Book Reviews

Review: Frizzy by Claribel A. Ortega and illustrated by Rose Bousamra

Talk about a middle grade I’d recommend to anyone, I adored Frizzy. It’s a love letter to hair, to family, and to unpacking some of the internalized racism within how we see ourselves. This is one of those graphic novels, I’ll be picking up for the holidays! Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.


Marlene loves three things: books, her cool Tía Ruby and hanging out with her best friend Camila. But according to her mother, Paola, the only thing she needs to focus on is school and “growing up.” That means straightening her hair every weekend so she could have “presentable”, “good hair”.

But Marlene hates being in the salon and doesn’t understand why her curls are not considered pretty by those around her. With a few hiccups, a dash of embarrassment, and the much-needed help of Camila and Tia Ruby—she slowly starts a journey to learn to appreciate and proudly wear her curly hair.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

From a technical stand point, I love the color palette and illustration style in Frizzy so much. It feels whimsical, detailed, and realistic all at once. And each panel feels like it holds hidden secrets. Bousamra did a fantastic job with the illustrations! Frizzy is about hair expectations and judgements. It breaks down what hair means to us, what it reflects about our appearance, and how we, as a culture, view it. How we can see hair as something to ‘control’ to ‘maintain’.

This charming middle grade graphic novel arrives at the age in which kids are able to start to question what they are told about themselves. To begin to question and speak up about how they feel. Because hair is so intrinsic to our appearance and has so many culture (and historical) implications tied up with it. All the ways we are taught to be ashamed of our hair and selves and how, specifically to Frizzy, white spaces view us. My heart broke for Marlene and the ways the world picks on our insecurities.

(Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links. For more information you can look at the Policy page. If you’re uncomfortable with that, know you can look up the book on any of the sites below to avoid the link)

But what I also loved about Frizzy was how it’s also a story about breaking down our own internalized racism and prejudices. These kind of judgements, necessary assimilations, can be passed down through generations – but it doesn’t have to be like that. We are always processing, learning, and having to deconstruct our own biases. And so this message is such an important addition to Frizzy – a graphic novel I’d recommend to everyone. Find Frizzy on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


What is your go to middle grade graphic novel recommendation?

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