crumbs

Monday, August 1, 2022 |

As much as I would like to, there’s no way to stay on top of every YA and middle grade book with a baking or cooking element as part of the plot. Trust me, if I could, I would! After all, those titles combine two of my favorite things (reading & food). I do try to pick up most books that feature baking AND MAGIC, though. That combination is somehow even more perfect. When I saw the cover art for Danie Sterling’s young adult graphic novel Crumbs I immediately knew I’d have to have it, because magic (a broom) + food (title & treats) + graphic novel (quick reading!) = love.


crumbs by danie sterling book cover
In a very special town, there’s an even more unusual bakery with a selection of baked treats hand-crafted to help your dreams come true. For Ray, a quiet young woman with special powers of her own, the order is always the same: a hot tea with a delicious side of romance.

When Ray meets Laurie, the kind barista who aspires to be a professional musician, she gets a real taste of love for the first time. But even with a spark of magic, romance isn’t so simple. Both Ray and Laurie are chasing their own dreams and even when Ray starts to see the future, she can’t predict her fate with Laurie.

Based on the beloved webcomic from WEBTOON, this sweet coming-of-age story of friendship and first love comes to life in graphic novel format with gorgeous illustrations and exclusive content.


Ray is a young Seer who can see the present exactly as it is, but that power usually means friendships and relationships are short, and it has also meant a move away from family to live in the city, where the magical leadership, a.k.a. the Council, does its work. Ray allows herself one vice– a single helping of Romance pastry each week at Marigold’s Bakery. To her, the taste feels like opening oneself up to possibilities. When Ray gets to know a little more about Laurie, one of the workers at Marigold’s and a budding musician, her life suddenly fills up with more than just work and studying. What will that mean for the future? Ray’s task is to find out by following her heart, mind, and trusting those who love her.

 

Crumbs has a lot to offer: a warm, cozy illustration style, a sweet heroine figuring out how to follow her dreams, and of course magic and baked goods. The storytelling has an episodic feel to it, with lots of twists, turns, and reveals throughout. It also has a young romance that doesn’t feel “fated” or rushed like many in YA fiction. Both Ray and Laurie are beset by doubts, then by bad timing, and they finally come to an understanding that feels realistic without leaning towards syrupy sweet. Crumbs shines brightest when it focuses on the central, coming-of-age storyline of young people figuring out how to be independent in the world, and weighing what is most important to them.

 

With that said, I think that the story suffers a bit from too many ideas, and too little space to execute them in. The magical world (and especially Ray’s work for the Council) feels more like an afterthought than a fully developed setting, characters’ backstory (and even trauma) is kept to a minimum, and there are several dangling threads related to side characters that seem to lead nowhere (but maybe there will be sequels??). What I’m trying to say is that even while Crumbs is an enjoyable read in stretches, it doesn’t cohere as well as it could. Don’t let my criticism keep you from reading the book though! If you like slice-of-life and cozy light fantasy stories, this title will be right up your alley.

 

Sterling’s illustration style is… hard to describe! It features soft, fuzzy, almost crayon-like digital linework. The layered, see-through quality lends the story a warm, slightly unfinished feel. Added light and shadow – and sometimes blurred out foregrounds/backgrounds – grant perspective. The art is detailed and sophisticated; it’s just not all sharp corners, decisive movements, and perfectly geometric shapes (except for the speech bubbles!). In general, characters have big eyes and show a lot of emotion in their faces, and page spreads feature lots of small boxes that keep the narrative moving along. The comic is full color, with no one dominant palette.

 

In all, Crumbs is a sweetly romantic young adult graphic novel with light side helpings of magic and figuring out how to follow your dreams.

 

Recommended for: fans of young adult romance and graphic novels/manga, and anyone who likes to the art style featured on the book cover.

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