Cover Image: Blackwater

Blackwater

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Member Reviews

Cuter than I expected! The pacing was a bit strange, but I really liked the awkward staggering of the two boys together. Tony was such a sweetie and I loved his character arc. And Eli was a BABY (complimentary). I adored these two. Even Biff had his moments. I think the lycanthropy angle was a great metaphor for high school and teenage anger and despair. It all fell together very sweetly. I’d love to see more of the trio ghost hunting and settling haunted souls.
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I have had "Blackwater" on my shelf for literal months and now I'm so upset it took me so long. I enjoyed both the storyline and the art style. I went in knowing that the book was marketed as LGBTQ, but was surprised by how subtle many of the characters were. Eli's scars and mention of surgery were not glaring and the whole focal point. Tony's hesitancy about being gay and coming out to his father were not the biggest part of the story. These characters were able to be queer without it being their whole identity or the entirity of the plot. It gave room for the "monster" plot to breathe and for the metaphor of the "monster" to be seen.
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I had a really hard time finishing this graphic novel. The story was all over the place and really lacked substance. It was like riverdale meets stranger things. It has so much potential but the whole thing just really felt flat. The thing I did love was the illustrations. I was really wanting to love this but it felt so rushed.
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Loved how diverse the main characters are in this graphic novel. Unfortunately, I was not a fan of the story or really the art. It was cool that the authors switched off illustrating the chapters.
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I did enjoy this book. It was a quick and easy read but there were so many unanswered questions the book raised. Where did Eli’s power come from, from for example. This was a sweet book, but it had a lot of plot holes and questionable moments. The characters didn’t have any super clear chemistry and I wish they had more similarities and actual conversations.
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Blackwater by Jeannette Arroyo and Ren Graham
Publication date: July 19, 2022

Date read: September 23, 2022



Tony Price is a popular high school track star and occasional delinquent. Eli Hirsch is a quiet teen who often misses school due to his chronic illness… and also sees ghosts. After Tony encounters a monster on a forest hike with his friend, his life - and his relationship with Eli - takes a dramatic change.  Co-illustrated by Jeannette Arroyo and Ren Graham, who alternate chapters with their own style. 

I liked the idea behind this story - werewolf stories are mostly fun, in my opinion, if done well. And the werewolf part of the story was actually done pretty well. I have no complaints about the plotting or the way that plot unfolded. 

The rest of the story was a bit hit or miss. The characters were a bit cliché, although I did for the most part like them. I also felt that we needed much more backstory on Tony and Eli. Eli could have been a fascinating character, but his story especially felt so rushed, with blink-and-you’ll-miss-it references to chronic illness and top surgery, not to mention his history of seeing ghosts. 

I liked Tony, and I thought his story was decently developed, although more backstory on his previous relationship with Eli would have been nice. And while I liked that his father seemed unfazed when Tony came out to him, and it was a nice moment, it also felt so out of character for his dad that it was kind of a weird scene, when it should have just been nice. 

The choice to alternate chapters on the artwork worked fine, although neither artist’s work was really too my taste. But that is completely a matter of style and preference - everyone likes different art styles, and there was nothing wrong with the way this story was drawn. It just wasn’t my favorite. 

Overall, this story was just okay. I enjoyed the werewolf plot, and would read more if they did a sequel to this book. But as a whole, it was lacking depth and felt pretty rushed and unfinished as far as the characters were concerned. I’d recommend it as a quick, fun horror comic, but it wasn’t one of my favorites. 

Rating: 3/5 stars 

Content warning: bullying, death of a parent, ableism

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced sample of this book.
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I was expecting more conspiracy and high weirdness, less standard monsters, given the title. The writing is a bit sloppy and most of the book is just an introduction.
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This graphic novel had everything I could want. Queerness? Check. Romance? Check. Intrigue? Check. Humor? Check. Werewolves? Ghosts? Check. Check. Definitely a book I had fun reading and one I will happily recommend to others.
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This was an interesting graphic novel. I was honestly a little confused at the beginning. We really just got thrown in there with no info. As we read on though I feel like we got into the groove of the story and it read a lot better. The plot of this is pretty solid, although like I said it wasn't really clear what was going on in the beginning. But I did like the story once we got going. The artwork was solid, I did wish that it was colored in. I feel like that would have added so much to the story. Overall, this is just ok.
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This lovely graphic novel is just right for the season of Halooween, if you don't mind me saying. 
I am glad that I had a chance to read it, because it was full of high school drama, spookiness and a goth best friend. I have not read anything that was along the fantasy line with werewolves and ghost since I was in high school and it bought back the memories and the fun times. 
The graphic novel is beautiful colored and I love that fact. It is much easier to follow and I do not have to use as much brain power to picture what the characters are like. It makes for a much faster read. Seeing Anthony and Eli grow together was cute. While of course what Eli did was something that was horrible, I understand why he did it and coming clean helped the both of them together. 
I just wished I knew more of what happened to Anthony's friend. It leaves it quite open at the end. But I am glad that everything was somewhat fixed and more healty at the end. 
I only have one bad thing to say, and that is the story was so fast. I feel that there were definitely some avenues that were cut off like Biff and it made for a more open ending than something that was good to go. 
I wonder if the author will continue the story and thats why they left such a unfulfilled filling to the grpahic novel. 
Overall, the grqaphic novel was great. I would change a little it about it, but hopefully this is because it is not fully done.
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I didn’t love this book—it just wasn’t for me. I found both of the characters unlikable, and the supernatural plot was thin. The art itself was well done, but I would have preferred color rather than black and white.
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For those who love graphic novels and things like Riverdale, Blackwater is a great way to pass the time. The story follows high school track star, Tony Price, and Eli Hirsch. Price is popular at school, but occasionally does stupid things to try and get his dad's attention. Hirsch has an autoimmune disorder that makes it difficult for him to develop a social life. In the town of Blackwater, Maine, they have to face a whole slew of supernatural forces, as well as their feelings for each other. 


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DNF after chapter 1. I didn't dislike this and I think if I would have finished reading it I possibly would've rated it a 3 star, but I found the two different artistic styles to be jarring and I wasn't gripped or captivated by the plot. Once my eARC expired, I could have purchased a copy, but I don't feel compelled to and this is one graphic novel that I am okay with not finishing or hunting down.
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I DNFd this book; I usually love graphic novels, but I didn't care much for the way the boys were drawn. They seemed too old, and it was hard to place them in a specific setting because they seemed both old-fashioned and modern. I can usually get behind that type of visual aesthetic (like in the series Loki, for example), but I don't think it was particularly well executed in this particular story. However, I did like the story itself. I love a little mystery and I like a dark graphic novel, and it was very Riverdale-esque to me. I think fans of Riverdale or similar type of darker teen drama will really enjoy this particular graphic novel.
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There's a lot going on in Blackwater, and yet, it's handled so matter-of-factly that the social issues slide right by, normalized in the way that such things should be, but rarely are. Those things include werewolves, ghosts, relationships, family problems, and high school - among others.

Tony is a track star, a good student, at the top of his game. Eli is frequently absent, does poorly in school, and has an immune disorder. They attend the same school, even some of the same classes, but they've never really paid attention to each other, until one day, something happens, and they begin interacting. As their friendship grows, in fits and starts, other things are happening too - for example, some strange creature has been sighted in the woods, and Tony realizes that Eli is serious when he says he can see ghosts.

Told in a simple, clear style, with illustrations that complement and highlight the story, this graphic novel combines the best elements of multiple genres, although horror is probably the closest - but the horror portion of the story takes a back seat to the social issues that teens deal with in high school which are highlighted throughout the plot. Recommended for middle school through adult readers, this graphic novel would make a good base for discussion with teens who are struggling with any of the issues experienced by the characters.
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This mysterious book just didn't work for me. The characters needed more development and the stereotypes did not add to the plot.
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Loved this horror graphic novel told by two different artists/authors. I especially enjoyed the way the art switched between chapters. It will be a hit in high schools for sure!
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I thought this graphic horror with a m/m romance would be right up my alley, but unfortunately, I don't think it was executed to the standards I had for it. There were a lot of plot lines started but not enough time and care to sort them out and finish them in a satisfying way. Also, the romance was a little...meh for me. Luckily, this was quick, so I don't feel like I wasted my time, but I wouldn't be quick to recommend this.
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Blackwater by Jeannette Arroyo and Ren Graham is a beautifully told story of finding oneself, standing up for your loved ones, and surviving the difficulties of young life.  The artwork switches from one artist to the other, which made for a very interesting reading experience.  I especially enjoyed the deft handling of the LGBTQ aspects of the main characters.
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I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The ARC's pictures were occasionally choppy, and only contained half the book, so I waited until the graphic novel came out and am reviewing the entire finalized book now.

Tony and Eli are unlikely friends (and possibly something more). Tony is a popular athlete with a father who ignores him, Eli is an unpopular boy with a chronic disease and a mother who doesn't trust him to do anything. But as the boys begin to bond, something supernatural and very dangerous begins happening in their town.

I enjoyed this graphic novel. The two main characters are very likeable, and the third (female) teenager in their group is a great supporting character (the other teenager, a male, is very irritating, but that appears to be the main point of his character up to a certain point). The supernatural and paranormal elements are woven in well, and the story is intriguing. The romance is very sweet and I was definitely rooting for them. This is an enjoyable, quick read.
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