Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2025) Featured Review: Cooking with Monsters: The Beginner’s Guide to Culinary Combat by Jordan Alsaqa and Vivian Truong

  • Cooking with Monsters: The Beginner’s Guide to Culinary Combat
  • by Jordan Alsaqa and Vivian Truong
  • IDW Publishing
  • Publication Date: September 5, 2023
  • ISBN-13: 9781684059836

Cooking with Monsters takes place in a world filled with food-based monsters. Hana Ozawa and her friends are first year students at the Gourmand Academy of Culinary Combat, training to become warrior chefs. Hana faces self-doubt as her rival and love interest, Olivia, seems to be a step ahead of her, and she feels her mentor Chef Graham isn’t teaching her enough to succeed. But with the support of her friends, as well as her desire to be like the warrior chef who saved her as a child, Hana is determined to get through this first year.

Alsaqa incorporates action, adventure, and romance to provide a fast-paced and fun read. The colorful palette and anime-style art complement the action-packed storyline. Truong’s art style, mixed with Alsaqa’s descriptions, emphasizes the flavor and spices of the food. A well-developed and diverse set of characters will appeal to a wide range of readers.

Fans of Delicious in Dungeon will enjoy Alsaqa’s monster fighting and cooking graphic novel with a similar style of humor. This is also a perfect book for fans who like action-packed storylines and colorful illustrations such as The Witch’s Throne. If you are a foodie fan of such books as Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma then you will enjoy the food displayed in this book. If you are a fan of My Hero Academia then you may enjoy Cooking With Monsters as they share similar heroes’ journeys.

-Kyler Wesner

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: December 12, 2023
Release Date: February 13, 2024

Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2023) Featured Review of City of Dragons: The Awakening Storm by Jaimal Yogis and Vivian Truong

City of Dragons: The Awakening Storm by Jaimal Yogis and Vivian Truong
Graphix / Scholastic
Publication Date: September 21, 2021
ISBN-13: 9781338660432

Ancient dragons plus scrappy, resourceful, empathetic kids are two great tastes that taste great together in City of Dragons: The Awakening Storm. The story introduces the reader to Grace, a grieving young girl who has just moved to Hong Kong with her mother and new stepfather for a fresh start. Exploring her new city on a school field trip places Grace in the path of a mysterious old woman who gifts her with a dragon’s egg. Grace, along with some newfound friends, suddenly find themselves on a race to discover the origins of this dragon and its connection to Grace, while also protecting it and themselves from strange and sinister forces that seem to be following them. 

Continue reading Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2023) Featured Review of City of Dragons: The Awakening Storm by Jaimal Yogis and Vivian Truong

Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2023) Featured Review of The High Desert: Black. Punk. Nowhere by James Spooner

The High Desert: Black. Punk. Nowhere by James Spooner
Mariner Books / HarperCollins
Publication Date: May 17, 2022
ISBN-13: 9780358659112

“Punk rock is Black music.”


James Spooner’s coming-of-age graphic memoir shows him navigating life as a biracial teen in 1990’s rural California. Here he grapples with figuring out who he is, not who people — his clueless white mother, his absent Black father, and his mostly prejudiced classmates, teachers, and community members — think he should be. Finding punk music and other Black punks helps him get closer to his true self. Set against a backdrop of an isolated desert community, The High Desert shows a Black teen wrestling with identity, racism, young love, and finding your voice through an alternative community.

Continue reading Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2023) Featured Review of The High Desert: Black. Punk. Nowhere by James Spooner