Cover Image: The Gulf

The Gulf

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Member Reviews

First, I like the artsyle 👌
Second, I love COMING OF AGE STORY and this graphic novel delivered!!!!
The theme it discussed is super relatable. It didn't just about teengers willing to runaway to find the commune, this is actually what's corrupting in our society. Why do they have to demand us to do things as soon as possible. Why cant we just live???? I feel you Oli 🥺🫶🏽
It contained lots of quotable conversation.

I love the friendship dynamics between Olivia, Milo and Alvin (but I'm still not sure about Liam and Mom. I actually would love to see more Olivia background in her family).

I wouldn't say this is a light book, however, it's still super enjoyable 👌✨

Thankyou netgalley and Penguin Random House Canada (Tundra Books) for the arc✨

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The Gulf is a coming of age graphic novel that followed three teens as they finish high school and decided what to do with their lives.
I really enjoyed the characters and felt they suited the art style well with the colour coding.
It was a nice easy read that I thoroughly enjoyed.

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I was having trouble because the pictures and words were so crowded I found it hard to read. However, I was really invested in the story and, in the end, the story was cathartic for me. Finding yourself is hard, and when you are unsure of yourself, it is impossible to have the kinds of relationships you want with other people. In the end, there is growth, in a realistic way.
Thanks to NetGalley for letting me read this

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I was hesitant to DNF until I saw that other reviewers had similar issues with the art style. I found the details to be too small and scratchy to make out details, and it was challenging to find text boxes and which characters they were connected to. I was also disappointed because I was drawn to this book because of the gorgeous colours on the cover, and inside it is completely monochromatic. I've read other YA graphic novels with limited colour palettes (Sheets, Heartstopper, This One Summer) and I think variation in colours could have provided a bit more clarity to the reader on what is happening in each panel, since the line work was hard to decipher.

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Thank you to the Penguin Random House Canada and Netgalley for letting me read an advanced copy.

I wasn't familiar with the author through his comic strip Blind Alley (though I will be checking that out soon,) but I did learn about his work after reading Ish back in 2022 and kept an eye out for new material after liking that. And The Gulf, while being a really good piece, sadly did not match my current taste in graphic novels and while I like road trip adventures and conversations about growing up, something didn't click for me.

Oli was the character I liked the most out of this bunch and her learning to kind of regulate her emotions and find out what exactly she wants aside from the frustrations of day-to-day life was great! But the interactions that led to it often felt distracting despite that being necessary to move the plot along. Out of the main four characters, Alvin was my second favorite while Liam and Milo took turns for getting on my nerves but they figured things out and that's all that matters.

also it could have just been an issue with how the Netgalley app works on my reading tablet but on page 109, panel 3. the words aren't in the word bubble which made it a little hard to read. But in terms of accessibility, this was a really good book. I didn't get a headache trying to read the font and the color palettes were easy on the eyes but stuck out so well with the art style.

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Unfortunately, this was underwhelming for me. Catcher in the Rye is one of my favorite books, stemming from first reading it in high school, and that being included in the blurb along with Stand by Me was a bit of a reach for me.

What I liked:
⛺️ I liked how simplistic the art style was. It helped to not distract from the main message.

⛺️ I liked the messaging behind this one. I don’t know a single person who hasn’t felt like they didn’t belong at some point in their life and questioned the way things are typically done. As an anti-government, “hippie chick” when I was around the same age as these characters, I could relate to their thoughts and feelings about “what comes next and why?”.

I also really liked the messaging that came from the older commune leader at the end about everyone wanting to do their own thing, but no one wanting to do the dishes at the end of the day. Maybe I'm just getting old, but that definitely made sense to me at the point in life I'm at now.

What could have been better:
⛺️ The pacing was very slow and disjointed at times. This made it hard to continue reading through to the following page.

⛺️ I didn’t really know enough about any of the characters to develop a like for them. Our FMC was a pretty lousy “leader”, I had no clue what happened with her and Liam before the book took off, and I really didn’t know anything about the other two characters as well. I felt we learned the most about “the pervert in the Fun Bus”, and I actually liked him because of getting to know him more than anyone else.

Thank you to NetGalley, Penguin Random House Canada, Tundra Books, and Adam de Souza for the opportunity to read this book. The opinions expressed above are honest and my own.

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I received this digital ARC courtesy of NetGalley. No major spoilers below.

The Gulf is gorgeous. I've followed Adam de Souza for a while and was so thrilled to see he'd created this project and it did not disappoint. This graphic novel is about Oli, who leaves home close to graduation to join a commune she saw in a pamphlet when she was eleven. She's joined by her good friend Milo and a newer friend Alvin. Oli is a misfit almost-eighteen year old who hates how the world works and wants to find a better way to live. She's raw, she's angry, she's hilarious, and deeply deeply stressful to follow. She's a realistic teenager.

The friends have an odyssey across this island while heading for the commune that feature suspicious trucks, douchebags, illegal camping, antifascist park rangers, fights, and good humor. I felt the rage and the hope of this story on every page.

The artwork in this graphic novel is off-the-charts gorgeous. de Souza does so much with ink lines and limited color palettes and the natural beauty of the island really comes through. There's a beautiful balance between dynamic scenes in panels and stillness to capture particular instances of quiet and beauty of the island. It feels cinematic.

The Gulf is a unique and beautiful work. I highly recommend it!

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Unfortunately, I wasn't able to finish this one. The art was soooo hard to follow! I had to stare at it for a long time to try to figure out what was going on. I am disappointed because the premise of the story sounds so good but without the art it just doesn't work. I almost thought maybe I had an incorrectly downloaded copy? But it might just be a style thing, not sure. I couldn't find any other pictures of the inside online!

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I only made it through a handful of pages before I decided this book is not for me. The art is unappealing and the storyline just didn't grab me. Lots of curse words (at least where I read) as well.

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The visuals seem unpolished and can be a bit overwhelming at times. As for the plot, it's unconventional, but I was curious to see how it would all unfold.

Why is it so hard to see that we could change everything if we truly wanted to? It's a question that many of us have probably asked ourselves at some point. Perhaps it's because we feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the task, or maybe we don't know where to start. Whatever the reason, it's important to remember that change is possible and that we all have the power to make a difference.

Thanks, NetGalley and the publisher, for the ARC of this book to read early in exchange for an honest review.

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review!

This story may be an "anti coming of age" tale, but it tells a story of the main character's first steps into her future as an adult. The storyline feels simple at first but slowly becomes more complex as you learn more and more about the main characters. Their journey to find the commune has all of them learning more about themselves, and what they want for their future. Oli's fierce rejection of capitalistic society and trying her best to break away from it into something outside of that system is highly relatable. The other characters who accompany Oli on her journey, Milo, and Alvin, were charming. The story doesn't focus as hard on them as it does on Oli, but what you learn about them makes them feel all the more real. The one thing that was weirdly absent was any explanation of the relationship between Oli and Liam. Yes, the story gives you the basics of what happened between them before and why it's awkward now. But beyond that, you learn next to nothing. The overall moral of the story, which is highlighted by the ending, was an excellent one. When we live in a time that is tumultuous as now, is it a well-needed reminder. The art style was very simplistic and a bit cartoony, but it honestly worked perfectly with the story. The overall vibe reminded me a bit of Life is Strange: True Colors. Not saying the story is the same, but the overall vibe and story tone feel similar.

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"The Gulf" by Adam de Souza totally pulled me in from the get-go.

I absolutely adored the art style (though one of the characters did look a tad more cartoonish than the others. Maybe that's just me). The whole atmosphere of the book was so lovely, even when I had to squint to figure out who was talking through the speech bubbles. No biggie, though – it didn't ruin the flow.

Oli's journey, filled with frustrations and dreams that come with growing up, really resonated with me. Her thoughts on the world's unfairness and the desire for community were so relatable. I felt like I was right there with her, wanting to escape into a Gulf Island commune. And the other characters, like Milo, Alvin, and Liam, each brought something special to the table. I just wish I could've learned a bit more about what was going on between Oli and Liam.

The ending was a soothing touch to an emotionally intense journey, like a calming hug after a rollercoaster ride. I think what really stuck with me was how real it all felt. This isn't just another coming-of-age story; it's an anti-coming-of-age tale, one that gives voice to all the messy, beautiful, and perplexing aspects of being a teen.

If you've ever felt the clash between youth and adulthood or just want a good read that makes you think and feel, give "The Gulf" a shot. It's a graphic novel that understands what it's like to stand at the crossroads, wondering where on earth to go next. But I feel like it's about more than just being a teen yearning for community: it's also about dealing, coping with the reality of what our society is going through, and the pain that comes from that.

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I really enjoyed this piece by Adam De Souza. At first, I found the story line to be a bit childish for students just graduating high school. However, as the story progressed, you saw the complexities of each character and why they are searching for a sense of belonging outside of their norm. It was a piece that kept unfolding. The last chapter, was really lovely and touching. This is a great book for students to read who may want to follow a ‘different path’ than high school, straight to college, straight to job. That path is not for everyone and I think this is a great representation of the life you can build if you choose to listen to yourself and not the noise around you.

High praise for the illustrations! The more muted colors and tones really help with the emotions of the characters.

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Thank you Netgalley and Penguin Random House Canada for the arc in return for my honest review.

The Gulf is a coming of age graphic novel that I’m sure will resonate with young adults today. Following three teens as they ditch the last day of high school to run off to live on a commune in the mid 2000s. Fed up with today’s capitalistic society, they decide they don’t want to just be another cog in the machine, where people are only deemed worthwhile as long as they are useful. The story follows them as they talk about what they want, or what they don’t want, in their lives, as they set out on the journey through the coastal B.C. forests.

I liked the story, I liked the characters, they felt real and were very charming. I could really relate to how they were feeling about society and life after high school. The art was dynamic and engaging, although I did feel that it could have benefited from more colour than just the highlight, I think it could have really brought the environments to life. Especially with all those deep wilderness settings, with more colour, it would have just completely transformed the story for me, maybe bringing it from a 3 star to a 4 star story.

Still, I think it was well done, with characters and themes that I think many people will really connect with.

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First of all thank you for the ARC.

Nicely drawn. Each page kept me turning as I wanted to know more about Oli. What felt like a weekend getaway turned out to be much more. Silliness and adventure is what you'll get in this graphic novel. I connected with the character because I too want change. Miss the change. Wish for the opportunity. This does have a sense of teenage mini-life crisis, but the clues have been there from the past.
This is definitely an enjoyable read.
I just reviewed The Gulf by Adam de Souza. #NetGalley

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In return for an honest review, I was given an ARC.

The graphics are raw and often distracting. The story is strange but I hung on to see what was going to happen. While all teens experience speed bumps during transitional times of their lives, a commune is definitely out there - a way to ignore the inevitable.

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I loved this story about a group of teens "running away" to join a commune. There was so much self discovery in this story and I loved watching the individual journeys as well as the journey as a whole. A strong story for teens struggling with what to do with their life, and where they fit in in a world that is not perfect.

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An interesting story of a teen life crisis with a take that I haven't often seen explored in these sorts of books. A lot of people want to do 'nothing' and just live, but this comes with a lot of societal expectations which causes internal conflict. The book finds a good way of illustrating that.
I loved that the chapters were color-coded and changed often to fit the chapter 'title' page. It doesn't always keep to this rule, there are two chapters that differ, but the story is compelling enough to get past that.
The art itself seems simplistic, but it actually makes the character features a lot more fun to look at.
At times it did feel like the 'adult speeches' were repeating themselves, there are only so many ways you can say 'the world sucks but keep going' without duplicating complaints and criticisms, but those complaints and criticisms are important and make sense, so I'm not annoyed by it.
I quite liked the ending. It felt calming, while the emotions throughout the book felt really intense. At times finding out who was talking via the speech bubbles was a bit difficult, but it didn't break the flow too much and it was easy to recover from.
This was a good summer read.

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“Why do we not see that we could change it all if we really wanted to?”

First of all thank you NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada for the Arc!

To start, I love the art style. It's very lovely. From the beginning, this graphic novel really drags you in. Oli is a relatable character. With her thoughts on how the world ended up the way it did, the unfairness in the world, etc. I shows how a lot of teens/young adults feel when they leave school and have all these responsibilities. How they just want a sense of community, that someone else understands the feeling. Oli’s character really shows a good perspective on that.

It's very easy to connect with the characters, they have a good amount of depth. They’re all relatable in their own ways. Though I wish we had gotten more of the Oli & Liam situation because I felt some more detail could’ve been added!

I do have a few criticisms though. While I was reading, sometimes I felt like I wasn’t really going anywhere…like I couldn’t see how there’d be a good end point to the story (The ending is good though. I thought it wrapped things up well enough). I also felt the story was a bit much at times, when a guy was telling them they could’ve caused a serious issue was called “he’s such a fascist”. There is part in the beginning that irked me…where this character is said “Its not like hes a friggin’ nazi — hes just applied to college…” and I feel using nazi is a strong thing for the situation because its used in reference to him possibly tattling. Nothing said is wrong I suppose. I just think something else could’ve been used instead of Nazi.

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