Cover Image: Frizzy


Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I loved this one! The art is gorgeous and the story was so relatable as a Black girl with curly, frizzy hair. I can’t wait to share this one with my students. Themes of self love and having pride in your familial roots, #allhairisgoodhair ❤️❤️
Was this review helpful?
I received this e-arc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

So many of us are held to standards and biases from previous generations. It is hard to make changes against how we have been raised. Marlene is in middle school and spends most Sundays at the salon with her mother where they get their hair straightened. Marlene loves spending time with her mom, but hates the salon. She is told her hair is "bad" because it is curly and her scalp always hurts from her hair being pulled to get out tangles. As she starts to realize that "good" hair is straight and "bad" hair is curly, she wonders why that is and why she can't just wear it naturally curly? And why has she been told that it's what's inside that counts, but so many people only look at the outside? As she ponders these ideas and tries to remain calm when she is bullied at school, she begins to realize there is definitely a contradiction. She also spends time with her Tia Ruby who has naturally curly hair and shows Marlene how to style her hair correctly and the tools to use. In the end, she helps her mom see how much she dislikes the salon and wants to be herself with curly hair. Well told and can apply to other issues besides hair. Great job!
Was this review helpful?
This is a very important book for lots of girls out there who need to know that feeling comfortable in how they look is important and that showing off their natural hair is something to be celebrated. 

The illustrations in Frizzy are stunning and help convey the main characters emotions in a way that will be easily understood by a younger audience.
Was this review helpful?
An absolutely charming graphic novel about self love and hair heritage. I wish I had this book when I was a kid whose family had no idea how to teach me to care for my kinky hair  — I think this book will make so many children and teens feel seen and understood, and hopefully start good conversations between kids and their parents.
Was this review helpful?
Frizzy by Claribel A. Ortega is a graphic novel about Marlene, a middle school-aged girl with naturally curly hair. Every week, she and her mom go to the salon to straighten their hair. What Marlene's mom doesn't know is that Marlene hates going to the salon. Other people around her talk about 'good' and 'bad' hair in ways that make Marlene feel self-conscious and bad. With the help of her Tia Ruby, Marlene learns to love her hair and talk to her mom about the way she feels. 

This book addresses the way young Black girls are made to feel bad about their natural hair. It also talks about Black women's experiences with anti-Blackness. The illustrations are beautiful and the characters are expressive - when Marlene is frustrated with the salon, upset by her extended family, or excited about her hair, her emotions come through clearly. The relationships between Marlene and Tia Ruby, Marlene and her best friend Camila, and Marlene and her mom are all incredible. 

Marlene's story can be a window/mirror/sliding glass door (credit: Rudine Sims Bishop). It's especially important as a mirror for kids (even adults!) with the same experiences as Marlene.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC. Frizzy was like Hair Love, but for middle grade in graphic novel form. The illustrations were phenomenal—my favorite part of the book! I love the message behind the book, but I do wish it had a little more substance and plot! It really, truly was just about hair and loving yourself the way you’re made. But with most middle grade novels, there’s always someone that needs to hear this story!
Was this review helpful?
This book… I’ve had such an emotional response to it that it’s difficult to articulate how important and engaging it is. Challenging cultural norms (such as the very idea that there is “good” hair”), loving yourself in the face of anti-blackness, the importance of having allies at your back… Ortega gives us the real, hurtful, hopeful, and ultimately liberating journey one takes in embracing their naturally curly or kinky hair. And Bousamra’s illustrations are edible. I’ll be talking this up to my colleagues and patrons before and after release date, an I’ve already shared it on all my socials.
Was this review helpful?
I thought that this book was so beautiful. I grew up in a home similar to the main character and had a really hard time accepting the way I looked, and even longer to figure out how to take care of myself the way I needed to. I think it is still far too rare that little brown girls get to see themselves represented in media and books. I'm so happy that this exists. I wish I had this when I was growing up but I will definitely be recommending it for years to come.
Was this review helpful?
Frizzy by Claribel A. Ortega is a powerful middle grade graphic novel about embracing and loving who you are. In it, Marlene dreads going to the salon every Sunday to have her naturally curly hair straightened to be more "presentable" and acceptable to her mother. Fortunately, she has an amazingly cool Tia who teaches her how to take pride in her heritage, her curls, and gives Marlene the tools she needs to be happy with who she really is. This is a great book for tweens who want to better embrace their curls and learn to fight the bullies and naysayers with personal power and pride. 

CW: bullying, grief

Advanced copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
**Disclaimer: I recieved a free eARC of Frizzy by Claribel A. Ortega through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this opportunity.

Frizzy by Claribel A. Ortega is a middle grade graphic novel about a young girl who is learning to come to terms with her hair and the outside perceptions of it.  I rated it four stars on Goodreads.  It is set to be published on October 18th, 2022.

Here's the summary from Goodreads:

A middle grade graphic novel about Marlene, a young girl who stops straightening her hair and embraces her natural curls.
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.

This graphic novel was absolutely adorable in the styling.  I loved the art and the colours.  It was so bright and well designed.  The story came across clearly and was very well illustrated.  I loved the design of each of the characters because it really helped their personality come through and to express who they were as a character.  The colours worked really well, and the story was able to come across quite vividly.

The storyline itself was quite moving.  I think most people would be able to relate to the themes that are being conveyed if they can't relate to the specific issue presented in the "good hair" vs not aspects of the storyline.  Marlene's lived experience was not the same as what I lived through, but I still felt quite emphathetic towards her and wishing that people would take more time to listen to her and to support what she needed.  There were a couple of points that I found myself tearing up because I just really felt for her and I really appreciated that the author and illustrator were able to evoke such intense feelings in me.

It's a really lovely story overall, and I genuinely recommend it.  It didn't completely blow me out of the water like I need for a five star, but it was really, really well done and I appreciate how good it was.  You should definitely check it out when it publishes in October.
Was this review helpful?
I loved this book. I, myself, do not have curly hair, but if I did, I would WANT this book. Learning to listen to your heart and to others is what this was all about. Accepting yourself and others for who they are, not what society expects is shouted from the rooftops in this graphic novel. The illustrations were perfect & I loved the illustrations that Marlene would draw when she was feeling down were a perfect representation of her hair & her dreams! Definitely one for curly-haired girls & boys.
Was this review helpful?
Frizzy is a great graphic novel.  Like many movies and books of the last several months, Frizzy shows how generational trauma impacts a young girl.  For Marlene, her hair is the source of many conversations with her mother- keep your hair neat, keep it clean, keep it contained.  But Marlene just wants to learn to care for hair in all its curly glory!
Was this review helpful?
A sweet, comical, and heartfelt story about a girl becoming herself. A prefect pick for classroom libraries and schools who value inclusion :)
Was this review helpful?
This is just such a great story. I loved it so much and had my daughter (11) read it as well and she adores it. I would absolutely recommend.
Was this review helpful?
This graphic novel is a pure delight! It is a perfect way to infuse a window, mirror, or sliding glass door into bookshelves. I loved the pictures, style, and colors just as much as the story. A true sign of a great graphic novel!
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to FirstSecond (via NetGalley) for the ARC!

I absolutely adored this book! The story and the illustrations were beautiful and meshed together seamlessly to tell a story that many kids will be able to relate to.

Marlene has naturally curly hair, but she has to suffer trips to the salon every week to straighten it at her mother’s behest. Marlene hates the salon and all the comments about how it would be so much easier (and cheaper) if she had “good” hair. Marlene likes her curly hair, but no one else seems to. Except her Tía Ruby, whose curls are beautiful and soft, unlike Marlene’s frizzy mess. Marlene has to decide if she’s brave enough to tell her mom she doesn’t want to go to the salon anymore and if she’s brave enough to wear her hair the way she really wants.

This book tackles so many tough subjects, but in a way that is easily accessible and understandable to middle grade readers. Throughout Marlene’s journey to accepting her hair, Ortega also addresses:
-White beauty standards and how damaging they can be to people who don’t fit them
-Grief and loss of a family member
-Hypocritical statements from adults (specifically that they tell Marlene what’s on the inside is important, but they put so much emphasis on her physical appearance)
-Generational trauma
All of these topics are things that Marlene deals with in the book, but she doesn’t have names for everything. The conversation she has with her Tía Ruby names and tackles Anti-Blackness in a way gets to the point and doesn’t gloss over the complicated history that Dominican people have with their hair. Ruby explains to Marlene why people in her family think of curly hair as “bad” and how Ruby herself had to unlearn that and come to love her own curly hair. She even explains why Marlene’s mom, her sister, has such a complicated relationship with her own hair (which touches on the generational trauma). These are topics that kids like Marlene have to deal with all the time, and to have the words to express these feelings and emotions is very powerful.

Ultimately, FRIZZY is a love letter to curly hair and the care that goes into maintaining it. It’s a book that says the difficult parts out loud and acknowledges that even adults don’t always do the right thing. But the main thing that FRIZZY tells us is that it’s never too late to unlearn harmful ideas and try to love yourself the way you were born.
Was this review helpful?
What makes hair “good” or “bad”, “pelo bueno” o “pelo malo”? If you are a female person of color you’ve probably heard these terms once or twice. Author Claribel Ortega tackles this topic in her new graphic novel, Frizzy. Marlene goes to the hair salon with her mother every Sunday to have her hair straightened. Marlene has abundant hair with tight curls and the straightening is becoming a dreaded and painful tradition. Marlene would like nothing more than to be herself and to be appreciated for the person she is, instead she feels a constant comparison to her “beautiful” cousin whose long, cascading, straight blond hair is the envy of the family.

Ortega presents authentic dialogue and experiences for Marlene. She feels judged by her family and her self worth begins to crumble,  Aunt Ruby knows all too well what Marlene is going through and teaches her how to love her natural curls.

How I wish this book was around when I was in middle school! So many of us in the Latine community endure this criticism, almost like a rite of passage. This story affirms that we do not need to conform to other peoples’ standards of beauty. It’s an uplifting story about confronting fears and developing self-compassion. Highly recommended.
Was this review helpful?
Frizzy is a coming of age tale for everyone. Who hasn't felt awkward and unappreciated simply for who they are? Ortega has made a loving and beautiful tale about self discovery and how we can always be true to ourselves.
Was this review helpful?
Wow, that one got me right in the heart! This was such a beautiful story about Marlene, her hair, and her family. So many generations passing down "helpful" comments leads to some very stressful situations for Marlene. 

The illustrations in this book are beautiful and very detailed.

I highly recommend this graphic novel.
Was this review helpful?
What's not to love about this charming MG graphic novel. Marlene is a headstrong tween who despises Sundays spent in the salon, transforming her mane of frizzy "bad" curls into "good" straight, smooth locks. Marlene's journey  to appreciating  and loving her curls  is  so tender and sweet, and her developing relationship with her mother is a joy to read. So many kids need this book! I can already think of a few in my life who'll be receiving this as a gift.
Was this review helpful?