My Riot | Book Review

By: Julia Agris

DISCLAIMER: Thanks to NetGalley for giving us an eARC of this graphic novel, for free, to review.

If you know me by now, then you know that I love graphic novels. So when I saw My Riot was on NetGalley I knew that I had to immediately read it.

My Riot by Rick Spears

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Set in the early ’90s, My Riot is about a trio of teen girls team up to form a rock band and shake off society’s expectations of what it means to be a young woman coming of age in the modern world.

1991—Val, a teenager from a conservative family, has grown up dreaming of becoming a ballerina, but recently something has changed. She’s begun feeling pressure to conform to a specific idea of beauty, body type, and a personality that just doesn’t fit.

Trigger warnings: body image shaming, eating disorders, sexism, slut-shaming

Chapter 1, “A Riot of Our Own” opens with Val at her first job interview, revealing (too much about herself) what most teenagers feel at that age. After being told by her ballet instructor that she should start smoking to shed five pounds, she mets Kat. She seems to be the badass type, who I honestly wish we got to know more about.

Kat introduces her to Rudie and her first punk rock show. Together, the three of them end up forming an all-girl punk band named The Proper Ladies.

In Chapter 2, “A Romantic ‘Pas de Deux'”, they nailed the feeling of a mosh pit and that’s when I knew I’d really like this graphic novel. You can tell that Val is falling hard for this scene. Later on, she even mentions, “Confusing things are somehow made clear in the chaos of clashing guitars.”

This is such coming of age story where the girls get to find their own voices, writing music about body image and even birth control. The Proper Ladies ring true to the the Riot Grrrl movement – a wave of underground feminist punk music. It’s a story of female friendship, support and empowerment.

The artwork is quite simple colour-wise but I feel like this adds to the feel of 90’s zine culture.

As I said, I wish we got to learn a bit more about the other girls (Kat and Rudie) however Val’s growth had me rooting for her the entire time. I grew up as a scen/emo kid and I related to this so hard.

My Riot‘s public release date is: September 8th, 2020 and you bet you can catch me picking up a physical copy.

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I am a uOttawa Communications grad from Mississauga who is suffering from wanderlust. I can be caught spending too much time laughing about surreal nonsense, reading up on social issues, bopping to oldies (but goodies), joining fandoms and reblogging for the aesthetic. I live for the 90's and all things that involve rolling for initiative. I am a twenty-six year old photographer who likes to find happiness in the little things. I can be found in either Ottawa or the GTA depending on the season.

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