Right off the bat I’m giving this graphic novel five (5) stars. I adored it.
I loved Haley from the very beginning. A Black girl with her hair in braids who adores gothic romance. It was like looking at myself which made me want to squeal.
It starts with her English teacher telling her she cannot keep turning in book reports on Wuthering Heights. Or any gothic fiction. She then goes on to say that she had to limit the book reports of another student on Sonic the Hedgehog fanfiction so you know right from the beginning it’s going to be funny.
And it was.
As Haley is heading home in the rain, her arms full of books and reciting poetry as any good gothic heroine would, things jump into high gear. She saves a man from drowning and things go weird.
At a certain point it showed her asleep in a bed wearing a bonnet and I lost it. I have never seen it before. In tv shows, movies or books, whenever the Black character is in bed, there’s never a bonnet to be seen and it’s one of the most infuriating things because it’s so easy to get right! It’s such a simple thing!
I didn’t realize how happy it would make me to see it.
The world Haley ends up in is one populated by gothic tropes where she refuses to fit into a role someone else forces onto her because no one can tell her who she is and I loved it.
There’s ghosts, a gothic castle, horses and a frighteningly named forest. Things you love and know well if you’re into gothic fiction. Plus some very fun scifi twists that I didn’t see coming. Not to mention to evil of the story. It was fun and easy to read.
There’s also a quick Sapphic romance. Usually fast romances bother me because it feels like there’s no set up for them. That’s not the case here. The entire story runs fast and there is indeed set up. Not to mention it’s diverse with races and one character uses forearm crutches so we got a little disability rep too.
I read this quick and was grinning the entire time. Yes, I will be buying it.
At the end, Haley has changed and things seem to have found a new equilibrium. For now.
A sincere thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for this ARC