Bounce Back by Misako Rocks! is a fun middle grade graphic novel, perfect for fans of anime – especially Sailor Moon! While it’s (almost) realistic fiction, there are some fun callbacks and Easter eggs that I really enjoyed.

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The summary, from Amazon:

Lilico, with the help of her cat, must learn to adjust to a new country, a new school, and new pressures in this middle grade graphic novel from author/illustrator Misako Rocks! about finding your team and finding yourself.

Lilico’s life in Japan is going well. She has great friends and is the captain of the school’s basketball team. She’s happy!

Then comes her parents’ news: they’re moving to America! Before she knows it, Lilico finds herself in Brooklyn, New York, forced to start all over. And that won’t be easy with her closest friends thousands of miles away or a school bully who immediately dislikes her.

Luckily, anime-loving Nala and Henry eventually befriend Lilico and with help from them―along with her guardian spirit who looks a lot like her cat, Nico―Lilico just might figure out where she fits in.

From author/illustrator Misako Rocks! comes a story about friendship, new beginnings, and doing what you love, no matter what.

Buy Bounce Back here.

Lilico and her family move from Japan to Brooklyn, and while she doesn’t fit in at first, she quickly makes friends with two anime lovers. However, when it comes time to join the school basketball team, Lilico has to deal with a bully of sorts. Fortunately, her guardian spirit takes the form of her cat Nico to help her through this difficult time.

The art in Bounce Back is super cute, and I really enjoyed the Sailor Moon feel with a guardian spirit cat! This is a story that’s been done a ton of times, kind of like a less toxic Mean Girls, but it was still a good read with a positive message about friendship. I personally didn’t enjoy the drama between Lilico, her friend Nala, and the bully (Emma) and the basketball team, but it has a very middle grade feel and I think kids will find it relatable.

The back was super fun, with character profiles and fashion tips from Lilico’s friend Nala.

Overall this was a 4 star read for me. It’s been one so many times but that didn’t make it unenjoyable.

Find out more about how I rate books here.

Bounce BackBounce Back by Misako Rocks!
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved the art in this one. Lots of anime references, and a good story about friendship.

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Book Club Questions

  1. If your guardian spirit took the form of an animal, what would you want it to be and why?
  2. Have you ever ended up making friends with a bully?
  3. How does Lilico eventually manage to balance her various friend groups? Have you ever had to do this?

Interested? Buy Bounce Back.
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