TITLE: Fresh Romance, Vol. 1
CREATORS: Sarah Kuhn, Kate Leth, Sarah Vaughn, Sally Ann Thompson, Trungles, Sarah Winifred Searle
AGE RANGE: New Adult
FRESH ROMANCE is an exciting collection of romance comics from some of comics most talented creators, including Kate Leth, Arielle Jovellanos, Sarah Vaughn, Sarah Winifred Searle, Sarah Kuhn, Marguerite Bennett, and Trungles. From unhappy historical marriages to covert teenage romances, there’s something for everyone in FRESH ROMANCE.
When I heard of this graphic novel, I was so genuinely excited to read it, and I honestly thought it would be something really special. It was, but not in a good way… Let me put it this way: it’s very rare that I literally regret reading something, but I genuinely, 100% regret reading this graphic novel anthology. It’s not that it was all bad, but…
→ School Spirit — ★★★☆☆
This had a lot of potential to be adorable, once I got used to what the heck was going on, but in the beginning, you’re thrown into it with no explanation whatsoever and I was actually getting really irritated while trying to figure out what these characters were doing. On top of that, I know rampant homophobia is a very real issue and I can appreciate own-voice authors writing about that, but when there is literally no happy ending in sight for these queer girls? Obviously, it’s a 100% valid thing to write about, don’t get me wrong! … but that doesn’t mean my queer self has to have fun reading it.
→ Ruined — ?!?!
I don’t even know how to rate this story, but it’s the #1 reason I say I regret reading this collection. It had a metric ton of potential to be a raging trashfire with the implication that this woman’s previous relationship is why she’s “ruined” (calm down, Destiny, let’s save the rants about the social constructs of ‘virginity’ for another day…), but I don’t think it was meant harmfully, and I was really intrigued by what was going on — so, naturally, it ended right in the middle of the freaking story with a “TO BE CONTINUED”?! Who the hell does that without warning the reader that they’re only getting “part 1” of the story? I’m literally angry over this.
→ The Ruby Equation — ★★★★☆
Literally the only story in this collection that I don’t have major issues with. This one follows a magical young lady whose job is apparently to match-make, but she’s super resistant to the idea of actually being the one to fall in love, so you can probably guess where this one’s headed. The art was lovely and the characters were cute.
→ Beauties — ★★☆☆☆
A painfully boring Beauty and the Beast retelling. That’s all I’ve got.
→ First, Last, and Always — ★☆☆☆☆
While reading anthologies of any sort, I keep a note open on my phone/ipad/laptop/whatever, and I take notes about each story so that, when I write my review, I can break them down. My notes are usually a mash-up of quotes, key phrases, and so on, but if this tells you anything about how this final story made me feel, my entire note section for this one is literally just “WTF”.
Like I said… I really wish I hadn’t wasted my time with this collection. It was miserably disappointing and I am so, so glad I was able to get it from the library instead of breaking my book ban for it (which I almost did). The only reasons it’s getting 2 stars instead of 1 from me are the diverse rep and how much I enjoyed the 3rd story.
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