Thursday, July 25, 2013

Book Review: "Johnny Graphic and the Etheric Bomb" by D.R. Martin #amreading

Hi! How has your summer been?

Mine has been BUSY. Full of work, work, work, and some more work. Ugh. But I am not really complaining, I'm just a little tired is all. Plus, I was able to have enough time here and there to finally finish up a great little book I had been reading! There is nothing like a good book to distract you from your boring everyday life. :)

Oh, oh, oh! Aaaand I have been super inspired to write more of my fantasy novel! (My muse came out of hiding or wherever she was.) So that has been taking up some of my time, too.

So! Back to the book!

How do you like my Mike Wazowski thumb? :)

Firstly, I’d like to say- I really loved this story!

As a fan of the mysterious world of the ethereal, (though not of scary spooks), I enjoyed reading about a place where ghosts not only exist, but they are also a part of one’s everyday life. These ghosts were once live people who have since passed on, but are still here on Earth. However, in this world, not all who pass on become ghosts, so death is still a tragedy. Those ghosts who remain are able to live on with the world they left behind by working, “living,” and integrating themselves in everyday communities.

In “Johnny Graphic andthe Etheric Bomb”, it is the 1930’s and twelve year old Johnny Graphic lives in that very kind of world. Not everyone can see ghosts, but Johnny Graphic sure can, and he also isn’t the kind of guy to discriminate against them or treat them badly like some other people do. But during his quest to become the youngest star news photographer as he tries to uncover the mystery of his parents’ disappearance, Johnny and his sister Mel soon discover a bad batch of ghosts with a really bad plan- a ghost-powered bomb that could kill everything in its path! And it just so happens that everything, and everyone, that Johnny cares about lies directly in that path. It is up to Johnny and his unique team of family and friends, both dead and undead, to expose the ghostly plan and save millions of souls. That’s IF he can!

I found it both interesting, and a little bit cathartic, to explore the idea of a world where it is possible to still have your loved ones by your side, even after they have died. The blow of losing someone you love is a lot less harsh if there is a chance they can become a ghost and still be there with you until the end. I also like how the author didn’t even attempt to explain the whole “what happens after you die” topic. In Johnny’s world, there is still some mystery as to how or why some people become ghosts, and how or why some people move on into the afterlife, Heaven, etc. This may change, of course, as there are more books to come in the series, but for now the book is still pretty lighthearted on the topic, and not at all controversial in my opinion. It is very simply put, and matter-of-fact.

I not only liked the “otherworldly” quality of this story, but I also enjoyed the 1930’s setting, and that it was done consistently well throughout the book. It takes place during a time where life was much simpler, where people were just a tad more decent, and the media was only just beginning to influence the world, (versus ruling it, as it does today). Not once single mention of texting, Facebook, etc. can be found within its pages, because those didn’t exist yet, which is very refreshing!

Overall, this book was just good, clean fun!

I was even surprised to find myself caring about the characters- and in the end, wanting to read more about Johnny’s quest to find his parents. I say “surprised” because often when I read a book from this age bracket, I will not necessarily want to read the next book in the series as I don’t feel compelled enough to know or care about what happens next. The characters would be too shallow, too selfish, or too dumb to bother reading more. Not so with this book. Martin’s characters have enough depth and humanity to them that I understood their points of views and wanted to see Johnny and Mel solve their problems so they can go find their parents once again.

In conclusion, I say- bring on the next Johnny Graphic book! 

For anyone interested in reading the story themselves, the book is available on It was edited by my friend and teacher, Marlo Garnsworthy, who is SO SMART when it comes to story editing. She is amazing. If you ever have the need for a good editor, or the opportunity to take one of her CE classes at RISD, definitely do so!

Also, a side-discovery, if you will...
I had originally started reading "Johnny Graphic" ages ago, on my tablet, via the Kindle app. (I also have an actual Kindle.) Three quarters of the way into the book, something happened where I had to put away my tablet (perhaps we were having company or something), and just like magic- POOF! Out of sight, out of mind... totally forgot I was reading a book. Don't you start to think it was the story's fault, either- I am known for doing this. I not only forgot about the "Johnny Graphic" book, but also some really good classics, such as Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland... it's pretty sad, actually. So far I have only been able to completely finish reading ONE digital ebook because it was super short, not counting picture books, of course. So it wasn't until months later, when I rediscovered my tablet, that I remembered poor Johnny. I immediately ordered the real book online and finished it in a day. My point is, now that I realize this, I will FOREVER choose the regular book over the ebook, no matter what book I am reading! Some things in life are just good to know! 
That is all, for now! I have some Little Raindrop work to do, so I'll see you later! Keep on creating! :D