TJ

    This graphic novel will melt your heart! There’s so much love and passion obviously put into it. The magic system and world are so intriguing, the characters’ relationships are so real, and almost above all— it’s beautiful to look at! Those COLORS THO! And the casual queer representation is so well done in this all-ages story. This book is going to blow up, so hold onto your broomsticks! And people are going to go wild for my personal new favorite, Blob Ghost. 5/5 stars and a new favorite graphi This graphic novel will melt your heart! There’s so much love and passion obviously put into it. The magic system and world are so intriguing, the characters’ relationships are so real, and almost above all— it’s beautiful to look at! Those COLORS THO! And the casual queer representation is so well done in this all-ages story. This book is going to blow up, so hold onto your broomsticks! And people are going to go wild for my personal new favorite, Blob Ghost. 5/5 stars and a new favorite graphic novel!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lost in Book Land

    Hello, how are you? It's August! There are so many new books coming out this month and so many books I want to read. So far my reading month is off to an amazing start (I am hoping to keep it up). Lately, I have been reading a lot of graphic novels (I mean I always read them but it seems like I am reading even more than usual now). I think I am gravitating towards these books right now because I can pick one up and finish it on my lunch break or before bed! However, I am still reading other novel Hello, how are you? It's August! There are so many new books coming out this month and so many books I want to read. So far my reading month is off to an amazing start (I am hoping to keep it up). Lately, I have been reading a lot of graphic novels (I mean I always read them but it seems like I am reading even more than usual now). I think I am gravitating towards these books right now because I can pick one up and finish it on my lunch break or before bed! However, I am still reading other novels at the same time (definitely see my Goodreads and my currently reading post for more information). One of the graphic novels I read recently (like all in one sitting during my 100 bajillionth listen to Folklore) was Bettle and the Hollowbones! I was super fortunate to be approached by the publisher to join the blog tour for this book and I could not wait to read it! SPOILERS AHEAD Bettle is a goblin living with her grandmother. She should be spending her days studying magic and learning from her grandmother but she spends her days at the mall. Talking to a friend, but Bettle's friend is not like everyone else. Bettle's friend is Blob Ghost, and Blob Ghost is stuck at the mall unable to leave ever. One day, Bettle's childhood friend Kat moves back to town to apprentice under her aunt. Bettle is afraid to approach Kat at first, it's been so long since they have seen each other. However, when Bettle learns that Kat's aunt is planning to buy the mall and tear it down in a week's time she will do anything to save Blob Ghost, including talking to Kat again. But can Bettle and Kat save Blob Ghost? I adored this story and I know I will find myself rereading it a ton! I loved the tale of Bettle and Blob Ghost as well as Bettle and Kat and Bettle trying to become a great magic-user. Additionally, I loved the art style in this graphic novel. The colors were deep and rich and just popped off the page for me, the characters designs and the backgrounds were unique and interesting (and I would a lot of times I found myself saying I would love that panel as a print). The other thing I want to talk about with this graphic novel are the characters. I love love love Kat and her aunt's designs (but Kat, in particular, is my favorite). I would love to see the rest of the Hollowbones family someday maybe in another graphic novel in this universe. I want to thank the publisher again for including me on this blog tour, I loved this graphic novel so much and it is definitely one I will be coming back to again and again. I love magical worlds and this is one of my new favorites. Goodreads Rating: 5 Stars **I was given an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ness

    I just wanna scream from the rooftops that this is my new favorite thing. I knew the second I picked up Beetle & the Hollowbones that I was going to fall in love. A lot of graphic novels have tried to capture that sweet-but-spooky Halloween aesthetic, but Aliza Layne absolutely nails it. At its core, it's a story about growing up, about the way friendships change over time, and about finding and treasuring your own identity. But what shines the most are the characters, a unique cast of strange a I just wanna scream from the rooftops that this is my new favorite thing. I knew the second I picked up Beetle & the Hollowbones that I was going to fall in love. A lot of graphic novels have tried to capture that sweet-but-spooky Halloween aesthetic, but Aliza Layne absolutely nails it. At its core, it's a story about growing up, about the way friendships change over time, and about finding and treasuring your own identity. But what shines the most are the characters, a unique cast of strange and wonderful people of all shapes, sizes, and consistencies. I can't wait to see what Layne has in store for us next.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Maia

    I absolutely loved this brightly colored, charming Halloween-themed story! Beetle in a teen goblin who's being home schooled by her Gran in magic, but spends most of her free time hanging out at the mall with her new friend Blob Ghost. Then Beetle's old best friend, Kat Hollowbone, comes back from magic boarding school. She's earned her sorcery stone and has over 2,000 followers on Swarm! They used to write fanfiction together, but how can Beetle possibly talk to her now? Then it turns out Kat's I absolutely loved this brightly colored, charming Halloween-themed story! Beetle in a teen goblin who's being home schooled by her Gran in magic, but spends most of her free time hanging out at the mall with her new friend Blob Ghost. Then Beetle's old best friend, Kat Hollowbone, comes back from magic boarding school. She's earned her sorcery stone and has over 2,000 followers on Swarm! They used to write fanfiction together, but how can Beetle possibly talk to her now? Then it turns out Kat's bitchy rich aunt is planning to buy the mall and knock it down. Can Beetle reconnect with her old friend and save her new one? Every single page in this book is a delight, full of fun spooky character designs (lots of cobwebs, pumpkins, bats) and also lively, loose line art. Every time someone's eyes filled with anime sparkles my heart swelled.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Darcy Roar

    Absolutely marvelous! I do not believe I have Ever read an ARC of a book & loved it so much I immediately pre-ordered a copy for myself. I have just pre-ordered a copy of Beetle & the Hollowbones & you best be sure I'ma keep it in my grubby little goblin hoard. In all seriousness, this is a fantastic book with a spoopy but cute vibe. The ARC is only very partially in color (when published the whole book will be in color), but the coloring is Gorgeous. I shant say anything as to the plot other Absolutely marvelous! I do not believe I have Ever read an ARC of a book & loved it so much I immediately pre-ordered a copy for myself. I have just pre-ordered a copy of Beetle & the Hollowbones & you best be sure I'ma keep it in my grubby little goblin hoard. In all seriousness, this is a fantastic book with a spoopy but cute vibe. The ARC is only very partially in color (when published the whole book will be in color), but the coloring is Gorgeous. I shant say anything as to the plot other than I Loved it & want 50 bazillion more. Please, please, please pick up this book! If you have any spoop in your step, witchy predilections, or a funky little goblin heart this is one for you (or even if you don't, it's still flippin adorable with a heart of gold & you should read it)!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lata

    3.5 stars. Exuberant colour and emotions abound in this sweet, coming into one’s self and friendship story. Beetle is a goblin who’d rather not focus on her lessons and instead watch her favourite show or hang out at the mall with her friend Blob Ghost, who’s stuck within for some unknown reason. When her old best friend, popular Kat returns to town, Beetle feels awkward and misses when the two would hang out and write fan fiction together. Kat is back, learning magic from her clearly evil aunt, 3.5 stars. Exuberant colour and emotions abound in this sweet, coming into one’s self and friendship story. Beetle is a goblin who’d rather not focus on her lessons and instead watch her favourite show or hang out at the mall with her friend Blob Ghost, who’s stuck within for some unknown reason. When her old best friend, popular Kat returns to town, Beetle feels awkward and misses when the two would hang out and write fan fiction together. Kat is back, learning magic from her clearly evil aunt, whose plan includes razing Blob Ghost’s home. Beetle has to find it within herself to save Blob Ghost and Kat, whose aunt clearly doesn’t have anyone’s best wishes at heart, except her own. The friendships are great, as well as the little conflicts. I lost the story’s thread during the big, concluding magical fight, but was glad there was a happy ending afterwards for everyone. Okay, maybe not for the evil aunt, but she’s evil.

  9. 5 out of 5

    CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian

    This middle grade graphic novel was just the cutest. Beetle is a goblin witch learning to do magic with her gran as a teacher when she find out the mall in her Halloweeen town which her non-binary friend Ghost Blob is doomed to haunt is going to torn down. By who? Power-hungry Marla Hollowbone, whose niece Kat, a cat skeleton sorceress, is back in town. Can Beetle and Kat save Ghost Blob, defeat Marla, and admit their feelings for each other? Can kindly old healer midwife witch Gran bring back t This middle grade graphic novel was just the cutest. Beetle is a goblin witch learning to do magic with her gran as a teacher when she find out the mall in her Halloweeen town which her non-binary friend Ghost Blob is doomed to haunt is going to torn down. By who? Power-hungry Marla Hollowbone, whose niece Kat, a cat skeleton sorceress, is back in town. Can Beetle and Kat save Ghost Blob, defeat Marla, and admit their feelings for each other? Can kindly old healer midwife witch Gran bring back the badass sorcery from her youth? Gorgeous art, endearing characters, and fun LGBTQ representation for kids! I'm a bit bummed I had an ARC of this book, since it didn't have colour throughout. But I did love the art and the Halloween aesthetic! A perfect Halloween read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Barry Raifsnider

    I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for a review. I loved this so much!! From just the first few pages, it was full of so much personality and had me invested immediately. I loved the characters and their relationships with each other. The art was so good and really enhanced the story and I *really* liked how speech bubbles had different effects to convey different things. I would recommend this for people of all ages looking for a fun and magical - but I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for a review. I loved this so much!! From just the first few pages, it was full of so much personality and had me invested immediately. I loved the characters and their relationships with each other. The art was so good and really enhanced the story and I *really* liked how speech bubbles had different effects to convey different things. I would recommend this for people of all ages looking for a fun and magical - but not completely lighthearted - story.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    This book was a DELIGHT!

  12. 4 out of 5

    USOM

    (Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) Beetle and the Hollowbones is the latest in my middle grade comic obsession. Full of a muted, but colorful, color palette which reminds you of Halloween a fall, Beetle and the Hollowbones is a story about friendship and speaking up. This queer middle grade graphic novel tackles issues of power, forgiveness, and validation. Beetle & The Hollowbones reminded me a bit of Witchy meet (Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) Beetle and the Hollowbones is the latest in my middle grade comic obsession. Full of a muted, but colorful, color palette which reminds you of Halloween a fall, Beetle and the Hollowbones is a story about friendship and speaking up. This queer middle grade graphic novel tackles issues of power, forgiveness, and validation. Beetle & The Hollowbones reminded me a bit of Witchy meets Kiki's Delivery Service. At it's core it's a story about friendship and speaking out. We can sometimes have ideas about what constitutes "true power". In the pursuit of this, we can find ourselves excusing behaviors and seeking external validation. This can be from our family, from authority, or even from society. To speak up requires us to be willing to fight for what is right, even when it has risky consequences. full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...

  13. 5 out of 5

    Zoe

    Haunted mall!! Goblins and giant skeletons and cheeky custodians and penny-hoarding dragons!! Girls who love girls! Friendship!! Learning and sharing!!! EEEEEEEE just fun and delight!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Artemis

    A cute, colourful and playful otherworldly fantasy graphic novel for all ages. It contains magical ingredients such as: LBGTQ leads, different forms of witchcraft and sorcery (potions, charms, amulets, broomsticks etc), magic and technology mixing and living in harmony, anime, fanfiction, themes of friendship and familial love, themes of abuse and the power of love to conquer it, a mall as a set piece, a shop owned by giant worms, red cat ears, green goblins, spooky scary skeletons, an orange blo A cute, colourful and playful otherworldly fantasy graphic novel for all ages. It contains magical ingredients such as: LBGTQ leads, different forms of witchcraft and sorcery (potions, charms, amulets, broomsticks etc), magic and technology mixing and living in harmony, anime, fanfiction, themes of friendship and familial love, themes of abuse and the power of love to conquer it, a mall as a set piece, a shop owned by giant worms, red cat ears, green goblins, spooky scary skeletons, an orange blob ghost, a giant skeleton witch teacher, a giant beetle custodian, and dragons and other monsters. There are no humans in sight in this fantasy world. So many creative beings are drawn on the pages. So much imagination is on display. You know what else isn't in sight? Male characters. Or, there are no main male characters, nor are there ones with names and who don't appear for more than a few panels. Blob Ghost, aka BG, is referred to using they/them pronouns. And here's the deal breaker: Ever wanted to see a blooming, complicated romance between a female goblin witch and a female skeleton witch/sorceress? If you've never had that thought before, then you don't know what you are missing in life. 'Beetle & the Hollowbones' has it all. Beetle the goblin witch and Kat the skeleton sorceress are precious. They are orange cinnamon muffin cakes. 'Beetle & the Hollowbones' joins the ranks of 'Undertale' and Pixar's 'Coco', which are among the recent and brilliant fantasy stories that feature skeletons as three-dimensional characters. Who needs flesh to be fleshed out?! Bone/undead magic FTW! Cute, touching, fun and artistic (and purple, orange, green and red!), 'Beetle & the Hollowbones' is the perfect Halloween read. Only, it can be a little confusing sometimes, like with how its magical caste system works, and the story itself keeps ambiguous how old Beetle and Kat are (I was massively surprised to find out from the blurb after finishing the book - yes I don't tend to bother with blurbs much - that the girls are twelve-years-old! I'd thought they were older teenagers!). But go with the flow! By the end you'll be happy to have experienced this fantastical ride. Final Score: 4/5

  15. 4 out of 5

    Celia McMahon

    Omg. That was amazing. When I visited my local comic shop I didn’t know I’d be walking out with this gem. I was drawn in first by the cover and then the inside art. The story nailed the trifecta. I want Blob Ghost as a friend.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Melanie Gillman

    What an ABSOLUTE DELIGHT this book is, through and through!!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Dang

    What. charming and cute book! The story is very adorable and focuses on the adventure of a witch named Beetle and her friends Blob Ghost and Kat. The main journey of this book is about how Beetle is a homeschooled witch who hasn't gotten her powers yet and finds out that her best friend Kat is coming back to start her witch training all the while the mall in which Beetle's best friend, Blob Ghost, is going to be torn down and if they don't find a way to save them then they'll die. The artwork wa What. charming and cute book! The story is very adorable and focuses on the adventure of a witch named Beetle and her friends Blob Ghost and Kat. The main journey of this book is about how Beetle is a homeschooled witch who hasn't gotten her powers yet and finds out that her best friend Kat is coming back to start her witch training all the while the mall in which Beetle's best friend, Blob Ghost, is going to be torn down and if they don't find a way to save them then they'll die. The artwork was so adorable and I fell in love with Beetle. She was a very strong and great protagonist! Also, the ROMANCE!!! How absolutely sweet. This book was seriously adorable and filled with magic, friendship, and romance! It has everything!! * Thanks netgalley for sending me a arc in exchange for an honest review*

  18. 5 out of 5

    Iris

    This story is about a young goblin witch, Beetle, and her two best friends: Blob Ghost (BG) and Kat Hollowbones. BG is trapped and cursed to wander the mall while Kat is apprenticed to her sorceress aunt who is determined to destroy it and claim the land it sits on for herself! Beetle must help save BG, whose fate is tied to the mall somehow, while trying to make sense of her budding romantic feelings for Kat. The artwork is gorgeous and the story is unique and awesome, just like its characters! This story is about a young goblin witch, Beetle, and her two best friends: Blob Ghost (BG) and Kat Hollowbones. BG is trapped and cursed to wander the mall while Kat is apprenticed to her sorceress aunt who is determined to destroy it and claim the land it sits on for herself! Beetle must help save BG, whose fate is tied to the mall somehow, while trying to make sense of her budding romantic feelings for Kat. The artwork is gorgeous and the story is unique and awesome, just like its characters! I couldn't put it down!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Bookish

    INSOLENCE! An action-packed story with a rich internal narrative follows goblin Beetle as she navigates her magical insecurities and a crush on her sorceress-in-training friend, Kat, who recently returned to town with her evil aunt, while trying to save Beetle's BFF Blob Ghost, who is trapped inside the mall Kat's aunt plans to demolish. Strong LGBT+ story line supports both Beetle's coming out and BG's nonbinary identity. Yeah, there's a lot going on, but it works. Incredible use of sound words INSOLENCE! An action-packed story with a rich internal narrative follows goblin Beetle as she navigates her magical insecurities and a crush on her sorceress-in-training friend, Kat, who recently returned to town with her evil aunt, while trying to save Beetle's BFF Blob Ghost, who is trapped inside the mall Kat's aunt plans to demolish. Strong LGBT+ story line supports both Beetle's coming out and BG's nonbinary identity. Yeah, there's a lot going on, but it works. Incredible use of sound words as both cues and plot elements throughout, and gorgeous coloring (kudos to that whole team). There were a few DP spreads where I struggled (as an adult reader) to follow the panel progression, but it was easy enough to figure out when I needed to pivot. I look forward to reading more from this author!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lizzy // The Bookish Unicorn

    I totally fell in love with the characters Beetle, Ghost Blob and Kat. The chemistry between them works so well and is a great catalyst for the story. Also, the representation is great, Ghost Blob is nonbinary and there is a queer romance! This takes place in a really fun spooky, paranormal world where all of the characters are more on the monstrous side. I really enjoyed this change in pace from usual fantasy type worlds. This is all brought to life with amazing art and colors that just pop off t I totally fell in love with the characters Beetle, Ghost Blob and Kat. The chemistry between them works so well and is a great catalyst for the story. Also, the representation is great, Ghost Blob is nonbinary and there is a queer romance! This takes place in a really fun spooky, paranormal world where all of the characters are more on the monstrous side. I really enjoyed this change in pace from usual fantasy type worlds. This is all brought to life with amazing art and colors that just pop off the page!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Soup

    Absolutely delightful graphic novel about magic, love, friendship, and learning who you're meant to be. The ARC was only partially colored, so I can't wait to see what this looks like in full and glorious color! Also, who knew a circular blob could melt your heart?!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Aud

    So, I read this on my phone, which was small. Still, the art was good enough and clear enough that I really got into the story and really enjoyed it. I want to say the world building is queen here, because it's fabulously done. You definitely get a sense that there's an entire world beyond what we're seeing at Beetle's house and the mall. Beetle has favorite shows, engages in fanfiction, and even has social media accounts, all of which flavor the plot and deepen the character herself (and her fri So, I read this on my phone, which was small. Still, the art was good enough and clear enough that I really got into the story and really enjoyed it. I want to say the world building is queen here, because it's fabulously done. You definitely get a sense that there's an entire world beyond what we're seeing at Beetle's house and the mall. Beetle has favorite shows, engages in fanfiction, and even has social media accounts, all of which flavor the plot and deepen the character herself (and her friends). Which leads to the next point: the characters are also queen here, because they are relatable, realistic, and great. All three main characters (Beetle, on whom the story is focused, her current best friend, Blob Ghost, and Beetle's former best friend and crush, Kat, which is not a spoiler because it's evident pretty quickly) are well-fleshed out (no pun intended) people with flaws, interests, and backstories that we get glimpses into every so often. They are easy to relate to and easy to understand, without being fluffy or 2-dimensional - the author is just that good at conveying who they are. This is particularly fascinating for Blob Ghost, who doesn't actually use words to communicate except for a short note at the very end of the book, but one still gets a great sense of who they are pretty quickly (and they are adorable). Even the "filler" or "background" characters were cool (especial shout-out to the custodian, Hester, she was lovely), and I really like Beetle's grandmother. Character design is also A+. I love the variety of creatures in Beetle's world, just walking around like everything is normal because for them it is. There's a little kid in the mall at the very beginning who is hilarious. It's a great facet to the story. The plot was great. It wasn't world-shaking in the sense that it had never been done, but it was quick, dramatic, flavored by excellent characters and equally excellent world building, and kept me engaged the whole time. I wanted to know what happened next to the characters, and would love to read a sequel. I think for a read-alike I would reach for Lumberjanes or maybe Cleopatra in Space. Basically, if you've got a kid in your life, particularly one who likes Halloween-flavored things, friend stories with adventure, or just excellent graphic novels, this is a great choice.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mo

    This was just everything, oh my goodness!!! If you've read Demon Street, Aliza's webcomic, you know that she is just a wonderful artist and master storyteller and her mind comes up with the most wonderful and compelling stories, and this was absolutely no exception. I read this all in one sitting (at, like, midnight) because I just could NOT put it down!!! Please, oh please read this, especially if, like me, you're already getting in that autumnal spirit!!!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Riv

    An amazingly cute story that i could not put down! The character designs are wonderful and everyone is full of spirit and life. It's a very cute read and will go in a place of honor on my bookshelf. To be a little girl reading a book like this would be a dream so I am so glad we can experience it now. Can we get an animated show outta it??

  25. 5 out of 5

    Meg

    4.5 All my favorite aspects of a graphic novel together in one.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Heather Wade

    Magical is the best way to describe this amazing graphic novel, with a mix of beautifully colorful illustrations and a heartfelt story with a wide mix of characters. We follow the story of Beetle the goblin witch and her friend Blob Ghost, who happens to be trapped in a mall. When an old friend comes back to town, the now sorceress apprentice Kat Hollowbones, they must work together to save Blob Ghost in this thrilling tale of friendship and acceptance, while finding one’s self. It has become my Magical is the best way to describe this amazing graphic novel, with a mix of beautifully colorful illustrations and a heartfelt story with a wide mix of characters. We follow the story of Beetle the goblin witch and her friend Blob Ghost, who happens to be trapped in a mall. When an old friend comes back to town, the now sorceress apprentice Kat Hollowbones, they must work together to save Blob Ghost in this thrilling tale of friendship and acceptance, while finding one’s self. It has become my new favorite graphic novel; you will not want to miss this one! Not only are the illustrations gorgeous, but the magical world that Aliza Layne has created is so unique and complex, I truly hope we get more books in this world. Following the different forms of magic, we learn that though everyone is different, we are all magical in our own way, and with a little help and encouragement we can reach our full protentional. This will become your new absolute favorite; I do not doubt it! More Blob Ghost!! I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley for my honest opinion.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    I absolutely fell in love with this book! The art style is lush and gorgeous, the colors are beautiful and dreamy. Even just the line work was animated and evocative. I could stare at these pages forever. And that's not even getting into the story! Beetle is learning goblin magic from her Gran, but she really wants to be a witch. When she's not vaguely studying, she's watching magical girl anime and hanging out with her friend, Blob Ghost who haunts the local mall. Beetle gets reunited with her c I absolutely fell in love with this book! The art style is lush and gorgeous, the colors are beautiful and dreamy. Even just the line work was animated and evocative. I could stare at these pages forever. And that's not even getting into the story! Beetle is learning goblin magic from her Gran, but she really wants to be a witch. When she's not vaguely studying, she's watching magical girl anime and hanging out with her friend, Blob Ghost who haunts the local mall. Beetle gets reunited with her childhood friend Kat who has been away studying to be a witch like her aunt. But when Beetle finds out Kat's aunt is going to tear down the mall--and Blob Ghost's home--things get a little fraught between the friends as they try to help BG leave the mall. This is an excellent title for middle grade fantasy fans with a sweet queer love story mixed in. It also deals with less-than-stellar mentor figures and finding your place in the world, even if you have to carve it out of existing options.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Karly-Lynne (storybookcook)

    Beetle & the Hollowbones is easily one of my new favourite graphic novels! From the very first page I was completely hooked by this story of queer magical girls trying to save a haunted mall! The charmingly spoopy art style and gorgeous colors combined with the world Layne has created are enchanting. I immediately fell in love with all of the characters (seriously, Blob Ghost is the cutest ever) and their story is full of heart and humour. Beetle & the Hollowbones is easily one of my new favourite graphic novels! From the very first page I was completely hooked by this story of queer magical girls trying to save a haunted mall! The charmingly spoopy art style and gorgeous colors combined with the world Layne has created are enchanting. I immediately fell in love with all of the characters (seriously, Blob Ghost is the cutest ever) and their story is full of heart and humour.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Shay Vande

    WOWOWOWOWOWOWOW I wish I could give this ten stars! You can tell by all the personalized shelves I put this one under that it hit on a ton of my favorite story elements. Ghosts, witches, gay gals bein' pals, saying "Screw you!" to abusive adults!! This book has it ALL! Not only did I love the art on sight, but it was incredibly stylistic and a delight to behold. There are many creative and unique artistic choices that give this comic motion and flare. This could have been a Ghibli movie, or a Stev WOWOWOWOWOWOWOW I wish I could give this ten stars! You can tell by all the personalized shelves I put this one under that it hit on a ton of my favorite story elements. Ghosts, witches, gay gals bein' pals, saying "Screw you!" to abusive adults!! This book has it ALL! Not only did I love the art on sight, but it was incredibly stylistic and a delight to behold. There are many creative and unique artistic choices that give this comic motion and flare. This could have been a Ghibli movie, or a Steven Universe episode. The story started out very quaint, as many juvenile graphic novels do, but I was surprised by the level of drama and awe it ramped up to in a relatively short book. It got quite action-packed at the climax of the plot! I don't want to say much more, lest I give away everything. Simply put, this is a great read for the upcoming Halloween season, and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone (regardless of the season they pick it up in).

  30. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Full disclosure, Aliza is my friend so my opinion is hardly unbiased. However, I feel so fortunate to have a talented friend who writes the kind of things I want to read! This book is every good Halloween feeling carried year round. It is spooky in a fun, lighthearted way. The story of friendship and lovely queer romance is so gorgeous. The dynamics in this book are flawless. The overall vibe is so good. It’s a cozy, comfort read worth curling up with a cup of tea to! I love it with my whole hear Full disclosure, Aliza is my friend so my opinion is hardly unbiased. However, I feel so fortunate to have a talented friend who writes the kind of things I want to read! This book is every good Halloween feeling carried year round. It is spooky in a fun, lighthearted way. The story of friendship and lovely queer romance is so gorgeous. The dynamics in this book are flawless. The overall vibe is so good. It’s a cozy, comfort read worth curling up with a cup of tea to! I love it with my whole heart

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