– Claribel A. Ortega and Rose Bousamra (Illustrator) –

First Second

Published 18 October 2022



Frizzy is a darling new graphic novel. It will be a must-buy for my school library and I know it will be an immediate hit with my middle grade readers. And what’s not to love about this story about embracing and celebrating what makes you unique and especially you.

It’s hard to be your true self when the people around you only focus on what they would change. Marlene loves her curls but it’s her curls that means she has to spend every Sunday at the salon. It’s her curls that her family comment on, negatively comparing her to her perfect, straight-haired cousin. And she hates that it means she can’t dance, get wet or be unladylike. If growing up means having straight hair and sitting quietly, she’d rather not. But thanks to her Tia Ruby, Marlene learns to speak up about what she wants and feels comfortable with and learns to share with other what she loves about herself – including her curls.

Loving something about yourself when the world or those closest to you say it’s not loveable is really hard, and that’s exactly what Marlene faces. She handles it with all the authentic emotion of any teen girl and Frizzy is such an authentic and relatable story because of it. It also has such an important message. I love that Marlene loves her curls. She just has to get her mother to accept and love them as well. The story also touches on the anti-blackness that underlies Marlene’s family’s reaction to her hair.

Along with her family’s comments, Marlene also faces bullying at school. Luckily she has the support of a good friend, but she learn some tough lessons about standing up for herself.

With pastel colours perfectly offsetting the vibrant purples and pinks, the panels are beautifully illustrated and are as vibrant as Marlene and her story of strength. Can’t wait to share this beautiful graphic novel with my readers.

The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.

More information

Category: Middle grade graphic novel

Genre: Contemporary.

Themes: School, hair, appearance, family, friendship.

Reading age guide: Ages 8 and up.

Advisory:  Bullying, anti-blackness comments about appearance.

Representation: Latino main characters and side characters

Published: 18 October 2022 by First Second

Format: Hardcover, paperback. 224 pages.

ISBN: 9781250259622

Find it on Goodreads