Juliet Takes a Breath: The Graphic Novel by Gabby Rivera and Celia Moscote BOOM! Box / BOOM! Studios Publication Date: December 1, 2020 ISBN: 9781684156115
Meet Juliet, a queer Puerto Rican college student from the Bronx eager to begin her internship in Portland with white feminist author Harlowe Brisbane. Unfortunately, Juliet quickly feels overwhelmed and frustrated as she realizes there’s a lot she doesn’t know about women’s history, feminism, or even her own identity. Compounding her misery are a break-up with her girlfriend Lainie and a fight with her mother, who refuses to accept that Juliet is a lesbian. When Harlowe uses Juliet’s internship to justify her own racism, Juliet is forced to look elsewhere for community. She finds love and support in her extended family, a writing group for queer women of color, and a very cute library intern named Kira.
A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster Publication Date: November 10, 2020 ISBN: 978-1534471245
Cuban-American Lila Reyes is grief-stricken after the death of her abuela and breakups with her best friend and her boyfriend. Her parents send her from vibrant, sunny Miami to gloomy old England for a change of scenery and a chance to heal, but Lila has a plan for her life, and it involves running the family bakery with her sister after high school instead of summer at her cousins’ English inn. Determined not to enjoy herself, Lila nevertheless cannot resist the call of the inn’s kitchen, which dares her to mix Cuban spice with traditional British baking. Soon, a group of friends (including the cute, thoughtful boy whose family owns the village tea shop) makes life in England not only bearable but thoroughly enjoyable. Now Lila is doing more than falling in love with her new home — she’s questioning everything she thought she knew and everything she thought she wanted.
2019 Printz Winner for The Poet X, Elizabeth Acevedo’s much anticipated sophomore novel With the Fire On High, is a book about embracing your passions, and charting your future. Emoni Santiago, an Afro-Boricua high school senior has had a gift for cooking since she was young. She and her toddler daughter live with her supportive grandmother, but Emoni needs to decide where she wants to go to school and what she wants to do after graduation. When her school offers a new class, “Culinary Arts: Spain Immersion,” Emoni has a chance to immerse herself in cooking in a way that she can start to see what is possible with her gift.
Foodie readers will swoon over Acevedo’s writing on food and cooking, and it will leave them hungering for more. Here are a few delicious titles about food and cooking to pair With the Fire On High:
Bloom by Kevin Panetta & Savanna Ganucheau First Second/MacMillan Publication Date: January 29, 2019 ISBN: 978-1250196910
Ari is desperate to leave his family’s Greek bakery and move to the city with his band after high school graduation. His family is reluctant to let him go, but they hire Hector, a charming Samoan cooking school student, as a trial replacement. Hector and Ari become fast friends while working in the bakery, and maybe even more–provided that Ari doesn’t mess it up. Ganucheau’s blue, black, and white art conveys the sum of Hector and Ari’s emotions gracefully and quietly, while also celebrating the detailed, precise art of baking.
Bloom by Kevin Panetta First Second Publication Date: January 29, 2019 ISBN: 978-1626726413
Ari dreams of leaving his family bakery to start a new life in Baltimore with his band members. When Hector comes to town, to clean out his late Nana’s house, he finds a flyer looking for help at Ari’s family’s bakery. Ari and Hector are indifferent towards each other at first, as Ari’s friends make fun of Hector. The more time they spend together, Ari finds reasons not only to love baking again, but to reconsider his dream of moving away to start a new life. When Ari blaims Hector for a fire at the bakery and pushes him away, their relationship is tested.
It is hard to believe that it is already the start of a new year. But, the good news is that with the new year come new comics to be excited about! This year there are plenty of books and series by female creators to get excited about. Hopefully you will find something here to add to your to-be-read list.
Zodiac Starforce: By The Power of Astra by Kevin Panetta and Paulina Ganucheau – Compared by many in style and story to Sailor Moon, this series has bright colors, great art, a focus on a team of teenage girls, and entertaining adventures. This first volume will collect the first four issues of the series, so it is a great way to introduce it to existing Sailor Moon fans or those who just love action-packed fantasy comics.
Something New: Tales from a Makeshift Bride by Lucy Knisley – When Lucy Knisley suddenly ends up engaged to her ex-boyfriend, she finds herself unexpectedly planning a wedding. As with her past books, she recorded it all in comic form. This promises to be another great peek at family life from an author who won a 2014 Alex Award and appeared on the Great Graphic Novels 2014 list.
Harley Quinn and Power Girl by Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray and Stephane Roux – In addition to upcoming volumes of the Harley Quinn series, Amanda Conner and her husband Jimmy Palmiotti have a new series in which Harley Quinn and Power Girl team up in a foreign dimension. A great option for fans of this team’s Harley Quinn series, this will also appeal to Power Girl fans and those who want a combination of humor and superheros.
Starfire Volume 1 by Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Emanuela Lupacchino – Another collection from the team that brought us the latest Harley Quinn series, this is the first solo series for Starfire. With its Florida setting and battles against threats from the underworld, this series is sure to attract new fans for Starfire.
Tomb Raider by Mariko Tamaki and Phillip Sevy – Mariko Tamaki, author of This One Summer, is taking over the helm of the Tomb Raider series, which is sure to bring new attention to the series. This is a great option for fans of the Tomb Raider game series, especially since it continues the storyline set up in the games.
The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks – Hicks is a perennial fan favorite who has written some great comics, so it is easy to get excited for her upcoming work. This book follows Kaidu, a member of the group that is occupying the Nameless City, and Rat, a native of the city. Though they initially seem like unlikely friends, eventually they must work together for the city they both love.
Mockingbird by Chelsea Cain – If you read the standalone Mockingbird issue that was released as part of the S.H.I.E.L.D. 50th Anniversary, you will be happy to know that there is more to come from this great character! As with the standalone, the new series will be written by Chelsea Cain and will focus on Bobbi Morse’s adventures. Mockingbird has popped up elsewhere as well, including on TV’s Agents of SHIELD and in the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man, so this title has promise for wide appeal.
Spiderman by Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli – With Marvel’s Secret Wars coming to an end, the All-New All-Different series are ready to begin and one of these series is a new Spiderman story. Though limited information has been released about this series, it has an all-star team of Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli, so it looks like it has great promise.
Octopus Pie by Meredith Gran – In this first Octopus Pie collection, readers meet Eve and her roommate Hanna as they live in Brooklyn and tackle complicated relationships. Filled with humor and observations of 20-something life in the city, this will have wide appeal, though it is probably best for older teens given the age group represented.
Black Canary Volume 1 by Brendan Fletch and Annie Wu – In this series, Dinah Lance hits the road with her band Black Canary and along the way they’re going to encounter more than their fair share of trouble. This combines great fight sequences with a rock and roll setting that will have broad appeal, particularly for those who are already fans of Batgirl.
Faith by Jody Houser, Francis Portela, and Marguerite Sauvage – In many ways, Faith Herbert is a standard superhero: she is an orphan with special powers (including flight) who works as a journalist. But, where this could lead to a bland rehash of previous stories, here this serves as a jumping off point for playing with the standard comic tropes. This looks like it is going to be a great series for fans of Batgirl and many more!
These are just some of the great new works from female creators that we have to look forward to in 2016. It promises to be an exciting year for comics and I can’t wait to read these and more. Let me know in the comments if I’ve missed any that you want to read in 2016!