Genre: Comic/Manga/Graphic Novel
Illustrations: Rose Bousamra
No. of Pages: 224
Date of Publication: October 18, 2022
My Rating: 5 Stars
A middle grade graphic novel about Marlene, a young girl who stops straightening her hair and embraces her natural curls.
Marlene loves three things: books, her cool Tía Ruby and hanging out with her best friend Camila. But according to her mother, Paola, the only thing she needs to focus on is school and "growing up." That means straightening her hair every weekend so she could have "presentable", "good hair".
But Marlene hates being in the salon and doesn't understand why her curls are not considered pretty by those around her. With a few hiccups, a dash of embarrassment, and the much-needed help of Camila and Tia Ruby—she slowly starts a journey to learn to appreciate and proudly wear her curly hair.
Marlene has thick curly hair. It is just about time for her cousin’s Quinceañera an another Sunday has come, which means another long day at the beauty salon. Her mother gets her hair shampooed, blow dries, straightened, and curled and then straightened again so that Marlene‘s hair is always “neat”.
The party makes this even more important. However, Marlene has a good time, and before you know it she has sweat all of her hair out and it is all over her head.
Of course that made her Mami angry and another trip to the beauty salon was in order. But, Marlene has her own ideas and showers and brings back her curly locks.
Marlene begins to learn a few things. First of all she has to deal with the teasing from kids at school because of the braids in her hair that she hates. This ends up getting her in trouble and then she goes and spend the weekend with her aunt, or her Tia. this proves to be a blessing because her Tia has her hair curly and it is so very beautiful. Her sweet aunt teaches her all about how to maintain her curls and after a beautiful weekend and a good day at school, Marlene now Hass to face her mother.
How does Marlene‘s mother take to the style that Marlene insists on? Well, part of this goes back to why Marlene’s mother has been having had to have their hair straightened for years. There is a societal judgment against good vs. bad here, messy vs. neat hair, etc. and Marlene‘s mother does not want her daughter to suffer any of society‘s issues based on her appearance so she thinks she is doing god by Marlene.
This book teaches the difference between hairstyles, how to maintain them, how to have pride in who you are, how to embrace who you are and teaches a nice lesson between mother and daughter in this beautiful graphic novel by Claribel A. Ortega.
Many thanks to First Second and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.