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Everything Is Beautiful, and I'm Not Afraid: A Baopu Collection

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Everything Is Beautiful, and I'm Not Afraid perfectly captures the feelings of a young sojourner in America as she explores the nuances in searching for a place to belong. Baopu is a monthly serialized comic on Autostraddle, and this book includes beloved fan favorites plus new, never-before-seen comics. This one-of-a-kind graphic novel explores the poetics of searching for Everything Is Beautiful, and I'm Not Afraid perfectly captures the feelings of a young sojourner in America as she explores the nuances in searching for a place to belong. Baopu is a monthly serialized comic on Autostraddle, and this book includes beloved fan favorites plus new, never-before-seen comics. This one-of-a-kind graphic novel explores the poetics of searching for connection, belonging, and identity through the fictional life of a young, queer immigrant. Inspired by the creator's own experiences as a queer, China-born illustrator living in the United States, Everything Is Beautiful, and I'm Not Afraid has an undeniable memoir quality to its recollection and thought-provoking accounts of what it's like to navigate the complexities of seeking belonging—mentally and geographically.


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Everything Is Beautiful, and I'm Not Afraid perfectly captures the feelings of a young sojourner in America as she explores the nuances in searching for a place to belong. Baopu is a monthly serialized comic on Autostraddle, and this book includes beloved fan favorites plus new, never-before-seen comics. This one-of-a-kind graphic novel explores the poetics of searching for Everything Is Beautiful, and I'm Not Afraid perfectly captures the feelings of a young sojourner in America as she explores the nuances in searching for a place to belong. Baopu is a monthly serialized comic on Autostraddle, and this book includes beloved fan favorites plus new, never-before-seen comics. This one-of-a-kind graphic novel explores the poetics of searching for connection, belonging, and identity through the fictional life of a young, queer immigrant. Inspired by the creator's own experiences as a queer, China-born illustrator living in the United States, Everything Is Beautiful, and I'm Not Afraid has an undeniable memoir quality to its recollection and thought-provoking accounts of what it's like to navigate the complexities of seeking belonging—mentally and geographically.

30 review for Everything Is Beautiful, and I'm Not Afraid: A Baopu Collection

  1. 5 out of 5

    Reading_ Tam_ Ishly

    '11 months of fiction. 1 month of reality.' . . Who else can relate to this? . Me! I love this book so much! Inspite of the cute and colourful illustration, this one is really hard-hitting talking about reality and queer gender issues. I would like to call this book a coming of age story and discuss issues that affect women on a day-to-day basis. There are a few parts on racism and discrimination. There are a few original lines or poetry by the author in between which I really appreciate. The book ta '11 months of fiction. 1 month of reality.' . . Who else can relate to this? . Me! I love this book so much! Inspite of the cute and colourful illustration, this one is really hard-hitting talking about reality and queer gender issues. I would like to call this book a coming of age story and discuss issues that affect women on a day-to-day basis. There are a few parts on racism and discrimination. There are a few original lines or poetry by the author in between which I really appreciate. The book talks mainly about how the author had been her entire life feeling stuck, invisible, confused and trapped (which we all feel at one time or the other) and then growing as a person after all these years of restrictions on writing and singing. This book is genuine in the sense that the illustrations stand out and depict exactly how the author felt. A The first half of the book talks mainly about insecurities while the later half talks mainly about living and starting life all over again. I appreciate the tips given in this collection regarding summer days, social interaction, spending and self-care. The book towards the end focuses more on accepting oneself when faced with body shaming, family issues, gender discrimination and how the author came to terms with being herself. She urges the readers to keep trying and to love a little bit everyday. Wow, I didn't expect all of these things when I picked up this book. The book delivered more than what I had expected! ***Pride month is coming up and I am so glad I got to read this book! Totally recommended 👍 Thank you #NetGalley for the book #EverythingisBeautifulandIAmNotAfraid

  2. 4 out of 5

    David Schaafsma

    Isn't this a great cover and title for a pandemic? Something sweetly "up" when you are down? Well, I guess it kinda is: This graphic memoir/self-help book is by and about a queer, Chinese immigrant woman, facing racism, sexism, homophobia, peppered with aphorisms and encouraging observations. It's kind of loose on all counts, reading quite a bit like a journal, wandering through these issues without any really new or deep insights into any of these issues. But I know it will be read by many, man Isn't this a great cover and title for a pandemic? Something sweetly "up" when you are down? Well, I guess it kinda is: This graphic memoir/self-help book is by and about a queer, Chinese immigrant woman, facing racism, sexism, homophobia, peppered with aphorisms and encouraging observations. It's kind of loose on all counts, reading quite a bit like a journal, wandering through these issues without any really new or deep insights into any of these issues. But I know it will be read by many, many people with that cover and color and title. Hopefully some women experiencing the double-whammy of prejudice from being a queer immigrant can get some hope from it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]

    I really, truly appreciate the idea behind this collection: a bisexual Chinese author talking about how hard it was to come out to her mother, stipulations that come with being from an immigrant family, the struggles of a conservative mother, and more. All of that said, unfortunately, the execution didn't work for me. I didn't enjoy the art style, some of the layouts of the comics were a bit hard to follow, and the narrative voice as a whole didn't mesh with me. I really wanted to like this more I really, truly appreciate the idea behind this collection: a bisexual Chinese author talking about how hard it was to come out to her mother, stipulations that come with being from an immigrant family, the struggles of a conservative mother, and more. All of that said, unfortunately, the execution didn't work for me. I didn't enjoy the art style, some of the layouts of the comics were a bit hard to follow, and the narrative voice as a whole didn't mesh with me. I really wanted to like this more than I did, sadly. Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Chad

    This just didn't work for me. It's a self-reflective look at the author trying to belong. It's almost like a book of private journal entries the author decided to share. The artwork and lettering were really difficult to follow making this a no-go for me. I started skimming halfway through. Received a review copy from Andrews McMeel Publishing and NetGalley. All thoughts are my own and inno way influenced by the aforementioned.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Andi

    So moved by this book. I'd seen some of Yao Xiao's work on Autostraddle over the years, and eagerly snapped this up. I was not disappointed. An absolutely poetic graphic novel, beautifully done. And oh-my-god the feelings... all of the feelings. Dark and lonely; hopeful and at peace. This work clearly illustrates a restless searching for belonging - with society, with family and with oneself. Favorites: “I’m not afraid” […] But I’m still here. Everything is fucking beautiful. And I am not afraid So moved by this book. I'd seen some of Yao Xiao's work on Autostraddle over the years, and eagerly snapped this up. I was not disappointed. An absolutely poetic graphic novel, beautifully done. And oh-my-god the feelings... all of the feelings. Dark and lonely; hopeful and at peace. This work clearly illustrates a restless searching for belonging - with society, with family and with oneself. Favorites: “I’m not afraid” […] But I’m still here. Everything is fucking beautiful. And I am not afraid. “Don’t censor feelings” It’s important to be mad It’s important to be sad It’s important to be angry and lost And to carry on dreaming of what you love "I don't have a box" I don't want to choose a box. I'm just... Hanging out. That's okay, yes? ** I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**

  6. 5 out of 5

    Anniek

    While I did like some of these comics, I found that most of them didn't really work for me. I wasn't the biggest fan of the art style, although I did find some really beautiful pages, and I found the writing to be unnecessarily complex for such short comics, and overly simplistic at other times. Due to the lay-out of the pages, it was sometimes difficult to follow the correct sequence. Maybe I just read this at the wrong time, but I didn't really end up enjoying this. It's not at all a bad comic While I did like some of these comics, I found that most of them didn't really work for me. I wasn't the biggest fan of the art style, although I did find some really beautiful pages, and I found the writing to be unnecessarily complex for such short comics, and overly simplistic at other times. Due to the lay-out of the pages, it was sometimes difficult to follow the correct sequence. Maybe I just read this at the wrong time, but I didn't really end up enjoying this. It's not at all a bad comic collection, it just wasn't for me. Rep: Chinese bisexual MC CWs: homophobia, racism

  7. 5 out of 5

    Etienne

    This wasn't for me in any way. I can't really talk of experience, maybe it might do some good to young people struggling with their identity... That wasn't my case, but I still feel like this book purpose and execution was a bit blurry! I wouldn't recommend it!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Marie

    Everything is Beautiful, and I'm Not Afraid by Yao Xiao 3.75 stars This is a graphic novel collection that follows the musings and thoughts of a bisexual Chinese immigrant living in American who has been rejected by her Chinese mother. The artwork is beautiful and has a lot of transcendental landscapes that will appeal as well as encourage a lot of women or men with similar stories. I can't relate personally, but I appreciated the heart of this and the emotional capacity that this graphic novel ad Everything is Beautiful, and I'm Not Afraid by Yao Xiao 3.75 stars This is a graphic novel collection that follows the musings and thoughts of a bisexual Chinese immigrant living in American who has been rejected by her Chinese mother. The artwork is beautiful and has a lot of transcendental landscapes that will appeal as well as encourage a lot of women or men with similar stories. I can't relate personally, but I appreciated the heart of this and the emotional capacity that this graphic novel addresses. There are some pages that are stilted and feel a little awkward, but the overall message of this novel is powerful and I enjoyed some of the conversations and dialogue that could be started based off of the points with sexuality, immigration, diversity, bisexual erasure, and acceptance. There are even more topics addressed, but I think that those should be discovered on your own by picking up this small and simple graphic novel collection. I'm glad that I read it and while it won't be something I will always remember I am glad to have read someone's story that is so different from my own. Whimsical Writing Scale: 3.25 Art Scale: 4 Plotastic Scale: 4 Cover Thoughts: I love the cover. It was drew me in and the title also reminds me of Slaughterhouse-Five, so that was a plus. Thank you, Netgalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing, for providing me with a copy of this graphic novel in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alicia Bayer

    This comic collection is definitely for a certain audience. The author identifies as a queer Asian immigrant and it's quite an existential series of cartoons about issues like coming out to disapproving parents, stresses involved in being an immigrant from being afraid to speak out on social media to the legal costs, relationship troubles, depression and much more (favorite spread: the fear bingo, with squares like "racist comments when I'm not prepared" and cancer). The artwork is often gorgeou This comic collection is definitely for a certain audience. The author identifies as a queer Asian immigrant and it's quite an existential series of cartoons about issues like coming out to disapproving parents, stresses involved in being an immigrant from being afraid to speak out on social media to the legal costs, relationship troubles, depression and much more (favorite spread: the fear bingo, with squares like "racist comments when I'm not prepared" and cancer). The artwork is often gorgeous and is in full color. It's a pretty sad book, though, and often like reading through a really artistic person's diary and doodles while they're going through an existential crisis. This is not a happy book but it is one that many young people will probably relate to. I know my oldest (21) would probably really enjoy it. I would preview it before purchasing, as it really does seem to have a niche audience. For those who relate though, or who want to understand the complex struggles of folks in Xiao's communities, it is an honest and heartfelt read with some nice art. I read a temporary digital ARC of this book for the purpose of review.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Amit Verma

    It is about sadness enveloping someone who is alien to everything surrounding. To his own blood as well as to foreign land. It is about misfit who cannot escape traditional restraints and also cannot survive in the cage. So he is caught between two worlds, both of which are out of his control. It depicts with extreme sadness how everything falls apart for main character. Artwork is very good, eye-catching and innovative in most part. . It is the artwork that kept me going inspite of it being a very It is about sadness enveloping someone who is alien to everything surrounding. To his own blood as well as to foreign land. It is about misfit who cannot escape traditional restraints and also cannot survive in the cage. So he is caught between two worlds, both of which are out of his control. It depicts with extreme sadness how everything falls apart for main character. Artwork is very good, eye-catching and innovative in most part. . It is the artwork that kept me going inspite of it being a very sad book. Overall a nice read for particular group of readers. Cannot recommend it to everyone except may be to look at innovative use of artwork and changing backgrounds. Thanks netgalley and publisher for review copy.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Arca

    Lovely concepts and there were a few pages that were spot on for me (would be useful for teaching tools, too). The entire compilation as a whole didn’t work for me though. It felt messy for lack of a better word? Queer, Chinese immigrant woman sorting out life and its ups and downs. From the description I thought it would be a perfect match for me, but it just didn’t quite work for me (art or writing)— But! Graphic novels are especially personal, I think, and like I said there were a couple pages Lovely concepts and there were a few pages that were spot on for me (would be useful for teaching tools, too). The entire compilation as a whole didn’t work for me though. It felt messy for lack of a better word? Queer, Chinese immigrant woman sorting out life and its ups and downs. From the description I thought it would be a perfect match for me, but it just didn’t quite work for me (art or writing)— But! Graphic novels are especially personal, I think, and like I said there were a couple pages that I would’ve totally flagged or sent to friends or used with students. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Graeme

    Yao Xiao navigates the young adult life of the narrator, who is struggling with identity as an (im)migrant, queer person, in a home that is not her home, and all the other questions of belonging and love in New York City. I like the descriptions and illustrations depicting the narrator's immigrant, queer status, and finding her identity. but the "self-help advice" peppered in throughout the book is distracting and takes away from the more personal feel of the fictional memoir. Reviewed for NetGal Yao Xiao navigates the young adult life of the narrator, who is struggling with identity as an (im)migrant, queer person, in a home that is not her home, and all the other questions of belonging and love in New York City. I like the descriptions and illustrations depicting the narrator's immigrant, queer status, and finding her identity. but the "self-help advice" peppered in throughout the book is distracting and takes away from the more personal feel of the fictional memoir. Reviewed for NetGalley

  13. 5 out of 5

    Thushara (Triobookdragons)

    review to follow soon

  14. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa

    This book isn't for everyone and I think that's why there are a lot of differing reviews. I really enjoyed it and I'll try to explain why. The art style isn't exactly consistent (I feel like that's on purpose) and it's a little on the cartoon-y side but I actually really like it. There isn't a set formula like a four panel comic in this book, all the panels change from page to page making it feel more active and dynamic. The simplistic style also lends itself to focus less on the pictures and mor This book isn't for everyone and I think that's why there are a lot of differing reviews. I really enjoyed it and I'll try to explain why. The art style isn't exactly consistent (I feel like that's on purpose) and it's a little on the cartoon-y side but I actually really like it. There isn't a set formula like a four panel comic in this book, all the panels change from page to page making it feel more active and dynamic. The simplistic style also lends itself to focus less on the pictures and more on what is said and going on. That said, here are some truly lovely panels and full page spreads also included in here. Also there is more to art than making it conventionally attractive, it can be said that true art is a conveyance of feelings but art in itself is subjective . This book does read more like confiding in your diary type of book, but it is definitely an art piece itself. Yao Xiao is telling a story that doesn't spell it out for the reader, in a traditional sense, and you're meant to read between the lines to fill in more of the story. There is a fair amount of referencing to being queer and an immigrant-which if you aren't those things you can't relate to but you can learn from. There is also other things that could be relatable, such as searching for your place in the world, accepting yourself, learning to speak positively, self-care, and just a ton of other things this book touches on. Yao Xiao takes you on a journey to learn about her but also to learn about herself. She traverses many seemingly insignificant memories that obviously left a lasting impression on her, learning to accept herself-even if others won't, and learning that it doesn't make her any less if people don't accept her. This is such a lovely and open book that it almost feels like being confided in by a close friend.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Silvia

    I was sent this book as an advanced copy by the publisher via Edelweiss for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own. I enjoyed this autobiographic comic by a bisexual Chinese artist living in the United States. I obviously can't judge the content since it's her own experience, and there were a lot of experiences that I as a white woman I probably can't even begin to fully comprehend. I did however relate a lot to the feeling of being an immigrant and kind of forever losing your sense I was sent this book as an advanced copy by the publisher via Edelweiss for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own. I enjoyed this autobiographic comic by a bisexual Chinese artist living in the United States. I obviously can't judge the content since it's her own experience, and there were a lot of experiences that I as a white woman I probably can't even begin to fully comprehend. I did however relate a lot to the feeling of being an immigrant and kind of forever losing your sense of what is "home", about your life abroad feeling like fiction and the sense of "giving in" when you accept to start making friends in the new place. There was a variety of real life experiences told in a more classical comic style and more introspective pages and I thought the art reflected both really well. It's kind of a simple art style but it worked perfectly for the type of book this is. TWs: racism, biphobia, homophobia, sexism

  16. 5 out of 5

    Annemieke De

    I received an Arc from NetGalley to write an honest review. Yao Xiao made this graphic novel that tells the story of an Asian girl living in New York. Although that may not be an experience that fits in with the live story of every boy or girl, this graphic novel will appeal to many young people. It's a story about being bisexual, about being different, about coping with expectations others can have and you can have about yourself. It gives us a peek in the mind of young people, and all the though I received an Arc from NetGalley to write an honest review. Yao Xiao made this graphic novel that tells the story of an Asian girl living in New York. Although that may not be an experience that fits in with the live story of every boy or girl, this graphic novel will appeal to many young people. It's a story about being bisexual, about being different, about coping with expectations others can have and you can have about yourself. It gives us a peek in the mind of young people, and all the thoughts and worries they struggle with. But it also tells a story about hope, about finding a way out! This makes this a book that should be read by young people all over the world, that need to know they are not the only one having doubts, worries and insecurites to battle with.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    I really enjoyed reading Everything is Beautiful, and I’m Not Afraid. As a queer Asian American, this was very relatable for me. I went through similar struggles with the clashing of my identity and my conservative Asian culture. The search for acceptance from family, for belonging, and for self-love was one that I think many queer Asians can relate to. There are many other topics that Xiao touches upon such as fat-shaming in Asian culture, racism, xenophobia, etc., all of which are present in e I really enjoyed reading Everything is Beautiful, and I’m Not Afraid. As a queer Asian American, this was very relatable for me. I went through similar struggles with the clashing of my identity and my conservative Asian culture. The search for acceptance from family, for belonging, and for self-love was one that I think many queer Asians can relate to. There are many other topics that Xiao touches upon such as fat-shaming in Asian culture, racism, xenophobia, etc., all of which are present in everyday life for Asian Americans. Every page felt like I was talking to a friend who just understands what I’ve been through and am still going through. I received a copy from Andrews McMeel Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Monika

    This is a collection of the serialized comic Baopu that runs on Autostraddle. The art is lovely and the comics feel like a hug, but this didn't work for me in book form. It felt thematically disorganized, and it was hard to tell when one comic ended and another began. Sometimes titles appeared at the beginning, other times they were in tiny lettering at the end. The reading flow was often interrupted by random theme changes, and it took me a few panels to realize it was a new comic. It was distr This is a collection of the serialized comic Baopu that runs on Autostraddle. The art is lovely and the comics feel like a hug, but this didn't work for me in book form. It felt thematically disorganized, and it was hard to tell when one comic ended and another began. Sometimes titles appeared at the beginning, other times they were in tiny lettering at the end. The reading flow was often interrupted by random theme changes, and it took me a few panels to realize it was a new comic. It was distracting, and I was frustrated that I didn't get into a groove until halfway through the book. It's a shame, because the comics as individual pieces are gentle and soothing.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Anubha (BooksFullOfLife, LifeFullOfBooks)

    The book wasn't written in a flow, the author basically expressed her thoughts with illustrations about racial discrimination, coming out as bisexual, self love, trying to fit in a foreign country, immigration problems, loneliness, unsupportive friendships and other abstract thoughts and feelings. But these were not organized well in parts and sections but randomly put together with no proper structure. As a whole it just felt like a ranting comic instead of a well presented journey of a girl wh The book wasn't written in a flow, the author basically expressed her thoughts with illustrations about racial discrimination, coming out as bisexual, self love, trying to fit in a foreign country, immigration problems, loneliness, unsupportive friendships and other abstract thoughts and feelings. But these were not organized well in parts and sections but randomly put together with no proper structure. As a whole it just felt like a ranting comic instead of a well presented journey of a girl who is struggling to find an identity for herself.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Irene

    i didn’t know the author, but the book is okay, i liked the title and the illustrations are simple but cute. it was difficult to read some parts, i had a lump in my throat because i identified with the situations in the comics (the gloomy days, i'm falling...). but, even thought the book shows the complex life of the author, it lacked context and maybe a litte of sympathy to understand/like more the book. *note: i received a copy via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Scrblasco

    Wow. It’s a heartacheingly beautiful book. As a bi person with a middle eastern background, I was able to relate to a lot of Yao’s beautiful writing and illustrations. I think it allowed me to uncensor so many build up emotions. Though, I don’t mean this in a sad way but rather in a way that it opened my heart to beautiful feelings.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    I've read all the Baopu comics on Autostraddle and enjoyed reading this collection of new comics. The artwork and meandering storyline are almost dreamlike, as the author explores life as a queer person and an immigrant to the US. [ Free ARC from NetGalley]

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jo

    Everything Is Beautiful and I’m Not Afraid by Yao Xiao is a pleasant graphic novel. I found the layout hard to follow but the overall story was a good concept. Thanks to netgalley for letting me read this.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Chandra

    I wasn’t sure what to expect out of this graphic novel, but it was extremely relatable and informative. I was mesmerized while reading it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia

    The art is fine, not great but okay for what it's trying to do. Some reflections or points are interesting, especially around the author's change of homes.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Michelle A Geek Girl's Guide

    Everything Is Beautiful, and I’m Not Afraid: A Baopu Collection is a queer coming-of-age comic book following a Chinese woman living in America and ultimately facing the challenge of finding where she belongs as a queer immigrant. I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was not familiar with Yao Xiao and her Baopu comic prior to this book, but apparently, it is an existing comic that is part of the online queer women magazine Autostraddle. This comic book follo Everything Is Beautiful, and I’m Not Afraid: A Baopu Collection is a queer coming-of-age comic book following a Chinese woman living in America and ultimately facing the challenge of finding where she belongs as a queer immigrant. I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was not familiar with Yao Xiao and her Baopu comic prior to this book, but apparently, it is an existing comic that is part of the online queer women magazine Autostraddle. This comic book follows the story of a bisexual Chinese immigrant living in New York City and the journey of finding her home in the world. The book is very much a reflection of situations that happen and issues that people face, whether a woman, queer, or an immigrant. I find that comics are very powerful at this kind of look into the world since it is so visual, and although Xiao’s illustrations are simple in look they are still powerful. The one downside of the comic is that some of the ordering of comics reads a little strange. It feels, in some sections, that is bounces around the timeline of the character’s overall journey so it is a little weird. However, it is not book ruining and the book overall has a clear introduction and conclusion of sorts. To me, it is a small issue that doesn’t terribly ruin the experience. Overall, I find Xiao’s messages powerful and eye-opening. Since I only relate to Baopu as a woman, and not the queer and immigrant pieces of her, it is interesting to see things from that perspective. And the art is very nicely done and strengthens the messaging. I definitely think people should read this comic, regardless of if they are queer, female, or an immigrant, because it is so eye-opening to the issues those people face. Everything Is Beautiful, and I’m Not Afraid: A Baopu Collection publishes on March 3rd, 2020.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I really enjoyed this book. I found the concept being written about very relatable. The author discusses her experience as a queer immigrant whose family does not accept her for who she is, and sometimes whose new country does not accept her for who she is either. I myself am not gay, but I think that people can relate to this book from many different backgrounds including extreme religions and ultra traditional families. The art was beautiful and the emotion was raw and real. I cannot get over s I really enjoyed this book. I found the concept being written about very relatable. The author discusses her experience as a queer immigrant whose family does not accept her for who she is, and sometimes whose new country does not accept her for who she is either. I myself am not gay, but I think that people can relate to this book from many different backgrounds including extreme religions and ultra traditional families. The art was beautiful and the emotion was raw and real. I cannot get over some of the beautiful illustrations throughout. Truly breathtaking and something I'd love to go back and look at again and again. Also how fun was the page with "What Are You Afraid Of?" Bingo!? Anyone could relate to that page and concept, in my opinion. There were a couple things I found "clunky" in the book, and they were when the author starts sharing moments of being with her mother. I couldn't tell for several pages if she was actually there with her, or if it was going on in her head. I also sometimes found the transitions between topics (ie. finding love, becoming stronger despite her mothers lack of acceptance then moving directly into "I'm a queer immigrant") a bit abrupt. I wish there were separations in the sections indicating what we were moving on to discuss or that the concepts were tied together earlier on vs moving from one to another in such an abrupt way, and then integrating. I believe almost any reader who has suffered the pain of not being accepted by the important people in their lives could really relate to this book. It's one I'd like to purchase when it comes out to have on my shelf, and use to return to as well as share with my children as they grow older and start to find out who they are. Thank you for the opportunity to read this beautiful graphic memoir before its official release.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Petra

    Book Riot's 2020 Read Harder Challenge: Read a graphic memoir I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I think I wanted to find something that wasn't there in this book, which is, admittedly, not the book's fault. It's not so much that I need the perfect representation of my particular identity in everything I read - which is for the best, because, if that were the case, I might as well just stop reading altogether. That said, when I do find a book that Book Riot's 2020 Read Harder Challenge: Read a graphic memoir I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I think I wanted to find something that wasn't there in this book, which is, admittedly, not the book's fault. It's not so much that I need the perfect representation of my particular identity in everything I read - which is for the best, because, if that were the case, I might as well just stop reading altogether. That said, when I do find a book that I hope will speak to at least a part of my experience, I tend to expect more than it can ever deliver. There were parts when this book did deliver. And, boy, did it pack a punch then. But then there were parts when it didn't deliver, and I was left trying to piece together what it was trying to say without the personal experience to fill in all the gaps. And, ultimately, that's the thing - I want a book that won't require me to leap so much to fill in the gaps. Not that I don't want to think, not that I can't handle some parts being jumbled, not that I don't understand that people are complicated and messy, but this ultimately wanted more of me than I was ready to give. I needed more of a thread joining the pieces together, more cohesion, more clarity than were ultimately there. Still, there were gems to be found here, from lovely pastel artwork that just made me gaze at how beautiful it was, to All. The. Depictions. of New York, which I couldn't help but adore. Ultimately, the book was worth reading for those alone. 2,5 stars, rounded down.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Isaiah

    To see more reviews check out MI Book Reviews. I got an ARC of this book. I am really in a slump of books that are just eh right now. I did not read far enough in the description when I requested the book. I thought this was a memoir. So I was trying to piece together the story through these comics, but things just weren't happening in a way that made a cohesive memoir work for me. It makes a little more sense now that I see it is a fiction, but there are still a lot of time jumps that make it fee To see more reviews check out MI Book Reviews. I got an ARC of this book. I am really in a slump of books that are just eh right now. I did not read far enough in the description when I requested the book. I thought this was a memoir. So I was trying to piece together the story through these comics, but things just weren't happening in a way that made a cohesive memoir work for me. It makes a little more sense now that I see it is a fiction, but there are still a lot of time jumps that make it feel more like it is a collection of poetry written over time instead of a cohesive story. I wanted a narrative. I could see some character growth, but because of the constant time jumps and the missing narrative I couldn't tell if that change came over years or days or if it was a dream.  The story relies on poetic versions of feelings. I couldn't identify what those feelings were most of the time. The writing was often hard to read so I think that had to do with some of my disconnect from the book. I might just have missed some of the feelings as well.  The art style was interesting. I really like it, but at times there was a meaning conveyed with the art that I was missing because it was something like just the hat was missing meant the MC was in another country. The hat wasn't explained as being anything significant to give me reason to track when it was and wasn't worn. So this probably also got in the way of me getting the full impact of the emotions.  I wouldn't really recommend this book, but it wasn't necessarily bad. I just didn't seem to get it. 

  30. 5 out of 5

    Anjana

    This is an intense and personal collection of comic strips. There is nothing remotely 'HaHa funny' about them. Most of the ones I follow on social media do have personal incidents influencing their collections, but this one was of a slightly different ilk. I had seen one or two in passing forwards somewhere, that was enough for me to try the entire collection. The author draws on her coming out to her mother and the way her life is fashioned around her life in the US while her roots continue to b This is an intense and personal collection of comic strips. There is nothing remotely 'HaHa funny' about them. Most of the ones I follow on social media do have personal incidents influencing their collections, but this one was of a slightly different ilk. I had seen one or two in passing forwards somewhere, that was enough for me to try the entire collection. The author draws on her coming out to her mother and the way her life is fashioned around her life in the US while her roots continue to be an essential part of her. The imagery in each panel and the sides as well as background for some very beautiful. For the most part, there is a chronological order in which the panels and the story within it flows. The only problem was that a few of them were too existential and profound for my understanding. That said, someone with similar lives may draw strength from this narrative.  There is not much more I could say regarding this particular title because it is a short collection of panels and was an engrossing read. It also does get you thinking. I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers, but the review is entirely based on my reading experience and the fact that I use my Instagram almost exclusively to follow comic strips like these.

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