*I was sent a copy of Cheer Up in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Oni Press, Crystal Frasier and everyone involved with the creation of this graphic novel.*
Annie is a smart, antisocial lesbian starting her senior year of high school who’s under pressure to join the cheerleader squad to make friends and round out her college applications. Her former friend BeeBee is a people-pleaser—a trans girl who must keep her parents happy with her grades and social life to keep their support of her transition. Through the rigours of squad training and amped-up social pressures (not to mention microaggressions and other queer youth problems), the two girls rekindle a friendship they thought they’d lost and discover there may be other, sweeter feelings springing up between them.
Cheer Up was a super cute and sweet read. I really like the art style and I think that the characters all had unique and wonderful quirks. Graphic novels are not a type of book that I would normally gravitate to, however, this one has changed that. After finishing Cheer Up I have found that I want to read more graphic novels as I like how much less daunting they can be compared to books. Daunting meaning that there are a lot fewer words and I feel like I can really take time with them.
I really loved the main characters and how they didn’t sit in their usual stereotypes. Highschool based stories are always a hit or miss with me as the whole ‘clique’ trope is not one that I enjoy. However, that was nowhere to be seen here as the social outcast got onto the cheerleading team and the cheerleaders were not the usual bullies that you see in films and TV.
Yes, the cheerleaders were mean to start with however they and all of the characters in this novel went through a great deal of development. Which I was extremely impressed with as this was only just over 100 pages and the development was completely believable. No one changed who they were in an instant and it was actually really nice to see/read.
The romance side was very sweet and a great representation of what a high school first love should be like. There was no big coming out moment or shocked parents or peers, which I loved as often these types of stories can go over the top with those types of situations with ‘friends’ not wanting to associate with them anymore or parents not supporting their child’s choices. But there was none of that here. Everything happened with a quiet classiness that was surprising but welcome in a story about teenagers.
Cheer Up is a graphic novel that I will no doubt be recommending to everyone I know and I suggest you think about picking it up yourself when it is published on August 10th.
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Like this post? Why not read this one too: To Be Read: August 2021