Member Reviews

Thank you to #netgalley for the e-arc!

Age 16 is a heart-wrenching yet beautifully tender graphic novel about the lives of three generations of women, with themes of generational trauma, body image, (mild) eating disorder and the complicated relationship between a mother who tries her best but isn't communicative or expressive about her love and a daughter that feels criticized and inadequate all the time. This sort of "I did everything for you why do you not appreciate me""because you never told me" relationship is so common among Chinese families and so relatable.

<spoiler>I found Rosalind's outburst from stress and hunger realistic, and her subsequent apologies to her friend and eventually ditching prom to hang out with fellow nerd friends endearing.</spoiler>

The ending made me shed a few tears. I still feel an overwhelming amount of emotions just thinking about it, as it reminds me of my own family, the toxic patterns and traits I've observed that we all share, my own complicated relationships with my parents and and my attempt to overcome generational trauma since I started working on my mental health a few years ago.

I loved reading it and will be thinking about it for a long time.

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"Age 16" is a beautiful graphic novel depicting three generations of mothers and daughters as they navigate being 16. Each generation has their own hardships and trauma that shape them and inform the way they raise their own daughters. The story shifts seamlessly between the three time periods, allowing the reader to understand each character in ways they do not understand each other. Told with compassion and gentle love, this story will resonate strongly with teen and adult readers. All characters are flawed, but they are all the more lovable for their flaws and the ways they come to a better understanding of each other and themselves. Themes of gender, race, body size and shape, self-worth, trauma, and healing are tenderly explored in this triple coming-of-age story. Highly recommended.

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Age 16 is a moving coming-of-age story across nearly fifty years that tells the tale of Roz and her mother, Lydia, and grandmother, Mei Laan, and how hard being 16 is across generations. From Toronto to Hong Kong to Guandong, all three girls face trials that bleed into their relationships and illustrate a crucial, emotional portrait of generational trauma and young girlhood.

I didn't love the pacing and art style all the time, but the way the grandmother and mother interacted, the fractures in their relationships, they all hit incredibly close to home and I am very glad to see this join a beautiful literary canon of young adult graphic novels. It really speaks to both the teen experience and the adult experience in a way that makes me wonder if I'll appreciate this even more when I get older. If you're a fan of The Magic Fish or Mariko Tamaki's work, I would recommend giving AGE 16 a try.

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A powerful YA coming of age graphic novel about three generations of women at age 16.
Toronto, 2000: Roz wakes up and weighs herself each day and with prom looming, she wants to make sure she can fit into her dress.
Hong Kong, 1972: Roz’s mom isn’t built like her mom and they always fight, but her aunt is her one saving grace that helps her prepare for a dance.
Guangdong, 1954: Roz’s Por Por is sixteen and lives with a horrible father who is trying to get her married off. She must be strong to survive these hard times.
All three women end up living under the same roof and tensions are high as they struggle to coexist and get over past hurts.
This book was fantastic. @rosenafung is such a gifted storyteller. I loved the way this novel was written with three points of view in different time periods. It shows that until we know the whole story, we might make judgments and not give grace. Talking things out and showing empathy will always matter. This comic releases July 2.

CW: body image issues, starvation, anorexia, binge eating, body shaming, fat shaming, domestic abuse, physical abuse, disordered eating, fatphobia, teen pregnancy, sexism, racism, generational trauma

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A true coming of age graphic novel following 3 generations of mothers and daughters. We see strained relationships, traditional ways of thinking, and issues with gender, race, body image and more. Por Por turning up present day stirs up a lot of unhappiness, but as we shift between generations, we see what each faced growing up -- war, struggling as a single mother, and normal teenage stuff (Guangdong 1954; Hong Kong 1972; Toronto 2000) and it’s interesting to see similar struggles being passed down / leading to the same outcome. Despite everyone’s flaws, it was heart warming to see love still present.

Thanks NetGalley and Annick Press for my arc!

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Rosalind, also known as Roz, is a 16-year-old Asian girl struggling to fit in. With prom just around the corner, Roz feels pressured to conform to society's expectations and change herself to look more attractive. However, everything changes when her por por (grandma) unexpectedly pays a visit. As family secrets unfold, Roz must decide who she wants to be and whether her family can repair their relationship. Will they overcome their differences and fight for what's right?

If you're looking for a book that will inspire and make you laugh, then you must read this one! This captivating story takes place in three different periods and locations: 2000 in Toronto, 1972 in Hong Kong, and 1954 in Guangdong. It's a tale about finding your true self and embracing who you are without shame.

The main character, Roz, is both adorable and determined. If you're a fan of alien believers, then Roz is the friend you've been waiting for! Although Roz's friends don't play a significant role in the story, her mom is a rebellious soul, and her por por has quite a temper.

Apart from the intriguing plot, the drawing style is simply unique. It's a bit cartoony, which adds to the story's charm. The remarkable thing about this book was the colors of each generation's panels: purple for Roz, orange for her mom, and blue for her por por.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a story that inspires. It's a must-read for a heartwarming, funny, and touching story. Give yourself the gift of this fantastic book, and let yourself be swept away by its magic!

Thank you, @netgalley and @annick_press, for the complimentary ARC, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Pub Date: 02 Jul 2024

Happy Reading, Paige ❤️ 📚

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You know when you sit down with a book with the intention of reading the first few pages, but then accidentally end up reading the entire book in that one sitting. Well...that was this book. Age 16 by Rosena Fung was a breath of fresh air. This middle-grade graphic novel follows three generations of women in the same family all at the age of 16. What I love about this book is that I think everyone can relate to it and feel seen and heard. I really enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to anyone looking for an amazing middle-grade graphic novel.
Thank you Netgalley for allowing me to read and review this graphic novel!!

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I really enjoyed how this book was framed in different timelines featuring Roz, her mother, and her grandmother. Each woman has had both individual and societal struggles and through each generation, we see how those expectations weigh on the individual and as a result, how they treat and perceive their child. A great multiple POV graphic novel that tackles intergenerational trauma, fatphobia, beauty standards, and the challenges of being a teen.

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I tried twice to get into this graphic novel but I just couldn't.
I like the art and enjoyed how the story reflected the age of mother and daughter looking at differences but also similarities in their lives.
But the story was slow and heart breaking. I just couldn't finish it.

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Age 16 is a wonderful graphic novel, exploring three generations of women, focusing on their struggles and criticisms about their weight. I appreciated the multiple timelines/perspectives, and the illustration is well done.

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cw: body image issues, disordered eating

Following three generations of women, Age 16 focuses on each woman when they are sixteen. Each of their time periods explore how criticizing children and be passed from generation to generation as well as the struggle of trying to overcome that and learn to love yourself.

I want to say first off, that if the triggers are something you struggle with, go into this carefully as some of the scenes could potentially be upsetting.

The art for this was beautiful. It had this playful style that really made it fun and engaging. What really helped me though was the monochrome palette that changed with each narrative. It really helped to differentiate them and really make them stand out from one another which for someone who can easily get lost and confused, I was super grateful for this.

Having all the different story lines really allows the reader to see how each character was crafted to be who they are and why the intergenerational trauma is being passed down. While maybe the reader would agree with the actions, it was easy to see the reason for the way they were acting like they were and how they were struggling with their own issues that were never resolved.

I loved how the reader got to see self-love and acceptance happening throughout the story. Each of the three women are realizing something and trying to work through it and be better. That was wonderful and made the ending feel like it came too fast. While the ending is probably the most realistic, I couldn’t help but feel like there were a few too many lose strings out there that could have been wrapped up. It felt too open ended.

Overall, I really did enjoy this. It’s a great look at intergenerational trauma. The struggle Rosalind has with her body image and how she is dealing with that is very real. Then the hope at the end is uplifting and positive that should really leave readers with the message of it’s okay to be who you are, no matter your size.

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coming of age graphic memoir that cover the lives of 3 generations of women during their teenage years. how their teenage life experience affected the lives of their children--their daughters. at the end of the day they only wanted the best for their children, even though their method isn't entirely correct and their children didn't like their treatment.

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I absolutely loved this graphic novel about three generations and their experiences at age 16. The reader follows Rosalind aka Rox aka Linney in 2000 in Canada, her mother, Lydia, in the early 1970s in Hong Kong, and her Por Por (grandmother), Mei Laan, in the early 1950s in China. This book focuses a lot on fatphobia and how when it's internalized, it continues to be passed from one generation to the next. Being a millennial, I remember the overwhelming fatphobia in the early 2000s. The obsession with scales, the diet fads, calorie counting, over exercising, and starving yourself to be thin. I've personally spent my whole life sucking my stomach in, even when I was thin (thinking I was fat) and spent many a school lunches refusing to eat although my tummy growled with hunger so I very much understood many of Roz's troubles. I really appreciate the way Age 16 portrays the background and history of what Rosalind thinks is a naggy, critical mother and mean grandmother. Seeing her mother and her grandmother's past experiences and hardships help the reader see where this toxic behavior comes from while the ending shows that you have the power to end the cycle.

"The world can be made to fit you. You're already who you need to be."

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Age 16 by Rosena Fung is a graphic novel that follows three generations of women, spanning from 1950s China to Toronto in the early 2000s. The narration is nonlinear in time, focusing in turn on the grandmother, mother and daughter, when each one is 16.

It is a story that explores the continuous cycle of criticising one's kids, and the journey to accepting one's self despite the harsh words of one's parents.

The art style gave me Daria and the Scott Pilgrim comic book vibes. A few pages have beautifully rendered images of the Chinese countryside, and these panels were my favorite part of the graphic novel.

As for the story, I felt just ok about it. The protagonist - the daughter - struggles with body image and is stressed out about feeling like she isn't accepted as her true self by her group of friends. It's a tale that should be super-relatable - I lived through the same thing in my teens, as did pretty much everybody else. But the story felt underwhelming and didn't grab me as much as I thought it was going to during the first few pages of the graphic novel. There is a happy ending, but it just didn't feel satisfying, likely because the emotional stakes weren't very robust.

Thanks to the author and publisher for providing me a free advance reader copy through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Thank you to Netgalley and Annick Press for a e-book ARC!

Graphic novels that focus on multi-generational relationships are probably one of my favorite storylines the medium can explore. Age 16 definitely caught my interest because of this and its structure reminds me of Joy Luck Club with it switching between each generation of women. I think Roz and Lydia were the strongest characters in terms of characterization and backstory. I related to Roz as a fellow nerd and Lydia held my attention with her learning to love herself and find a space where she could be happy. Por Por (Mei Laan) was a character I wish we got to see more backstory than we did because by the end I couldn't sympathize with her on the same level I did with Roz and Lydia. Por Por probably has the most interesting story to tell because its her actions that create Roz essentially, so to see very little of her backstory is a missed opportunity to me.

However, there are still around eight months until the official release (which I will be picking up); I hope we get to see more or Por Por's backstory in the official release!

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You know how you sometimes pick up a book just to take a quick look and you’ll finish it later, but end up reading the whole thing in one gulp. Yeah, that is what I did with Rosena Fung’s graphic novel “Age 16”.

It tells the story of three women of the same family, grandmother, mother, daughter, all at age 16, and what their life was like, and what their dreams were. The Por Por (grandmother) at age 16, was in China and betrothed to a man in Hong Kong, and she thinks that that would be better than anything. She ends up being a single mother. Her daughter, Lyndia, has problems being accepted by her mother, and escapes to Toronto. And her daughter, Roz, has problems as well, being unhappy with her weight.

When her Por Por shows up, the family fights and yells and doesn’t get along because none of those problems have been fixed. We follow each of the women through their lives and how they got there, including Roz, who is just trying to figure things out.

I love this story, because no one is innocent. Everyone is messed up for some reason, be it the war, be it weight, be it feeling that your mother doesn’t love you. Told in three different timelines, and three different places, it all works together.

Thanks to Edelweiss and Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review. This book is going to be published by Annick Press, the 2nd of July 2024.

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