Mini Reviews: Recent Reads, part II // Mean Girls in Shakespearean, tea dragons, and boy next door


William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Mean Girls

by Ian Doescher

e-ARC, 176 pages

Published April 23rd 2019 by Quirk Books


Power struggles. Bitter rivalries. Jealousy. Betrayals. Star-crossed lovers. When you consider all these plot points, it’s pretty surprising William Shakespeare didn’t write Mean Girls. But now fans can treat themselves to the epic drama–and heroic hilarity–of the classic teen comedy rendered with the wit, flair, and iambic pentameter of the Bard. Our heroine Cady disguises herself to infiltrate the conniving Plastics, falls for off-limits Aaron, struggles with her allegiance to newfound friends Damian and Janis, and stirs up age-old vendettas among the factions of her high school. Best-selling author Ian Doescher brings his signature Shakespearean wordsmithing to this cult classic beloved by generations of teen girls and other fans. Now, on the 15th anniversary of its release, Mean Girls is a recognized cultural phenomenon, and it’s more than ready for an Elizabethan makeover.

I received an e-ARC of this book through Netgalley

After reading his Shakespeare’s reimagining of Star Wars: A New Hope, I’ve been meaning to read the rest of his Star Wars series. I’ve always didn’t get the hype for Star Wars, but reading them speaking in Shakespearean makes me want to give them another try- which is why I ended up watching Rogue One and fell in love with the series. I didn’t get to read other books in the series (yet), but I got the chance to read this Mean Girls reimagining and it did not disappoint!

—Nay, Gretchen, “fetch” shall never catch,
Stop hosting an event on one attends.

I think reading Shakespeare can be such a hassle because as an ESL, the language is so different from the english I’m used too and it’s hard to reconcile them. But these modern reimagination the author have written did not suffer from the same problem. In fact, I think the language and play-format of writing really adds to the sass and hilarity! Especially with Mean Girls, it’s really funny to see those iconic quotes written in bard’s writing style. Not only the dialogue, Doescher also does an amazing job in translating the setting into plays. From the exit (exeunt???) and entry of the characters, the setting, and even the iconic Jingle Bell rock- everything were written really well!

Jokes from the movies aside, as someone who has 0 knowledge on Shakespeare, I feel like some of the jokes relating to word-play or his writing style are lost on me. But even without understanding them, I still find this book enjoyable and hilarious enough. In addition to that, the author’s note at the end of the book gives us an insight on his writing process– which play the story and characters are based on, and why he chose Mean Girls specifically.

Overall, this book is a really quick and fun retelling of an iconic story! It manages to capture the essence of the original story in a familiar way, but still manages to make it as if it’s an original work. I can’t wait to read more retellings in this format by the author!

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The Tea Dragon Society

by Katie O’Neill

Webcomic, 45 pages


From the award-winning author of Princess Princess Ever After comes The Tea Dragon Society, a charming all-ages book that follows the story of Greta, a blacksmith apprentice, and the people she meets as she becomes entwined in the enchanting world of tea dragons.

After discovering a lost tea dragon in the marketplace, Greta learns about the dying art form of tea dragon care-taking from the kind tea shop owners, Hesekiel and Erik. As she befriends them and their shy ward, Minette, Greta sees how the craft enriches their lives—and eventually her own.

One of the biggest and best surprise of 2019, I love this story so much 😭❤

Not that much of a surprise actually, I know this graphic novel is very well-loved by many people from across reading preferences. I’m still floored by how much I love this though!

The obvious one is I love the art style. The drawing and the color palette are just so soft and calming (◕‿◕✿). The story is also precious, about found family and self discovery and getting out of your comfort zone. Everything is just so Soft™ and peaceful and magical, it’s soooo calming and something I’d associate with happiness. I wish the plot is a bit more developed but then again, I also love it just how it is now.

Furthermore, it has well-developed, diverse cast of characters! And I love that it’s not made as if it’s a big deal??? Like it is what it is, there is no overly long description on the appearance or the why… the story just progresses naturally. Rather than focusing on the differences between the characters, the author managed to give us the backstory of them and show us the thing that unite them, which are the tea dragons, and I love that!

So as you can see, it’s just perfect and I can’t wait for the second volume! 💖

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On the Fence

by Kasie West

ebook, 184 pages

Published 2014 by HarperCollins


For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, being raised by a single dad and three older brothers has its perks.

She can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows — including her longtime neighbor and honorary fourth brother, Braden. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn’t know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world of makeup, lacy skirts, and BeDazzlers. Even stranger, she’s spending time with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup game.

To cope with the stress of faking her way through this new reality, Charlie seeks late-night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with Braden by the fence that separates them. But their Fence Chats can’t solve Charlie’s biggest problem: she’s falling for Braden. Hard. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.

Finally, a light and fun contemporary! I’ve been reading so many dark books I don’t even know whether it’s summer or not anymore 😒

I always want to have an older brother so reading from Charlie’s head is really fun for me! I love the relationship between her and her brothers– they might be different (duh) but they are super close. They include her in all their activities instead of shutting her out of their world and we can also see how close Charlie is with her brother. Sure, it come with a pressure of her being afraid of trying “girly” things, but it also means she got a lot of support system.

I think the romance and friendship are super adorable! Okay, Charlie can take the whole “I’m not like other girls” mindset to the extreme, but she didn’t exactly look down on other girls because she thinks they are less than her. I think it stems more from her insecurities and seeing how the brothers view girls. So when Amber and Linda came in, her reluctance was more because of her brothers’ opinions, but once she settle in, she did enjoy it. I love her friendship with Amber and Skye- both are really different and highlight the different parts of Charlie! I also love Linda- their interactions might be limited on the paper, but I feel like they actually have more fondness towards each other than what they let on.

And yes, I do said that I find the romance to be adorable, but I also find that I root for them more as best friends. I’m fine with both to be honest, so wherever they’ll end up it’s a win-win situation for me ahaha. But I hate the way Braden behaves toward Evan. I think Evan is a nice guy all around and doesn’t deserve what Braden did.

My only criticism is that the book deals with a certain heavy topic that was foreshadowed throughout the book. But it wasn’t really dealt until the very end of the story. While it didn’t play a huge part with the present conflict, it plays a huge part in forming who Charlie is and her family dynamics. I felt like it was dealt inappropriately, as in it was rushed and it’s like an afterthought to make the story have some “extra”weight and twist.

Nevertheless, this book is exactly what I need: it was fun, fast-paced, cute, but also doesn’t shy away from heavy topic. I just wish it was dealt properly instead of being rushed/treated as an afterthought at the end of the book. I’ve been hearing great things about Kasie West’s books, I’m so glad I gave it a chance and it certainly won’t be my last one!


13 thoughts on “Mini Reviews: Recent Reads, part II // Mean Girls in Shakespearean, tea dragons, and boy next door

  1. Lovely reviews, Tasya! On the Fence is one of my favorite YA romances. Although, you are right, Charlie’s relationships with the brothers was definitely the best part of the story. The other two books sound like fun! I’ve been meaning to read more graphic novels, so maybe I’ll check out The Tea Dragon Society (the art is adorable 😍).


  2. Wonderful reviews! ❤ The Tea Dragon Society sounds so, SO good, I rarely ever read webcomics but this one sounds like a must and I adore that cover. I'm so happy you loved it so much! ❤


  3. Much Ado About Mean Girls sounds SO hilarious. What a fun idea. Although, I admit I don’t really like actual Shakespeare… And now I REALLY want to check out The Tea Dragon Society. It looks so cute.


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