Mini reviews: make it GAYYYY, graphic novels edition

June 7, 2023

TITLE: Northranger
AUTHOR: Rey Terciero

GENRE: Romance/Mystery
PAGES: 240pg

Cade has always loved to escape into the world of a good horror movie. After all, horror movies are scary–but to Cade, a closeted queer Latino teen growing up in rural Texas–real life can be way scarier.

When Cade is sent to spend the summer working as a ranch hand to help earn extra money for his family, he is horrified. Cade hates everything about the ranch, from the early mornings to the mountains of horse poop he has to clean up. The only silver lining is the company of the two teens who live there–in particular, the ruggedly handsome and enigmatic Henry.

But as unexpected sparks begin to fly between Cade and Henry, things get… complicated. Henry is reluctant to share the details of his mother’s death, and Cade begins to wonder what else he might be hiding. Inspired by the gothic romance of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey and perfect for fans of Heartstopper and Bloom comes a modern love story so romantic it’s scary.

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A gay main character who’s obsessed with horror films, an ominous gothic mystery taking place in the ranch family’s vacation home, and a syrupy sweet forbidden queer romance? Sign me up.

I absolutely loved this graphic novel! Cade is such a sweet little softie and I adored the Henries (especially Henrietta). I appreciated the content warnings in the author’s note at the beginning of the book, as this book does involve a fair bit of the cruel realities that queer teens (especially in rural areas) are used to living through, and I thought it was all balanced really well with the fluffy bits to keep things from getting too sad.

I highly recommend this graphic novel and will most likely be grabbing a finished copy for my shelves, because this is the sort of story I could see myself revisiting for sure!

Thank you to the publisher for the review copy! All thoughts are honest and my own.

content warnings →
WARNINGS (click to expand):

homophobia, religious bigotry, racism (including slurs), dementia, grief, mentions of death and murder, mentions of cancer, misogyny, alcohol abuse, brief mention of suicidal thoughts

representation →

Cade is Latinx and gay, Henry is gay, Dale and Alice are Black

TITLE: Monster and the Beast, Vol. 1
AUTHOR: renji
GENRE: Romance
PAGES: 192pg

Cavo is a hideous monster with a pure heart. Liam, on the other hand, might look like the perfect gentleman, but he’s a beast on the inside, and he has an eccentric personality to boot.

When Cavo rescues Liam from an unfortunate situation in the forest, the paths of the monster and the beast cross for the first time. Will their meeting be a fleeting encounter or a timeless entanglement? And will Liam succeed in leading the innocent Cavo astray?

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Hmmmm… this was pretty, but not for me. I love the concept of this massive, hideous demon being the gentle, sweet one, while the human is the “beast”, but I’m a little too soft-hearted for just how unkind Liam is to Cavo (and I don’t love how little regard Liam seems to hold for consent). I don’t think I’ll continue the series, but I can see why others would love it.

content warnings →
WARNINGS (click to expand):

attempted assault, violence, sexual harassment

representation →

Liam is pansexual, Cavo is queer (unspecified)

TITLE: Gender Queer: A Memoir
AUTHOR: Maia Kobabe
GENRE: Nonfiction
PAGES: 240pg

In 2014, Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, thought that a comic of reading statistics would be the last autobiographical comic e would ever write. At the time, it was the only thing e felt comfortable with strangers knowing about em. Now, Gender Queer is here. Maia’s intensely cathartic autobiography charts eir journey of self-identity, which includes the mortification and confusion of adolescent crushes, grappling with how to come out to family and society, bonding with friends over erotic gay fanfiction, and facing the trauma of pap smears. Started as a way to explain to eir family what it means to be nonbinary and asexual, Gender Queer is more than a personal story: it is a useful and touching guide on gender identity—what it means and how to think about it—for advocates, friends, and humans everywhere.

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Subjectively, I’d say this was a 3-star read for me, but I’m really not the target audience for this book and I think it’s an important title that needs to exist for a lot of people, which is why I’m not adding an actual star rating to this review on Goodreads.

The artwork was lovely and I enjoyed reading about Maia’s long journey to self-acceptance, but the storytelling was very all over the place at times, and I quickly grew weary of how frequently the subject returned to sex and masturbation (this is totally a personal thing—again, I’m sure a lot of what is said will be highly valuable to many readers who need to see themselves reflected in these pages, but it felt very repetitive). I also thought the ending was shockingly abrupt, to the point that I scrolled back on my iPad to make sure my copy hadn’t glitched past a few pages.

Overall, I’d recommend this graphic novel, especially to anyone questioning their identity, but it wasn’t for me, and that’s fine.

content warnings →
WARNINGS (click to expand):

homophobia, transphobia, misgendering, medical content and trauma

representation →

the author is genderqueer and uses e/em/eir pronouns; multiple of the people we meet throughout the memoir are also queer



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More about Destiny @ Howling Libraries

Just a horror aficionado/geek girl trying to juggle motherhood, reading, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.

    1. Northranger sound Amazing! To the wl it goes. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

      1. Monster and the Beast definitely struck me as one of those “not for me, but lots of people would love this” books, so if it intrigued you, I definitely think you should check it out! 🙂

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