Pillow Talk

HarperAlley. Apr. 2024. 304p. Tr $26.99. ISBN 9780358525721.
Gr 10 Up–Grace is struggling with insecurities and a past history of bullying, but her best friend Callie is super supportive. Now in college, Grace and Callie go to class and out for drinks. On a whim, Grace picks up a flier for the Pillow Fight Federation and shows up to a pre-season showdown. The sport’s blend of pro-wrestling hijinks with roller-derby vibes enchants Grace, who fantasizes about being a PFF superhero. Though still reserved, she takes a chance and tries out under the fight name “Cinderhella,” an homage to her horrible stepmom. Callie excitedly volunteers to promote her on social media. With training, make-up, and experience in the fresh meat showcase against She-Rex, she has an epic main stage fight against Katatonic. Beauty standards, body shaming, and negative social media messages are themes, as are struggling with negative self-talk and finding self-confidence. Grace is Cuban and other characters have a range of skin tones, relationships, and identities. The panels are varied and flow beautifully, with background images setting the scene for the page. Many pages are full-bleed spreads. The colors are sharp with striking, pastel backgrounds and pops of green, hot pink, and teal. The fight scenes are exciting and full of movement.
VERDICT A high-interest, empowering read for high school fans of Roller Girl, The Skin I’m In, and Dumplin’.

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