Graphic Novel Review: No Ivy League by Hazel Newlevant.

No Ivy League by Hazel Newlevant. Lion Forge / Roar, 2019. 9781549303050. 205pp plus a few pages about their process at the end.

Newlevant’s fictionalized memoir “about a pivotal summer in [their] life…It was a multi-car pileup of race, class, gender, and teen hormones.” Her originals, done in black watercolor paint, are reproduced with a dark green ink in the book, which look super good.

Seventeen-year-old Hazel is homeschooled. They, their fifteen-year-old boyfriend, and another friend are making pro-homeschooling videos as part of a contest, hoping to win money to see a band they all like in Washington, DC, in the fall. Then Hazel’s dad tells them about a summer job removing ivy from Forest Park. They’re hired, but then Hazel gets off to an awkward start with the other high school kids there — they think Hazel is a bit weird and that the food they eats is bougie. Work gets more awkward when Hazel starts obviously crushing on a supervisor, and a few games of Fuck, Marry, Kill seem to indicate things are getting better with the other workers (though then everything gets much worse again for a bit). All in all this is feels like one of the most realistic graphic novels about teens that I’ve read, which probably makes it a bit too realistic for some high schools.


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