Gorgeous, hopeful story

filled star filled star filled star filled star star unfilled
jenniferforjoy Avatar


Recommended: yep!
for a story about family and identity, for a story about hope, for a lot of pain on the way to happiness

Wow y'all, I don't know why I ever had reservations thinking I might not like this that much. Past me was an absolute idiot, what about this WOULDN'T appeal to me?? And I was happily proven wrong because it was a delight!

Focusing on the art to start, because it is GORGEOUS. There's so much movement in it, which can be really hard to do without it getting confusing and chaotic, but this just felt beautiful. It was really highlighted in the scenes with the lion dancing where the movements were the focus.

The coloring was masterful as well. So much mood was carried with it, and it made moving from the gray, depressed, dull days to the bright shock of liveliness and community just as impactful for me as a reader as it was to the characters. I was lulled into thinking the gray was all the world had to offer, then turned a page to a vibrant landscape and was reminded of all the good that exists.

Some of the fonts were a bit tough to read, although they did align pretty well with the vibe of the character using them. I loved the way they emphasized characterization even to colors and fonts.

And of course, the story. There's a lot in it, but it doesn't feel like too much. Every thread of story gets proper attention and has me feeling fulfilled and satisfied with it. Her family, friends, love interests, and own internal struggles are all equally shown as important and threaded with one another. It also does not always go in the directions you might expect, and I appreciated the balanced look at romance and interest, especially with younger protagonists.

Acceptance was a big theme of this, although it wasn't always easy to come by. But there is a wide range of people in this book, and all of them are shown as lovable even when they have difficult traits that are highlighted as well. Intentions are given weight, and it was surprisingly nuanced considering the perspective was largely from that of a teenager.

Overall, this was definitely worth reading and I'm so glad I did. I woke up today still thinking about it, and found myself smiling or wincing with memories of moments in the story. I'm glad this story exists.