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My Own World

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Mike Holmes, the artist behind the hit series Secret Coders and Wings of Fire, delivers his solo debut: My Own World, a middle grade memoir-inflected fantasy graphic novel. Life is difficult for nine-year-old Nathan. All he dreams of is hanging out with his older brother, watching Raiders of the Lost Ark, and enjoying summer vacation far away from the neighborhood bullies. Mike Holmes, the artist behind the hit series Secret Coders and Wings of Fire, delivers his solo debut: My Own World, a middle grade memoir-inflected fantasy graphic novel. Life is difficult for nine-year-old Nathan. All he dreams of is hanging out with his older brother, watching Raiders of the Lost Ark, and enjoying summer vacation far away from the neighborhood bullies. When he overhears his parents talking about a family crisis, he seeks sanctuary from his troubles. In an abandoned lighthouse, Nathan discovers a portal to a berry-colored world where time has little meaning and he, finally, is in control. There, his imagination takes him on wondrous adventures, across seas and through the air, with new extraordinary friends of his own creation. In his magical hideaway, Nathan is safe from the anxieties of his life—but can he bring himself to face the real world?


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Mike Holmes, the artist behind the hit series Secret Coders and Wings of Fire, delivers his solo debut: My Own World, a middle grade memoir-inflected fantasy graphic novel. Life is difficult for nine-year-old Nathan. All he dreams of is hanging out with his older brother, watching Raiders of the Lost Ark, and enjoying summer vacation far away from the neighborhood bullies. Mike Holmes, the artist behind the hit series Secret Coders and Wings of Fire, delivers his solo debut: My Own World, a middle grade memoir-inflected fantasy graphic novel. Life is difficult for nine-year-old Nathan. All he dreams of is hanging out with his older brother, watching Raiders of the Lost Ark, and enjoying summer vacation far away from the neighborhood bullies. When he overhears his parents talking about a family crisis, he seeks sanctuary from his troubles. In an abandoned lighthouse, Nathan discovers a portal to a berry-colored world where time has little meaning and he, finally, is in control. There, his imagination takes him on wondrous adventures, across seas and through the air, with new extraordinary friends of his own creation. In his magical hideaway, Nathan is safe from the anxieties of his life—but can he bring himself to face the real world?

30 review for My Own World

  1. 5 out of 5

    Cathy Johnson

    A beautiful exploration of childhood grief, highly recommend!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Keisha | A Book Like You

    I received a copy of this book from the publisher as part of a Goodreads giveaway. Unfortunately, this fell extremely flat for me. It was very confusing at times, disjointed, and just didn’t really flow well overall. I’ve seen much better explorations of grief. I just wasn’t really impressed with this one.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Etienne

    There isn't a lot of think I hate in comic book more than a cover that didn't reflect the actual art inside. The art on the cover is stunning, the art inside isn't, way more sketchy and looking «older» than the polish and very modern cover art. That being said, the story was a bit mehhh, easy, not really original and I never connect with the character. the review so far seem good, so maybe I'm the problem but I didn't like it! There isn't a lot of think I hate in comic book more than a cover that didn't reflect the actual art inside. The art on the cover is stunning, the art inside isn't, way more sketchy and looking «older» than the polish and very modern cover art. That being said, the story was a bit mehhh, easy, not really original and I never connect with the character. the review so far seem good, so maybe I'm the problem but I didn't like it!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Holmes

    Mike Holmes is my son, so I’m prejudiced. He’s been drawing since he was a little kid, and has always had a wonderful imagination. His reaches into your imagination - you know, the one you used to have - and challenges your vulnerability. And if you’re one of those people who as a child had an inner life you kept hidden, Mike’s story will touch you. It’s not meant for the cynical, unless your cynicism has a lovely crack in it. And he leaves space for your story to come alongside.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for an Advanced Reader Copy. The gist of the story, for me, was that a boy desperately needed an escape, so he created one.. That is a good message. Sometimes life is so rough that we need to create safe spaces for ourselves. Places to dream and to create and to find love and connection... even if those places are imaginary. I appreciated the premise of this story, but didn't always follow it. Maybe I'm too literal. I was confused if this fantastical place Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for an Advanced Reader Copy. The gist of the story, for me, was that a boy desperately needed an escape, so he created one.. That is a good message. Sometimes life is so rough that we need to create safe spaces for ourselves. Places to dream and to create and to find love and connection... even if those places are imaginary. I appreciated the premise of this story, but didn't always follow it. Maybe I'm too literal. I was confused if this fantastical place really existed or just existed in the boy's imagination. It seems to be rooted in a physical place in the story, but was it all a figment? What was the sugar correlation? Did he conjure this world on a sugar high? Was sugar just part of the pleasure and the escape? I'd like to read this with students to see what they glean from the story.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Becky B

    Nathan feels like a loner this summer. His older brother, Ben, who used to be his best friend seems to be leaving him behind for his teen friends. His older sister totally ignores him. The neighbor kid only likes him for the quarters he can provide, and then his parents seem distracted with something going on with Ben. One day Nathan stumbles across a portal to a world that is all his own. He can create awesome stuff there, including the perfect friends. He has a blast. But is it too good to las Nathan feels like a loner this summer. His older brother, Ben, who used to be his best friend seems to be leaving him behind for his teen friends. His older sister totally ignores him. The neighbor kid only likes him for the quarters he can provide, and then his parents seem distracted with something going on with Ben. One day Nathan stumbles across a portal to a world that is all his own. He can create awesome stuff there, including the perfect friends. He has a blast. But is it too good to last? This is part fantasy portal world for a lonely kid and part exploration of how siblings deal with one of them being seriously sick. I came away from this wanting a little bit more. It felt like you barely started to figure out what was going on and then it was over. I guess that’s better than including too much and getting bored. Nathan’s fantasy world is fun, and readers can debate as to whether or not it is real or in his head. I can see this really resonating with kids who feel lonely (and if you talk to many middle school kids, that pretty much is all of them at some point). Notes on content [based on the ARC]: Two minor swears, some profanity, and scribbles used to represent what you can tell is supposed to be worse swearing (though not clear enough to know which words). No sexual content. There are some bullies in the neighborhood and a very angry father who is out of control. No one is seriously hurt, but definitely traumatized. There is one death (view spoiler)[Nathan’s brother Ben dies of an undisclosed disease, but based on hair loss probably cancer (hide spoiler)] . I received an ARC of this title from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jenn Marshall

    My Own World is a story about a boy who overhears his parents talking about a family crisis. He can't deal with it at the moment so he runs off to find peace and ends up finding a portal to another world. I could not find information about the creative team in the review copy. It does state by Mike Holmes, which oftentimes means he was the writer, artist, letterer, and colorer. In the beginning of the book the colors were very flat. I loved this effect. This is the story of a kid who things that My Own World is a story about a boy who overhears his parents talking about a family crisis. He can't deal with it at the moment so he runs off to find peace and ends up finding a portal to another world. I could not find information about the creative team in the review copy. It does state by Mike Holmes, which oftentimes means he was the writer, artist, letterer, and colorer. In the beginning of the book the colors were very flat. I loved this effect. This is the story of a kid who things that things are as bad as they get. He's running from bullies, getting in trouble, and stuck waiting for big brother. The effect of muted tones and a more dull finish really sets the mood. Then the color shift from our world to the magical world. WOW. The colors are glowing. Everything is coming alive on the page. It was breathtaking. The story fit with this so well. Once I started My Own World I couldn't put it down. You get so sucked up in the magical world that you forget that Nathan has problems waiting for him in the real world. I was surprised. I loved every minute of this book. I have already asked my local shop to order copies for myself, my classroom, and to carry in the shop. I can't wait to see this book when it isn't on my phone screen!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kristen Shaw

    This is a poignant and affecting story about a nine-year-old boy named Nathan who is dealing with bullying, loneliness, and a changing relationship with his older brother. Nathan stumbles upon a deserted lighthouse and enters into a fantasy world of his own making where he can create the friends he needs and wants. I really enjoyed this and its subtle approach to dealing with issues of change and growing up. It captures that feeling of being out of place in the world very well. The ending was the This is a poignant and affecting story about a nine-year-old boy named Nathan who is dealing with bullying, loneliness, and a changing relationship with his older brother. Nathan stumbles upon a deserted lighthouse and enters into a fantasy world of his own making where he can create the friends he needs and wants. I really enjoyed this and its subtle approach to dealing with issues of change and growing up. It captures that feeling of being out of place in the world very well. The ending was the most effective part for me, as it brings Nathan's story full circle and shows that there is hope and potential for growth despite loss. At first I wasn't a huge fan of the art, but my feelings shifted when I got to the fantasy parts. The the colours of the "real" world (kind of drab) contrast sharply with the colours of the fantasy world, emphasizing the themes of the story and reflecting Nathan's inner emotional landscape. Overall, this is a very effective and moving story that readers of all ages will be able to connect with. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cay

    Thank you to Net Galley and First Second for a free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. My Own World was an emotional journey that blended reality and fantasy to portray feelings of isolation and otherness that many kids go through as they grow up. Nathan feels like an afterthought both in and outside of his home, so when he finds a portal that transports him to a world where he's in control, it's like he's finallly able to breath for the first time in a long while. But Nathan can't e Thank you to Net Galley and First Second for a free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. My Own World was an emotional journey that blended reality and fantasy to portray feelings of isolation and otherness that many kids go through as they grow up. Nathan feels like an afterthought both in and outside of his home, so when he finds a portal that transports him to a world where he's in control, it's like he's finallly able to breath for the first time in a long while. But Nathan can't escape forever, and soon, he's forced to face problems that are much closer to home than he ever imagined. At times I found it difficult to keep track of characters, and the lettering also contributed to this. (Although the lettering was clear for the most part, there was a lot of text in some places, and some world balloon positioning made it difficult to parse through the text.) But My Own World handled grief in a way that's accessible to young readers without being preachy, and I think it would be a valuable addition to a growing book collection.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Beth Bennett

    I received an advanced copy of this from NetGalley. This graphic novel introduces us to 9 year old Nathan. He is struggling in real life, being bullied, wanting to be with his brother but his brother has his own things going on. Nathan discovers a deserted lighthouse and enters a safe dreamworld when time seems to last forever. He creates his own creatures and landscapes. He is finally in control. But then reality kicks in. No spoilers so I won’t go on. The use of colour is really effective. There I received an advanced copy of this from NetGalley. This graphic novel introduces us to 9 year old Nathan. He is struggling in real life, being bullied, wanting to be with his brother but his brother has his own things going on. Nathan discovers a deserted lighthouse and enters a safe dreamworld when time seems to last forever. He creates his own creatures and landscapes. He is finally in control. But then reality kicks in. No spoilers so I won’t go on. The use of colour is really effective. There is a dramatic difference between the yellows and greens of Nathan’s real life and the reds of his dreamworld. There is also a playful use of panels. Some pages follow convention but others use the whole page and insert long thin panels to tell a part of the story within the background image. There are also a few plain black panels, placed for high impact. I was totally immersed in this story and it hit the emotional scale. Always the sign of a good story, well told.

  11. 5 out of 5

    adi

    Thank you Net Galley and First Second for a free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review! This book was not what I think it would be when I requested it. I thought it would be a heavy scifi graphic novel with lots of action but it was mostly a book about a teenager trying to deal with life. The art is okay, some pages in the boy's safe place are interesting but otherwise I didn't really like it much. The story is a bit confusing, as a reader you know from the beginning that the protagonist i Thank you Net Galley and First Second for a free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review! This book was not what I think it would be when I requested it. I thought it would be a heavy scifi graphic novel with lots of action but it was mostly a book about a teenager trying to deal with life. The art is okay, some pages in the boy's safe place are interesting but otherwise I didn't really like it much. The story is a bit confusing, as a reader you know from the beginning that the protagonist isn't fine, that his family is hiding something from him but you only end up knowing the truth at the end of the story. The moments in the safe place were interesting but confusing too: is the protagonist dreaming? Imagining something? Really living in a fantasy-like safe place? This book wasn't my cup of tea I guess but I like the mental health themes it had, as a reader you do care (even just a bit) about the protagonist!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

    I received a digital ARC through NetGalley from First Second. In this middle grade graphic novel, 9-year-old Nathan is dealing with bullying, finding his place in a big family, and missing his busy brother who used to be his best friend. Nathan discovers a fantasy place that he can build to his own needs and he never loses time. Nathan is making his own friends in this world, but he is hiding from his real world problems. While the illustrations were quite evocative of the moods Nathan was feelin I received a digital ARC through NetGalley from First Second. In this middle grade graphic novel, 9-year-old Nathan is dealing with bullying, finding his place in a big family, and missing his busy brother who used to be his best friend. Nathan discovers a fantasy place that he can build to his own needs and he never loses time. Nathan is making his own friends in this world, but he is hiding from his real world problems. While the illustrations were quite evocative of the moods Nathan was feeling, there was more art than story. Pages after pages with little text, that left me wanting a bit more substance. There is a lot of drama within the pages and sadness with Nathan’s brother having cancer, but I’m not sure tweens would grasp the nuance in the ending.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ʈʜэ MɐÐɲΣ§Ꭶ ᏊརƭᏲƗϞ

    I received this book as part of a giveaway. As soon as I got it in the mail I began reading it. It’s a very quick read as it’s a graphic novel but worth every page. This book tugs at the heart strings and gives a beautifully illustrated look at the inner workings of grief through childhood and beyond. The main character experiences emotions anyone who has ever been through true hardships can relate to and offers an escape we all long for in those times. This book feels very closely to A Monster C I received this book as part of a giveaway. As soon as I got it in the mail I began reading it. It’s a very quick read as it’s a graphic novel but worth every page. This book tugs at the heart strings and gives a beautifully illustrated look at the inner workings of grief through childhood and beyond. The main character experiences emotions anyone who has ever been through true hardships can relate to and offers an escape we all long for in those times. This book feels very closely to A Monster Calls and I recommend to anyone who loved that book as well. This book doesn’t offer the happiest of endings but ends in a tragically beautiful way that leaves you misty eyed but content with what’s left. This book would be great for reading level and up.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Zainab Shalaby

    The book definitely surprised me. Going in, I expected to like the story. Halfway through, I felt like it wasn't particularly what I was hoping for. But things go way better from there. What bugged me at first was the color palette. It wasn't exactly easy on my eyes. But as the story progressed, I understood that it was chosen to convey a certain feeling, an atmosphere of sorts. I am new to graphic novels, so that's probably why. All in all, I loved it. It was emotional, relatable, and endearing. The book definitely surprised me. Going in, I expected to like the story. Halfway through, I felt like it wasn't particularly what I was hoping for. But things go way better from there. What bugged me at first was the color palette. It wasn't exactly easy on my eyes. But as the story progressed, I understood that it was chosen to convey a certain feeling, an atmosphere of sorts. I am new to graphic novels, so that's probably why. All in all, I loved it. It was emotional, relatable, and endearing. At times, I was worried and sad. If you are looking for a quick, touching, middle-grade graphic novel, then this is it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

    Super depressing story! A kid with a sick brother and bullies that go beyond just sucky to a real physical danger (not a lot a 9 year old can do against multiple teen assailants threatening them but run and hide). If the story doesn’t sound too traumatic to you it is is an interesting look at a boy trying to deal with his brother’s illness and his isolation. I think a lot of readers might find it pretty dark but maybe it would be a starting point for a parent to talk about feelings with a kid wh Super depressing story! A kid with a sick brother and bullies that go beyond just sucky to a real physical danger (not a lot a 9 year old can do against multiple teen assailants threatening them but run and hide). If the story doesn’t sound too traumatic to you it is is an interesting look at a boy trying to deal with his brother’s illness and his isolation. I think a lot of readers might find it pretty dark but maybe it would be a starting point for a parent to talk about feelings with a kid who has lost someone close to them.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Destiny

    I’m not sure what to make of this one. A child runs away into an imaginary world to avoid his brother’s distance and his own loneliness. I was waiting for there to be some type of catch with the world when Nathan kept falling asleep there, but it never happens. This really felt memoir-ish with some magical realism elements. With the artwork, the coloring outside the imaginary world is so dingy like greenish water from a community pool, and, although, the characters are very expressive sometimes t I’m not sure what to make of this one. A child runs away into an imaginary world to avoid his brother’s distance and his own loneliness. I was waiting for there to be some type of catch with the world when Nathan kept falling asleep there, but it never happens. This really felt memoir-ish with some magical realism elements. With the artwork, the coloring outside the imaginary world is so dingy like greenish water from a community pool, and, although, the characters are very expressive sometimes they appear ugly in this style. 2.5

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Nathan has a lot he is dealing with and escaping into a new found world provides the comfort he needs. This was heartwarming and heartbreaking all at the same time. Those that have a sibling who is going through an illness will be able to find comfort in this and Nathan's struggle. A sad, but comforting graphic novel that really provides reflection moments. Note: I received a digital review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley Nathan has a lot he is dealing with and escaping into a new found world provides the comfort he needs. This was heartwarming and heartbreaking all at the same time. Those that have a sibling who is going through an illness will be able to find comfort in this and Nathan's struggle. A sad, but comforting graphic novel that really provides reflection moments. Note: I received a digital review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley

  18. 5 out of 5

    Meredith Ann

    ARC courtesy of NetGalley. A striking middle grade graphic novel about escapism and loneliness. The story really shines and touches you in the pages with no dialogue, only images. You can grow up, move on, become the person you're meant to be but you'll always have a spot for the worlds you create in your youth. ARC courtesy of NetGalley. A striking middle grade graphic novel about escapism and loneliness. The story really shines and touches you in the pages with no dialogue, only images. You can grow up, move on, become the person you're meant to be but you'll always have a spot for the worlds you create in your youth.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Madara

    3,2/5 Quality of writing: 4 Plot development: 3 Pace: 3 Characters: 3 Enjoyability: 3 Ease of reading: 3 This... was not for me. The art didn't impress me, the story was a bit confusing, characters just seemed... flat. Review copy provided by the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 3,2/5 Quality of writing: 4 Plot development: 3 Pace: 3 Characters: 3 Enjoyability: 3 Ease of reading: 3 This... was not for me. The art didn't impress me, the story was a bit confusing, characters just seemed... flat. Review copy provided by the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Juan Manuel Sarmiento

    An interesting comic about introvertism, escapism and loneliness, but the art didn't work out for me and neither the overall pace. Although 'My Own World' provides the tools for a child to imagine their own safe places so they can explore it and evade the problems from their actual world and take a break from life when things are getting out of control. An interesting comic about introvertism, escapism and loneliness, but the art didn't work out for me and neither the overall pace. Although 'My Own World' provides the tools for a child to imagine their own safe places so they can explore it and evade the problems from their actual world and take a break from life when things are getting out of control.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Powerfully relatable. Holmes is able to vividly convey emotions with a soft, subtle touch, those of a lonely nine-year-old boy. I feel the book is most effective when Nathan is interacting with the real world and the story spends too much time in his fantasy escape. Aside from that, it's poignant and fully enjoyable. Powerfully relatable. Holmes is able to vividly convey emotions with a soft, subtle touch, those of a lonely nine-year-old boy. I feel the book is most effective when Nathan is interacting with the real world and the story spends too much time in his fantasy escape. Aside from that, it's poignant and fully enjoyable.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Patti Sabik

    Sentimental, surreal, heartbreaking, unique, uncomfortable, and, interesting are all words I think of to describe my experience reading this book and getting lost in the images. This was a difficult memoir of loss and escapism and acceptance, along with a bit of coming-of-age in a way.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Elia

    A sweet, sad story about being a lonely kid, imagination, family, and the fact that even though we physically all HAVE to grow up, we can always keep a little bit of our youth close to our hearts, and even though people come and go from our lives, they are never really completely gone.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Amanda M (The Curly Reader)

    An exploration of grief and loneliness. The concept was good I just felt like the story arc was a little disjointed. There is a specific place in the book that there is a time jump that doesn't make a lot of sense. I thought the other "world" in graphic novel form was fun and I loved the ending. An exploration of grief and loneliness. The concept was good I just felt like the story arc was a little disjointed. There is a specific place in the book that there is a time jump that doesn't make a lot of sense. I thought the other "world" in graphic novel form was fun and I loved the ending.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Bengali Girl

    I really enjoyed the plot of the story and how it ended. The inner workings of the mind of a child trying to make sense of a tragic situation was nicely portrayed. Thank you Netgalley and First Second Books for giving me the opportunity to read this.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Twilight Gilles

    The art syle in this graphic novel reminds me of some of my fave non-Disney movies from the 1990s. The bolded words are distracting but the dialogue and text work well otherwise with the art and plt. I appreciate the power of play and imagination and dreams throughout the story. 3.5 stars.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Andréa

    Note: I received a digital review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    ARC courtesy of Netgalley and First Second

  29. 5 out of 5

    Amanda [Novel Addiction]

    Well this was depressing. Good, but depressing.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Mossing

    suggested for kids dealing with grief and family illness

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