Mini Reviews: Light Reads

So sometimes I do read lighthearted books!

After last week’s reviews of heavy books, here are some lighthearted ones for a joyful break.

Book cover for Once Upon an Eid. Illustration of two multi-storey buildings beside each other. In each window are people celebrating, hanging decorations, and calling to each other, some wearing turbans and hijabs.

Once Upon an Eid edited by S. K. Ali and Aisha Saeed
Genre: MG Short Stories

Once Upon an Eid is a collection of short stories that showcases the most brilliant Muslim voices writing today, all about the most joyful holiday of the year: Eid!

This was truly the most joyful short story collection! There are some sadder stories (CWs for parent loss, bullying) but it would make a great collection for young readers, those who celebrate Eid and those with no knowledge of it.

I’ve learned more about Eid in the last couple years but there’s still a lot I don’t know and even though this book is intended for middle grade readers, it taught me so much about the holiday. And reading it right before Eid al-Fitr was so special! I noticed the growing moon each night and could now recognize the significance of it to those celebrating.

Book cover for Check, Please! Book 2. Illustration of a blond man wearing a hockey uniform being carried by a brunette man. The blond man holds a plate of pie up in the air and is crowded by other hockey players.

Check, Please! Book 2: Sticks & Scones by Ngozi Ukazu
Genre: LGBTQ+ Graphic Novel

Dating a professional hockey player wasn’t anything I expected to do in college. My parents don’t know; my teammates have no clue…
And Jack and I aren’t sure that we want to keep it a secret.

The last of these heartwarming comics! I somewhat followed Check, Please! when it was first on Tumblr but was so pleased to see it published in book form because, personally, I find it much easier to follow along. This second book follows Bitty in his last years at college as he and Jack navigate their new relationship and wonder whether to share the news openly. And of course, there’s still lots of baking.

It’s a cute story though some CWs for fear/shame around coming out and homophobic comments. I found it a little difficult to keep track of all the names, especially since I read the previous book a number of years ago, and it was a bit tropey but it does provide an enjoyable ending for all these characters we’ve come to love.

Book cover for Ghost Squad by Claribel Ortega. Illustrations of two brown-skinned girls riding bikes, one with a large white cat in their bike basket. They ride under columns that is surrounded by many ghosts.

Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega
Genre: MG Fantasy

For Lucely Luna, ghosts are more than just the family business. Shortly before Halloween, Lucely and her best friend, Syd, cast a spell that accidentally awakens malicious spirits, wreaking havoc throughout St. Augustine.

I love The Goonies and anything that makes use of this source material is going to get points from me. Ortega seems to be a fan as well and along with specific references to the movie in her book, she also matches the tone and sense of adventure quite well. It’s truly like The Goonies but with witches and ghosts!

The characters’ relationships with each other are so playful and loving, it’s such an enjoyable cast! And the grandma is so cool. I initially thought the ending would be wrapped up neatly but I loved how Ortega stretched it out and added more complicated twists. Truly a wonderful ending!

What are your favourite lighthearted reads?

Cover images and blurbs from Goodreads.

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