Cover Image: Frizzy


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Member Reviews

Marlene has curly hair, which is, in the eyes of her family, not presentable. Her mother takes her to the salon every weekend to get her hair done. No more curls for the teenager, but perfect straight hair. The thing is, Marlene hates it. She strongly dislikes the hours lost to get her hair done. She would love so much to be able to be herself and keep her natural curls. She doesn’t understand why her curls are not considered pretty by those around her. So one day enough is enough. Marlene decides to say no and voices what she really wants.

This graphic novel will totally talk to all women with curly hair, whatever your age. I was so touched by the young heroine that fights her family to be herself and be able to keep her curls. This book story brought back childhood memories of the fights to brush my hair. Yes, I have curly hair. Very curly. Like sheep curly. The fights were not about straightening my hair like young Marlene, but to cut. Of course all my classmates had long straight hair, so I wanted long hair too ! All that to say that Frizzy is a great graphic novel that talked to me a lot.

Marlene is a sweet girl that loves three things: books, her cool Tía Ruby and hanging out with her best friend Camila. She has a very hard time to accept herself and to think that she is good enough, as everybody keeps telling her how not pretty, not good her hair are. The most difficult part is how she witnesses her family admiring her perfectly blond cousin, who has beautiful, presentable and good straight hair.

The art is absolutely great. And there is a chicken in the story, which is a plus. Frizzy is about diversity, self love and about acceptance. This middle grade graphic novel is a strong testimony about the power to embrace yourself and accept our differences.
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Lovely, quick read graphic novel which celebrates being yourself!!
Marlene has been going to the salon with her mother every Sunday for as long as she can remember, getting her long curls straightened out. But part of her wants to embrace her natural tresses. Will she be able to carve out her own identity without offending her family?

The cutest illustrations and simple text come together to make a positive read with a great message! 

Thanks so much to NetGalley and the publishers for letting me read this title in exchange for my feedback.
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Frizzy is a middle-grade graphic novel about Marlene, a young girl struggling to accept her natural hair because of false western beauty standards passed down through generations.

This truly hurt my heart and soul. The pain and suffering caused by racist beliefs passed on in this family made me most uncomfortable. I couldn’t believe that Marlene’s whole family would tell her how terrible her natural hair is and that she isn’t worth as much as when she straightens it. I just wanted to hold Marlene tight and tell her that she is perfect.

But I think this exactly makes this story so powerful. It made me understand that hate can hurt multiple generations because it is so hard to break free from it. We must break these patterns and cherish everyone for who they are, no matter how they look. We need to pass on kindness and love. Only then will we make everyone feel worthy, because they are.

This is definitely a hard read to get through by yourself, especially as a middle grader, and should probably be read with help from an adult – family, friend or teacher – to start a conversation in a safe environment.

This is Frizzy: a powerful and important conversation starter about growing up and feeling comfortable and happy with yourself.
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Thank you Netgalley and First Second Books for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

First off the artwork was absolutely stunning in this and the story really tugged at the heartstrings. There were a few times I teared up at how Marlene was treated by family and classmates. So many Black and brown people are told at a young age that kinks are "bad hair" and straight hair is "good hair" when all hair is good hair. The scenes with her tia showing her how to do her hair was so beautiful. Definitely a five star read if I was able to finish in one sitting!
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Frizzy by Claribel A. Ortega was a really great graphic novel with amazing messages about self love and acceptance. A solid read with beautiful graphics and a nice story about growing into yourself.
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Read on August 17th, 2022. Written on October 17th, 2022.

One word: amazing.

This graphic novel is cute, sweet, educational, inclusive, fantastic and precisely what kids should read, especially little girls who feel the same way as Marlene.

Her journey from "suffering" on the salon every weekend, to embracing her beautiful curls is incredibly thrilling to read. Her acceptance to the fact that she can look a certain way and still love how she looks, without the stares and the opinions of others, is so important and, undoubtedly, a great lesson for everyone, not just children.

I have no doubt this should be read by kids or read by parents to kids or everything in between, what matters is that the beautiful message in this book is shared and embraced.

Claribel Ortega did something absolutely extraordinary with this, and I am so thankful that I got the opportunity to read it.

Signing off,
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A masterpiece. Made me cry numerous times. Has such a great message about self-love, family, and being yourself. Beautifully drawn and written, this graphic novel is highly recommended for anyone!
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I really enjoyed this book!

CW; mentions of parental loss, bullying, anti-Blackness, grief

This book follows a young girl’s journey on acceptance of her hair, and interweaves stories of dealing with grief, dealing with school bullies, and dealing with conflicting ideas of what is best for her hair from her mom. With the help of her cool aunt and her best friend, she is able to learn self-love and change the mind of her mom. 

I really loved the art style and the storyline. I loved the purpose of this book and how so many complex topics were tackled. This is a beautiful graphic novel that I know is going to change lives.
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Frizzy by Claribel A. Ortega is a Middle-Grade graphic novel about a Dominican American girl Marlene and her never-ending struggles with her frizzy hair. 

Ortega has addressed important issues teens face - self-esteem, self-love, the impact of parental approval, the concept of beauty and outer appearance, and acceptance of one’s roots. 

The chapter titles are cute and apt to the story that follows. I loved the font, text size, and vocabulary. They are perfect for the genre and target audience. 

Rose Bousamra’s vibrant illustrations depict a diverse cast and bring them to life in an endearing fashion. 
Frizzy is a realistic graphic novel and should be read by children and adults. It carries subtle profound messages that need to be spread far and wide. 

I received a free copy of this book from First Second Books through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Wordsopedia Rating 4.6/5
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I was going to attempt to review this personal graphic novel but honestly, I can't because what this book means to me and other folks like me is priceless.

I kept a Twitter thread while I read this book because my entire childhood was just flashing back. Strong reactions to words, the way some characters were treated, the thought process on our hair that I was raised with by those around me, and how hard that is to undo, to unlearn, to love yourself.

I share all my thoughts and experiences in the Twitter thread here.
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Thank you to netgalley for providing an e-galley for review. I loved "Frizzy". This middle grade graphic novel deals with good hair/bad hair myth that persists in certain communities when it's all just hair and how to take care of it. The scenes in the salon that are both bonding and repelling mother and daughter speaks so much for so little dialogue. This was an exceptional graphic novel of familial love and acceptance.
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Big thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an eARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This was a powerful, beautiful novel for ages 8-12. I think it could be really beneficial for all age groups though. Marlene is an interesting character that has a lot of spunk and tenacity She was a joy to read. I think this would be perfect in all library collections.
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This was absolutely perfect. I loved the art style, the color choices, the story and the characters. Everything was beautiful. Marlene is an amazing main character and I feel like this is a book all ages will be able to enjoy. I found it to be quite an emotional story and it focuses on lots of important messages. I cried quite a bit while reading it. Marlene was just very easy to relate too and love, and the ending was very heart-warming.
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Thanks to NetGalley and First Second Books for this advanced copy!

As a Latina with very curly hair, I can't say how much I related to this book. I was speechless and sobbing throughout the entire read. Marlene, our main character, is a girl who has to get her hair done every weekend to look "presentable" but longs to let her natural curls shine. She's in love with her curls even when society and her family view curly hair as "bad" or "messy." 

Throughout the book, we see Marlene struggle with her self-expression as she wants to keep her mother happy but also wants to decide to embrace her curls and, with that, herself. I felt like I was Marlene when reading this story as many of her thoughts of feeling "ugly" when her curly hair didn't turn out the way she wanted it translated to my own experiences as a child when I was doing my own experiments. Curly hair is like a trial and error experience, and Ortega did a fantastic job presenting that within Marlene's story.

And despite not receiving support from the majority of her family, Marlene has support from her best friend, Camilla, and her aunt, Tia Ruby, which help Marlene gain the resolve to start expressing her desires to her mother. 

Lastly, my favorite scene from Frizzy is when Marlene is at Tia Ruby's house doing the curly hair routine. Marlene finally got to experience how beautiful her natural hair can be and understood how easy it can be to style her own hair.

Ortega did amazing with this book; my final rating is 5 stars. Whenever you have a chance, please read this story as it touches upon family, fighting back against beauty standards, and, most importantly, self-acceptance!
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What an important, beautiful, endearing middle grade graphic novel. There are so many middle grade readers who will relate to Marlene. All of her life, she is constantly told that she has "bad hair." That she needs to go weekly to get it straightened in order to fit in with society. But all she wants is to wear her curly hair, to be herself. 

Everything about this book works so well together, from the art style to the writing to the characters. The emotion comes through so well, not just through the illustrations, but through the writing as well. My favorite scene was definitely when Marlene was at her aunt's house, learning about her hair and why so many people said her hair was "bad." The fact that she eventually gets to just be herself is so heartwarming; I loved it so much.

There are some lovely side characters as well. Marlene's best friend always has her back, even trying to help her figure out how to wear her hair naturally. Of course, her aunt is amazing, and we get to see Marlene's relationship with her mom evolve throughout the book as well. All of these relationships help Marlene on her journey in learning to be herself, and I can see so many kids being drawn to her story.

All in all, if you're looking for a good, heartwarming graphic novel to read this October, definitely pick this one up!
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This is such a cute story! I absolutely loved the way the author told the story from a child's point of view. Our main character Marlene finds her voice in expressing her desire to rock her natural curls! She doesn't understand why her beautiful, curly hair is not considered "good" and why she has to spend EVERY weekend in the salon; which she absolutely HATES!

We follow Marlene on a journey of self acceptance and expression! With the help and support of her best friend and her favorite aunt, she finds her voice! She also finds a natural hair routine that works for her! One of the things that I LOVE about this story, is the author really portrays the struggle that a lot of us face/faced regarding our natural hair, texture discrimination, and even more so, how this all can effect a child. Oftentimes, the identity and self esteem of children can be molded by the feedback and messaging they receive from those around them. If they continually receive negative feedback about themselves, they may begin to internalize it and, unfortunately, believe it.

'Frizzy' is the perfect book for anyone with young children! It's a story about family, community, and most importantly, self acceptance!

Kudos to Claribel A. Ortega for this awesome story! And Kudos to Rose Bousamra for the amazing artwork!

Thank you to NetGalley and First Second Books for this advanced copy!
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This was a beautifully well done book, featuring our main character who's hair is too curly for her family and doesn't fit traditional beauty standards. A great story following a character who comes into herself!

Thank you to netgalley and the publishers for providing me with an arc for an honest review!
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“I wanted to be myself. I wanted that to be enough and for everyone to love me. Especially my mom.”

Marlene has always loved her hair, but there’s one problem: no one else seems to. Every Sunday, she and her mom go to the salon, and Marlene gets her hair straightened into “good hair”—except Marlene doesn’t understand why her curls are considered “bad.” Frustrated, she turns to her best friend Camilla and her Tia Ruby for help. Struggling with bullies and hair hijinks, Marlene will have to come face to face with her family’s fears if she truly wants to learn how to appreciate and proudly wear her curly hair.

FRIZZY is such a gosh-darn cute middle grade graphic novel, and I loved every second reading it! It’s a pretty quick read, but brimming with honesty and heart. While Marlene’s journey isn’t easy, writer Claribel Ortega and illustrator Rose Bousamra do a fantastic job portraying her confronting both internal and external prejudice. I absolutely loved Marlene’s voice, and the illustrations vividly brought the story to life. FRIZZY is the perfect window and mirror for readers everywhere, and I would love to read a continuation of Marlene’s story sometime in the future. Make sure you get your hands on a copy of this book ASAP, and I promise your heart will thank you.  

Content Warnings: Bullying, racism, generational trauma

(Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes are taken from an advanced copy and may be subject to change upon final publication.)
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First of all I want to thank netgalley for providing me with this graphic novel.

This graphic novel tells us the story of Marlene, a girl with curly hair, a feature that the women in her family do not like as they take it as something bad, and to please her mother she must constantly fix her hair, something which makes her suffer a lot, since she wants to be free and taming her hair implies that she still has to be calmer. but she wants to be able to be like her aunt ruby ​​who lets herself go, lets her hair be free.
This whole situation has made his relationship with his mother tense.
I really liked how it portrays the relationship between mother and daughter, the dynamics that exists between the Latin family. I don't know if I came to feel identified but there were certain circumstances that made me say: "something like this happened to me too"
what the protagonist is looking for is that her mother can accept that she is beautiful as she is.

The illustration in the book is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen, the details in the protagonist's hair, uff chef's kiss.
I love the novel and the message it seeks to leave, it is something that has happened to one of us, whether it is because of their hair, physical appearance or even sexual orientation, we all want to be accepted and loved. I gave it 5 stars out of 5
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Seriously. There's just HAIR.

Unfortunately, Marlene has been told most of her life that she has "bad hair." This means weekly trips to the salon with her mother to get it straightened. As Marlene begins to embrace her curls, her relationship with her mother suffers and she has to deal with bullies at school. Luckily she has an AMAZING aunt with curls galore--and Marlene is about to get an education in not only haircare...but loving herself, as well.

What I love most about this is that all the women in Marlene's life love her and have good intentions--even those around her trying to "fix" her hair. Marlene's best friend Camila and her Tia Ruby are the kind of people I wish every young girl had in their lives--protective and supportive and confident.

Powerful and emotional (I had to wipe a few tears there at the end) and perfect for middle grade readers.
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