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.
Author & Illustrator: Claribel A. Ortega & Rose Bousamra
Publication Date: October 18, 2022
Publisher: First Second
Genres: Middle-Grade, Graphic Novel, Contemporary
Adorable. Engaging. Great message!
On the surface, this book was about loving your hair in all forms. In reality, this book goes a little deeper. This book was about loving yourself (hair included), dealing with long-dealt with harmful ideas that are knowingly or unknowingly engraved in our minds by family members, and being happy where you’re at. This book addressed all of these issues in a really beautiful and simple way. It’s made for middle-grade readers so the core message needed to be conveyed simply and it certainly was.
On top of the important conveyance of message, the art was really beautiful! We got to see Marlene throughout different stages of her hair journey and in her roller coaster of emotions. All of her feelings and thoughts were shown so beautifully and clearly. It was easy to like Marlene. She was a young girl trying to figure out how to be happy without making her mother unhappy. Marlene made mistakes throughout the book which is very on-par for a middle-grade novel and they were addressed well.
I can’t recommend Marlene’s story enough! It’s a novel for all, but especially those needing an extra self-love push.
Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed a gifted and advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
To check out my other reviews, click here. Or to check out more books by Claribel A. Ortega, go to her GoodReads profile or her website.
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