ARCs · Reviews

ARC Review: Cheer Up! by Crystal Frasier and Val Wise

I received this book from NetGalley as an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Genre: Young adult, LGBT+, contemporary

Representation: Trans bi-racial protagonist, sapphic protagonist, non-binary secondary character, many secondary characters are people of colour

Content warning: Transphobia, harassment

Release date: August 10th, 2021

Summary: Annie is a smart, antisocial lesbian starting her senior year of high school who’s under pressure to join the cheerleader squad to make friends and round out her college applications. Her former friend Bebe is a people-pleaser—a trans girl who must keep her parents happy with her grades and social life to keep their support of her transition. Through the rigors of squad training and amped up social pressures (not to mention micro aggressions and other queer youth problems), the two girls rekindle a friendship they thought they’d lost and discover there may be other, sweeter feelings springing up between them.

This graphic novel was extremely adorable. It made me feel warm inside. I jumped in knowing the bare minimum — that it was a sapphic romance about two cheerleaders — and was pleasantly surprised by everything else this had to offer.

At first this graphic novel seemed like it would just be a lovely romance, but on top of that it painted a great picture of friendship and of the importance of standing up for yourself.

Bebe is surrounded by a big group of friends, who despite loving her, aren’t perfect. We are shown how at the beginning they seem to be using her to make themselves look good and accepting (by making her team captain without even considering what she may want). Additionally, when trying to defend her, they often say things such as “she’s just like a real girl”. We see how despite their efforts, they still make many mistakes.

At the start, Bebe refuses to address this, avoiding confrontation at all costs (she’s scared of being labelled as “one of the bad [trans girls]”). But by the end of the story she has stood up for herself not one but three times: to her friends, to her overprotective parents, and to the boy who keeps pestering her.

Besides these more serious topics, there is also a very sweet friendship-turned-romance between Bebe and Annie. Which in my opinion is what makes this ride oh so delightful. They’re the perfect representation of goth girlfriend and sunshine girlfriend. One of the aspects I really appreciated was how Bebe isn’t sure about her sexuality but knows she likes Annie. She shares that openly and there is never any pressure on her to put a label on it.

Finally, I have to say that the art style is absolutely gorgeous and makes this story all the more enjoyable. I’d recommend this to anyone looking for a fast-paced, (mostly) light-hearted story.

Have you read or plan on reading Cheer Up? Is there any other fluffy graphic novels you’d recommend?

One thought on “ARC Review: Cheer Up! by Crystal Frasier and Val Wise

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s