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Manu

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Set at a magical school for girls, a funny and heartwarming middle-grade graphic novel adventure about friendship, defying expectations, and finding your place. Manu and her best friend, Josefina, live at a magical school for girls, and Manu is always getting into trouble. The headmistress believes that Manu has the potential to help people with her magic, but Manu would ra Set at a magical school for girls, a funny and heartwarming middle-grade graphic novel adventure about friendship, defying expectations, and finding your place. Manu and her best friend, Josefina, live at a magical school for girls, and Manu is always getting into trouble. The headmistress believes that Manu has the potential to help people with her magic, but Manu would rather have fun than fall in line. One day, a prank goes seriously wrong, and Josefina gets angry and wishes for Manu's magic to disappear... and it does. Manu uses a dangerous spell to restore it, but it makes her magic too powerful and nearly impossible to control. Great power comes at a cost, and it may be a price that Manu isn't able to pay!


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Set at a magical school for girls, a funny and heartwarming middle-grade graphic novel adventure about friendship, defying expectations, and finding your place. Manu and her best friend, Josefina, live at a magical school for girls, and Manu is always getting into trouble. The headmistress believes that Manu has the potential to help people with her magic, but Manu would ra Set at a magical school for girls, a funny and heartwarming middle-grade graphic novel adventure about friendship, defying expectations, and finding your place. Manu and her best friend, Josefina, live at a magical school for girls, and Manu is always getting into trouble. The headmistress believes that Manu has the potential to help people with her magic, but Manu would rather have fun than fall in line. One day, a prank goes seriously wrong, and Josefina gets angry and wishes for Manu's magic to disappear... and it does. Manu uses a dangerous spell to restore it, but it makes her magic too powerful and nearly impossible to control. Great power comes at a cost, and it may be a price that Manu isn't able to pay!

30 review for Manu

  1. 4 out of 5

    Loz

    Cute and fun, love the art and colors. The story was an adventure!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Riley Aldridge

    i loved this one way more than i expected to!! manu follows the story of manuela, who goes by manu, a girl in central america who goes to a school for girls with magic powers. the story beautifully blends catholic traditions with magic and the art was just lovely. kids graphic novels always have the best lessons about friendship and i loved reading about manu and josefina's friendship and seeing how they cared for each other <3 i loved this one way more than i expected to!! manu follows the story of manuela, who goes by manu, a girl in central america who goes to a school for girls with magic powers. the story beautifully blends catholic traditions with magic and the art was just lovely. kids graphic novels always have the best lessons about friendship and i loved reading about manu and josefina's friendship and seeing how they cared for each other <3

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    The beginning was cute and fun, but the ending was very dark.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nay Keppler

    It’s rare that I read a children’s book and feel so strongly that I wish I would have had it around to read when I was a kid, but that’s how I feel about this one. I saw younger me in Manu sooooo much (not the demon-spawn part, but the well-intentioned, clumsy, boyish hot mess who one teacher and one friend had faith in and went to bat for). The storytelling and culture and faith and magic blending were great, too, but I was in it to win it with these characters!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mackie Welch

    I loved this! I can't think of many other graphic novels like this, and I know there will be many many kids I'll be able to recommend it to (especially fans of the Witch Boy series). I loved this! I can't think of many other graphic novels like this, and I know there will be many many kids I'll be able to recommend it to (especially fans of the Witch Boy series).

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bri &#x1f33b;

    Such a cute little book. I thought it was precious. The art waS adorable and I love these little Latin babies with my whole heart.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Cande

    i adored the world building and the story, wished for more character development. would love to see more about Manu and this world.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Khansaa

    a cute story with a cute drawing is absolutely my weakness 🥺

  9. 4 out of 5

    Juli Anna

    So sweet and spirited!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Eder

    VERY cute very fun! Another story of magic and identity. It was also a very quick read. Not much story in the words! Great for any grade level.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Beth Mendelsohn

    I received an uncorrected proof of this graphic novel from Graphix, an imprint of Scholastic. All opinions are my own. Manu, short for Manuela, lives at a magical school for girls run by nuns with magical powers. The school is on an unnamed tropical island, possibly the Dominican Republic since that is where the author’s family originated. Manu often uses her magic for pranks and when her latest goes too far, her best friend, Josefina, wishes that Manu’s magic would disappear. Shortly thereafter, I received an uncorrected proof of this graphic novel from Graphix, an imprint of Scholastic. All opinions are my own. Manu, short for Manuela, lives at a magical school for girls run by nuns with magical powers. The school is on an unnamed tropical island, possibly the Dominican Republic since that is where the author’s family originated. Manu often uses her magic for pranks and when her latest goes too far, her best friend, Josefina, wishes that Manu’s magic would disappear. Shortly thereafter, it does. Feeling guilty, Josefina helps Manu use one of the forbidden spell books that to restore her powers. Will Manu pay the price for her impulsiveness? I thought that this graphic novel was just ok. While entertaining, it did not hold my interest that much. Then again, I am not the target audience. This would be for readers in grades 4 and up. #Manu #Scholastic

  12. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia

    A charming story of friendship and building self-awareness. It has a similar aesthetic feel to the Teadragon society series but with a mischievous tone. I loved the setting and how the author chose to represent her culture and experiences. Thanks to Scholastic for a review copy! This is out in November <3 Highly recommend

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    Because I am a librarian, I received an uncorrected proof ahead of publishing date. This was a quick read. I feel very neutral about it. I neither absolutely loved it or didn't like it. I did like that there was some Spanish sprinkled in to the book. Because I am a librarian, I received an uncorrected proof ahead of publishing date. This was a quick read. I feel very neutral about it. I neither absolutely loved it or didn't like it. I did like that there was some Spanish sprinkled in to the book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    TheLifeTheFife

    Reading this felt like a fairytale! Based on Fernández´s Dominican heritage, ¡MANU! follows two girls, Josefina and Manu at La Academia de Santa Dominga, a magic school that borrows a lot of Catholic traditions. Yet everything gets messed up when Manu’s magic gets out of control and she needs Josefina’s help to get it back on track. I loved this book’s magical whimsy. Josefina and Manu really just want to fit in and have a good time and they’re not afraid of using their powers to do so. Yet discov Reading this felt like a fairytale! Based on Fernández´s Dominican heritage, ¡MANU! follows two girls, Josefina and Manu at La Academia de Santa Dominga, a magic school that borrows a lot of Catholic traditions. Yet everything gets messed up when Manu’s magic gets out of control and she needs Josefina’s help to get it back on track. I loved this book’s magical whimsy. Josefina and Manu really just want to fit in and have a good time and they’re not afraid of using their powers to do so. Yet discoveries about Manu’s heritage keep the story grounded emotionally, striking the perfect balance for a fun, light read.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Cecelia

    There are days when you need an impeccably illustrated magic school story to escape reality.* During the first week of January, when we in the DC area had a surfeit of snow days, I picked up and very much enjoyed Manu, Kelly Fernández's middle grade fantasy graphic novel. Manu is a magic school story with a twist. The twist? It’s set at an all-girls religious school with a mix of nuns, saints, and brujería, drawing on the author’s Dominican heritage, culture, and folklore. Oh, and it features a There are days when you need an impeccably illustrated magic school story to escape reality.* During the first week of January, when we in the DC area had a surfeit of snow days, I picked up and very much enjoyed Manu, Kelly Fernández's middle grade fantasy graphic novel. Manu is a magic school story with a twist. The twist? It’s set at an all-girls religious school with a mix of nuns, saints, and brujería, drawing on the author’s Dominican heritage, culture, and folklore. Oh, and it features a delightful, trouble-magnet heroine. Manu – short for Manuela – always seems to attract trouble. Her magic is too strong, she’s using it for the wrong reasons (according to Mother Dolores, the headmistress), and she doesn’t really care about being kind and obedient, like her friend Josefina and the rest of the girls. Her idea of a good time is contravening the school’s rules, exploring the area around school, and practicing magic. When something “goes wrong” with her magic, Manu finds herself more of an outcast than usual, and, as one does, creates a small cataclysm. In Manu, author-illustrator Fernández integrates themes of identity, true friendship, and expectations vs. reality in a heartwarming and hilarious whole. Manu is, more than anything else, a lot of FUN. It has magic and magic-gone-wrong, supernatural beasts with their own agendas, true friendship, and a mysterious origin story that takes the whole of the book to unravel. Readers in the target age group will love the trouble Manu gets into (and only sometimes gets out of!) and recognize the chaos and in-groups/outcast feeling of the school. It also will appeal for its setting and world-building. Fernández’s combination of brujería (witchcraft) with religious education is authentic to Dominican culture and will be familiar to those from many other Caribbean and Latin American backgrounds as well. Meanwhile, that mixture will likely seem unique and interesting to those with no previous exposure to it and draw them further into the story to find out what happens in the end. Let’s go back to that true friendship bit I mentioned earlier. While Manu grew up at the school, her friend Josefina only started attending once she manifested her powers. Despite vastly different backgrounds, these two have a fast friendship: it has survived ups, downs, and Manu-created disasters. I think you could read their friendship as queer, but there is nothing overt – only a kiss on the cheek on the final pages. I’ll be interested to see if Fernández continues Manu’s adventures in a series and develops this hint any further. Now onto the art! Fernández uses rounded black lines to delineate her characters and create the background and setting, combined with pastel brights (note: not a real art term) that are evocative of how bright sunlight can wash out vivid colors. Something like 98% of the book is illustrated in small sequential panels (3-6 per page), with the very occasional full-page image. The effect? A fun story told at almost breakneck pace: Manu keeps having (mis)adventures, and the next crisis is just around the corner/page. In all, Manu is a delightful middle grade fantasy about figuring out who you are and how you fit in the world, complete with magic-gone-wild and exploding mangoes (read the book to find out more!). Recommended for: fans of fantastical graphic novels for the middle grade set – anyone who liked Molly Knox Ostertag’s The Witch Boy series is sure to love Manu, and those interested in diversifying their graphic novel collection with characters of color and Caribbean settings. *Reality = Teaching at a real high school during the pandemic, no magic included.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    ARC provided by Young Adult Books Central Manu has lived at a magical school for girls that is staffed by nuns since they found her as an abandoned infant and took her in. There has always something different about her, but most of the nuns put up with her irrepressible behavior since she has very advanced magical skills, which are considered a gift from the saints. When the new school year starts, Manu is back in her usual form, creating a mango that grows and then explodes allover the school. H ARC provided by Young Adult Books Central Manu has lived at a magical school for girls that is staffed by nuns since they found her as an abandoned infant and took her in. There has always something different about her, but most of the nuns put up with her irrepressible behavior since she has very advanced magical skills, which are considered a gift from the saints. When the new school year starts, Manu is back in her usual form, creating a mango that grows and then explodes allover the school. Her best friend, Josephina, is angry that Manu has caused a mess, and wishes that the saints would take her friend's powers away. Eventually, Manu realizes that she is having problems with her powers blinking out, all because of Josephina's curse. The sisters can't help her, although they do find a work order-- a potion she needs to rub behind her ears that smells horrible! Her classmates make fun of her, so when the sisters must travel to the city to provide magical healing to ayoung boy, she begs to go. When the sisters exorcise a demon from the boy, the demon asks Manu if she is "one of them". This, combined with a book on black magic that she finds in the library, encourages Manu to try to rid herself of the curse. Of course, this rarely ends well, but aided by Mother Dolores' amulet, Manu and Josephina try to make things right, and learn a lot about Manu's background while doing so. "Academy" books are a subgenre of magical realism that has great appeal for young readers, who imagine themselves in magical schools like Hogwarts, the Magisterium, Carthak University, Bloor's Academy or Wizard's Hall. While the lessons and classes aren't described in detail, we do get a good feel for some of the kinds of magic the girls are taught. Santa Dominga Academy is the first that I can remember being described in a graphic novel. This adds a lot of visual detail to the school, so we can seethe uniforms, the lush grounds, and the nuns in their stark habits. We also get some good interpretations of goat like demons, not to mention exploding mangoes. Even though Manu is a challenging friend to have, Josephina stands by her side, apologizing early on for cursing her friend, and doing everything that she can to help her. The sisters are very involved in the students' lives, and care a lot for Manu. When we finally see the whole history of how Manu came to be at Santa Dominga, this makes a littler more sense. I am curious to see, if there is a second book, how Manu and Josephina's relationship progresses. The colors in the few pages that had them in the ARC were primarily greens, yellows, and browns, which gave a nice connection of nature, especially when it came to the setting of the school and also some of the creatures that weave in and out of the story. I'd love to see the owls in full color. Readers who want more magic in their graphic novels will enjoy this one, which is similar to Layne's Beetle and the Hollow Bones, Aldridge's Estranged, Steinkellner's The Okay Witch or Ostertag's Witch Boy or The Girl From the Sea. I don't know that I will buy this one. There have been a lot of graphic novels coming out, and this one was just okay. I liked the style of illustrations and the inclusion of Spanish phrases, but the characters and story were fairly conventional.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany

    Join the Books + Bliss Book community for reviews and GIVEAWAYS here: https://www.facebook.com/Bliss-Books-... Arc provided by Graphix. All opinions my own Based on the Dominican heritage by author Kelly Fernandez, ¡MANU! is about a school for girls and the students that live there.  Manuela or "Manu" is different than the other girls.  It’s hard for her to control her magic so often times she makes mistakes and gets the others in trouble- not never on purpose.  Manu doesn’t quite fit in with the Join the Books + Bliss Book community for reviews and GIVEAWAYS here: https://www.facebook.com/Bliss-Books-... Arc provided by Graphix. All opinions my own Based on the Dominican heritage by author Kelly Fernandez, ¡MANU! is about a school for girls and the students that live there.  Manuela or "Manu" is different than the other girls.  It’s hard for her to control her magic so often times she makes mistakes and gets the others in trouble- not never on purpose.  Manu doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of the school.  Manu doesn’t have a family outside of the school and so she bonds with her classmate Josefina. One day something very bad happens during a prank and Josefina wishes for Manu’s magic to disappear.  Manu attempts a dangerous spell to reverse the curse but eventually unleashes a Demon on her community while the rest of the school bands together to try to make things right. This graphic novel is centered towards tweens and I think they will relate to Manu's feelings of discomfort because she is clearly different from the rest of the students at the school. Sprinkled in between short chapters of Manu's trials and tribulations at La Academia Santa Dominga, there are some nods to Manu's origins. Her magic is powerful but hard to control, she is quite different from everyone else and she struggles to fit in. Without spoiling Manu's origins, it's important to note that this book is based on Dominican folklore. Once I read the afterword, I realized that I had heard of the types of stories the author mentions that inspired the story. Because this was an ARC I was only able to view one chapter in color, and it featured muted tones in brown and blue. I liked the scenes of Manu outside, as the school is surrounded by lush plants in all shades of green. It too me a bit to realize that all of the flashbacks in the novel have a back background to make them just slightly different than the school during the present. ¡MANU! has a few Spanish phrases in the book but they are fairly easy to figure out or to google a translation. Overall this was an interesting graphic novel but much too short, it felt like the plot was rushed. That being said I did appreciate the LGBTQ lean and felt that Manu's acceptance by her peers was an important aspect of the story.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    "If I don't try, people are going to get hurt! Don't we have a duty to help them, as servants of the saints?!" I've started reading just about any graphic novel that comes across my social media feed and honestly, I've been loving it. I've enjoyed branching out from the few graphic novels that were on my radar just a few years ago. Now, I find myself reading and enjoying stories that I never would have picked up had I not seen someone else share about them. Manu is the story of Manu and her best "If I don't try, people are going to get hurt! Don't we have a duty to help them, as servants of the saints?!" I've started reading just about any graphic novel that comes across my social media feed and honestly, I've been loving it. I've enjoyed branching out from the few graphic novels that were on my radar just a few years ago. Now, I find myself reading and enjoying stories that I never would have picked up had I not seen someone else share about them. Manu is the story of Manu and her best friend, Josefina, as they learn how to use their magical powers at a school for girls in Santa Dominga. Manu means well, but whenever she practices her magic, something always goes horribly wrong. We start the story with Manu having grown mangos and bringing one with her to class. Everyone is really impressed, until they realize that Manu's mango won't stop growing and it's going to explode in the classroom. Josefina wishes for Manu's powers to go away and Manu finds that is exactly what happens. As Manu and Josefina work to get Manu's magical powers back, they will find this isn't as easy as wishing for them to go away. I thought this graphic novel was really cute, especially for upper elementary and middle grade readers. I think these readers will enjoy learning about the world of Manu and Josefina and get some joy out of seeing Manu make many well-intentioned mistakes. That is something so many of us can relate to (minus the magic). I especially loved how the themes of friendship and never giving up on the ones you love were present in this story. The illustrations were fun, colorful, and entertaining. I would have gladly read another 100 pages of this story to learn more about where the magic came from and how/why these magical kids were kept separate from the other humans. This is a quick read that is perfect for fans of middle grade graphic novels.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sierra

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I feel like this book was cute. I found it sweet, and I loved how there were two Latinas as the main characters, but, I do feel that (for me, at least) there wasn't enough time spent with these characters. I wish that we had gotten to see more of the girls friendship in this book! Because while I do feel like it's there, I wish there had been more of a focus on it. I also wish we could've gotten more moments with Manu-- how does she feel, having all this power? Always getting blamed? Etc. I also I feel like this book was cute. I found it sweet, and I loved how there were two Latinas as the main characters, but, I do feel that (for me, at least) there wasn't enough time spent with these characters. I wish that we had gotten to see more of the girls friendship in this book! Because while I do feel like it's there, I wish there had been more of a focus on it. I also wish we could've gotten more moments with Manu-- how does she feel, having all this power? Always getting blamed? Etc. I also wish that the curse would've been explained more. Because while I know that it's been cast upon Manu by the saints, I don't know if it's been resolved by the end! Or, if it's something that Manu has to live with. Another thing is that the author has the two main characters becoming romantic partners at the end, which I found cute, but.. time! There was no time dedicated to their relationship! Show them realizing they're falling in love, and becoming girlfriends. I think that this book has really unique and amazing concepts, but for me, what makes it an "okay" book versus an "amazing" book is that it feels like there's not enough time. It feels like there just wasn't enough time to get to know the characters. I felt like there wasn't enough every day interactions between Manu and her friend, or.. just interactions in general? I dunno. I expected to be head over heels for this one, but I just ended up thinking it was alright. It's cute, it's sweet, but I just wish there had been more pizaaz! I wish there had been more emotional moments, and more character interactions, and things that made me attached to these characters! But for me, I felt that the book didn't have enough of these. Over all the art is cute, but the characters and story need a bit more time to be fleshed out.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    Manuela (Manu) Santos has lived for most of her life at La Academia de Santo Dominga, a school for girls who show a proclivity to harness magic. But her arrival occurred during a challenging time under some strange conditions, and for most of the nuns, she's been a thorn in their sides since then. She's playful, breaks the rules and pushes boundaries, and has become the school outcast. Her only friend is Josefina Teresa Rojas, but sometimes even she tires of Manu's exploits and pranks. Fortunate Manuela (Manu) Santos has lived for most of her life at La Academia de Santo Dominga, a school for girls who show a proclivity to harness magic. But her arrival occurred during a challenging time under some strange conditions, and for most of the nuns, she's been a thorn in their sides since then. She's playful, breaks the rules and pushes boundaries, and has become the school outcast. Her only friend is Josefina Teresa Rojas, but sometimes even she tires of Manu's exploits and pranks. Fortunately for her, she also has the support of the school's headmistress, Sister Dolores. But when her mischief causes harm to Josefina, who retaliates and causes her magic to disappear, Manu goes to great lengths to find her magical gifts again. This leads to bigger problems that Manu could ever imagine, and she learns about her true nature. It takes much love and the magic of all the nuns to set right everything she has messed up. Despite her imperfections, Manu is likeable, perhaps redeemed by the love of the two allies she has in the school. This fresh take on magic and power is further elevated by the hints of romance between Manu and Josefina, and the rich colors used in the story. It's clear that love of all sorts can conquer all, even the most frightening demons.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bruce

    Deep in the forest Mother Dolores oversees La Academia de Santa Dominga. It’s a school for young girls with a talent for magic. Using the Saints as models she and the other nuns instruct their young charges to use their magical abilities to serve the poor and the powerless, and never to give in to selfish urges. But one student, Manu, loves to have fun and play pranks on her classmates and teachers. She tries hard to conform but finds herself getting into mischief of one kind or another and must Deep in the forest Mother Dolores oversees La Academia de Santa Dominga. It’s a school for young girls with a talent for magic. Using the Saints as models she and the other nuns instruct their young charges to use their magical abilities to serve the poor and the powerless, and never to give in to selfish urges. But one student, Manu, loves to have fun and play pranks on her classmates and teachers. She tries hard to conform but finds herself getting into mischief of one kind or another and must do penance for the trouble she’s caused. Even her best friend Josefina, pleads with her to use her strong magical talent in ways that won’t cause harm and scare her fellow students and the nuns. But then the day comes where Manu’s magic fails her, and she get hurt. She fears the loss of her powers more than anything. She is desperate to get them back, even if she has to resort to black magic and convinces Josefina to help her conduct a séance. They summon a giant bat-winged goat horned demon, and foolishly Manu makes a deal. But will she be able to get out of it when she realizes how much danger she has brought upon herself and everyone around her?

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jacob Schmitt

    You wouldn’t guess this was Kelly Fernandez’s debut graphic novel. And although there are witchcraft and demons, one gets the feeling that this is a personal and intimate story written from the heart of this author/illustrator. Manu is a mischievous witch fixed for trouble. And what better place to explode mangos than a nunnery? Luckily her best friend, Josefina, doesn’t lose faith in her friend, or her overbearing powers. However, when Manu is cursed and performs a seance with a demon to get he You wouldn’t guess this was Kelly Fernandez’s debut graphic novel. And although there are witchcraft and demons, one gets the feeling that this is a personal and intimate story written from the heart of this author/illustrator. Manu is a mischievous witch fixed for trouble. And what better place to explode mangos than a nunnery? Luckily her best friend, Josefina, doesn’t lose faith in her friend, or her overbearing powers. However, when Manu is cursed and performs a seance with a demon to get her powers back, we learn a secret into Manu’s past, as well as the power of her community in delivering her from evil. Although we seem to be inundated with witches finding their true power by searching within and relying on loyal friends -i.e., ParaNorthern, The Hidden Witch, Witches of Brooklyn, etc., the setting of a nunnery in the Dominican Republic makes this story nuanced enough to be stimulating. The cultural forms add flare and are suggestive of real superstitions infused with Roman Catholic traditions.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Maeve

    Manu attends La Academia de Santa Dominga, a magical boarding school for girls, where she lives all year long with the nuns. When the school year starts, Manu tries to fit in with the rest of the students, but struggles because of her amazing magical abilities, poor social tact, and impatience. When Josephine, a close friend, accidentally curses Manu...Manu loses her powers and is distraught. Despite the warnings of nuns and Josephine, Manu makes a deal with a demon to get her powers back...whic Manu attends La Academia de Santa Dominga, a magical boarding school for girls, where she lives all year long with the nuns. When the school year starts, Manu tries to fit in with the rest of the students, but struggles because of her amazing magical abilities, poor social tact, and impatience. When Josephine, a close friend, accidentally curses Manu...Manu loses her powers and is distraught. Despite the warnings of nuns and Josephine, Manu makes a deal with a demon to get her powers back...which ends very badly. But with the help of her friends, Manu fixes her mistakes, learns about her past, and mends relationships with both nuns and students alike. Although the plot and setting was interesting (magical boarding school and a friendship / love interest), Manu's character was thoroughly irritating. It was very hard to relate to her. Recommend this to children / tweens (grades 3-6) who LOVE books about magical boarding schools and can look past the book's faults.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Manu takes place at a magical school for girls. Manu is a bit of a troublemaker, and is frequently annoying her classmates. Her only true friend is Josefina, and even then, Josefina tires of Manu's antics. While doing something that she wasn't supposed to be doing, Manu becomes cursed and loses her powers. This leads to a series of misadventures that gradually lead to some more character development for Manu. I have mixed feelings on this book. The art is fantastic, and there were elements of th Manu takes place at a magical school for girls. Manu is a bit of a troublemaker, and is frequently annoying her classmates. Her only true friend is Josefina, and even then, Josefina tires of Manu's antics. While doing something that she wasn't supposed to be doing, Manu becomes cursed and loses her powers. This leads to a series of misadventures that gradually lead to some more character development for Manu. I have mixed feelings on this book. The art is fantastic, and there were elements of the story that I really enjoyed, especially Manu's personal growth. At the story's start, Manu is incredibly selfish, but it later seems to come from a place of not being able to fit in with her peers. However, this story felt a bit rushed. I would have liked more of an insight into Manu and Josefina's friendship, and would have liked more character development for everyone else. There is still a lot to like about this despite these minor flaws.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Victoria Whipple

    Manu is excited to see all her friends as they come back to school where they learn how to use and control their magic. Manu lives there year-round, as she was a foundling as a baby and has been raised by the sisters who run the school. Manu is always getting into trouble (is this related to her mysterious past?), and her BFF Josefina is always there to help her out. Manu and Josefina are depicted with different shades of brown skin, and their teachers and classmates have a range of skin colors Manu is excited to see all her friends as they come back to school where they learn how to use and control their magic. Manu lives there year-round, as she was a foundling as a baby and has been raised by the sisters who run the school. Manu is always getting into trouble (is this related to her mysterious past?), and her BFF Josefina is always there to help her out. Manu and Josefina are depicted with different shades of brown skin, and their teachers and classmates have a range of skin colors and hair types. The relationship between Manu and Josefina is one of mutual admiration, with hints at something more than friendship. Manu is a likeable, unintentional mischief maker and readers who are prone to act without thinking through their actions will relate to her. The cartoon illustrations bring to life the school and town, filling in many details of the magic with delightful and frightening details in this world. Highly recommended gr. 4-7

  26. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    This was a really sweet middle grade graphic novel! I liked following this story of an outcast, powerful girl trying so badly to be accepted by the people around her. Although I totally understood why others saw her as…a lot…I was still rooting for her. I also won’t lie and say I’m not weak for queer stories for children. The protagonist and her best friend were super cute 🥺 Finally, I love that this story is about embracing both the good and the bad inside you. The goal is to be the best person This was a really sweet middle grade graphic novel! I liked following this story of an outcast, powerful girl trying so badly to be accepted by the people around her. Although I totally understood why others saw her as…a lot…I was still rooting for her. I also won’t lie and say I’m not weak for queer stories for children. The protagonist and her best friend were super cute 🥺 Finally, I love that this story is about embracing both the good and the bad inside you. The goal is to be the best person you can be but with an acknowledgment that we’re all imperfect. It was lovely. P.S. It must be said that the artwork was super cute!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    I really enjoyed this middle grade graphic novel about magic, friendship, and finding out who you are. I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) and so I got to see a few pages in color but most is in black and white. From what I could see, I really liked the color palette as well as the art. The story is fun and interesting. The characters are flawed which makes it more realistic. Great for fans of the Witch Boy trilogy and Witches of Brooklyn.

  28. 5 out of 5

    S

    Manuela Santo is a young witch studying in La Academia de Santa Dominga. After she loses her powers, she tries to get them by back quickly herself. However, she realises that everything comes at a price. It follows a steady plot, full of surprises. It teaches the readers that half baked knowledge can be dangerous. Due to similar plot lines, I would recommend this to the readers who loved Witch Boy Trilogy.

  29. 5 out of 5

    D.T. Henderson

    I adored the relationship between Mother Dolores and Manu; so unconditionally loving! Manu herself was very rambunctious, and it seemed she never learned. But some of that is to be expected because she's just a kid. There was a strong theme of Catholicism and witchcraft that I’ve never seen before, and it is a bit uncomfortable but reminiscent of the author’s life and culture. Also, loved the bits of Spanish infused here. I adored the relationship between Mother Dolores and Manu; so unconditionally loving! Manu herself was very rambunctious, and it seemed she never learned. But some of that is to be expected because she's just a kid. There was a strong theme of Catholicism and witchcraft that I’ve never seen before, and it is a bit uncomfortable but reminiscent of the author’s life and culture. Also, loved the bits of Spanish infused here.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    This graphic novel tells the story of Manu and her best friend Josefina who attend a boarding school in the Dominican Republic to learn how to use their magic for good. Manu’s magic backfires and after she hurts people, Josefina wishes Manu’s magic away. Manu turns to black magic to restore her power and things take a turn for the worse. Will Manu turn to the dark side or learn to harness her power for good?

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