Wonderful graphic novel about expressing yourself

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This is a quick graphic novel that can be read in one sitting and you'll probably want to do so.

Marlene is a young girl being raised by her mother. Her mother wants her to be "presentable" and brings her to the salon every Sunday (plus for special events) to get her hair straightened. Marlene has been told that straight hair is good and curly hair is bad, but Marlene just wants to be herself and keep her hair curly.

I really felt for Marlene. She deals with kids picking on her at school, but doesn't feel like she can really talk to her mother about it because it involves her hair. She is a very insightful little girl and recognizes the discrepancy between telling a child that beauty is on the inside, then judging them for how they look. She is very fortunate to have an amazing best friend and a smart, caring aunt to support her. As the story goes on, you learn why her mother feels the way she does about Marlene's hair and you watch the characters learn and grow.

I thought some of the quick-switch attitudes towards the end were a bit unrealistic, but overall I thought this was a wonderful and beautiful story. I really loved Marlene. She makes some mistakes trying to figure out how to be her best self, but she is a great character.

I think this will be a good story for young girls. There is a lot of discussion around not judging hair as "good" or "bad" as well as how to be yourself and why people make the decisions they do. I really enjoyed this one.

Thank you Bookish First for the early copy!