Book Title: Blackwater
Authors: Jeanette Arroyo and Ren Graham
Release Date: July 19, 2022
Genres: Graphic Novel, Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, LGTBQ+
My rating: 3/5 Stars
Riverdale meets Stranger Things in this debut queer YA graphic novel, developed from a hit webcomic. Set in the haunted town of Blackwater, Maine, two boys fall for each other as they dig for clues to a paranormal mystery.
Tony Price is a popular high school track star and occasional delinquent aching for his dad’s attention and approval. Eli Hirsch is a quiet boy with a chronic autoimmune disorder that has ravaged his health and social life. What happens when these two become unlikely friends (and a whole lot more . . .) in the spooky town of Blackwater, Maine? Werewolf curses, unsavory interactions with the quarterback of the football team, a ghostly fisherman haunting the harbor, and tons of high school drama.
Co-illustrated by both creators, who alternate drawing chapters in their own styles, Blackwater combines the spookiness of Anya’s Ghost with the irreverent humor of Nimona.
Blackwater is a graphic novel that immediately caught my eye when I was browsing NetGalley one day. Not only does it include Queer rep, but it also has super spooky and paranormal vibes, which sounded so amazing, and I immediately requested a copy! I was incredibly excited when I saw I’d been granted an ARC, however, I will say that I was unaware I would be reviewing a sample, so my expectations weren’t properly adjusted. Even so, I can’t wait to see where this goes when I do eventually get to read the full version!
The art style in Blackwater is so interesting and unlike what I usually read. It has a retro feel to it, which I think is really cool. The story is also in black and white, which also enhanced the retro quality. It just really fits well with the paranormal part of the story, in my opinion. Another interesting part is that both authors illustrate this, so each chapter has a slightly different art style to it. They’re similar enough that it’s not entirely noticeable unless you’re really looking for it, so I think it works well!
During my read of the sample, I wasn’t able to get a full feel of the characters yet. Out of the two, though, I felt more of a connection towards Tony. Even though Eli had a lot of unexplained things about him that made me intrigued to find out more, there was one part in the beginning that soured my mood toward him. And since there wasn’t much development about it, or any apologies, (I assume there will be in the full version though), I had a hard time warming to him. Even so, I was interested to see where his relationship with Tony went.
I have to say, the part this sampler ended on should be considered a crime!! Honestly, I still have so many questions and that cliffhanger was just painful. I truly cannot wait to see where Blackwater is headed, though, and I’ll definitely be reading the final version.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
Check out my last blog post: Taproot (ARC Review)