The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor by Shaenon K. Garrity & Christopher Baldwin
Thank you, NetGalley, Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing, and Margaret K. McElderry Books for the electronic ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 4 stars
Type/Genre: Graphic Novel - Humor, Sci-Fi/Fiction (Middle School and up)
Representation: Nerdy black teen girl lead
Teenage Haley is obsessed with all things Gothic, but never imagined she’d experience them in real life, until she rescues a drowning young man and wakes up in a 19th-century estate complete with brooding gentlemen, sinister servants, and an actual ghost. But all is not as it appears, as Haley learns she has not been swept into the past, but instead into a strange universe all its own.
The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor is hilarious! I love the concept, the illustrations, and the creativity in this story. Haley's obsession with Gothic romances is probably relatable for many. At its core, this is a story about whether or not one should accept the role they were given or reach for the role they want to play in their life. This is a timeless issue for a lot of people, no matter the age.
It was wonderful to see a Black nerdy girl as the lead in a fun book like this. There's no Black trauma and the author doesn't really point out her race. This is not to say that the author and illustrator ignored this aspect of Haley's identity. In fact, Haley wears braids during the entire book and a bonnet when she goes to bed. Those may seem like tiny details for non-Black folx, but it shows relatability to me.
Overall, this is a cute and funny book that I think anyone into sci-fi, gothic literature, and graphic novels would be into.