by Chandra Sundeep
cover picture of Frizzy by Claribel A Ortega

Frizzy by Claribel A. Ortega is a Middle-Grade graphic novel about a Dominican American girl Marlene and her never-ending struggles with her frizzy hair. 

The free-spirited and strong-willed girl loves books, her cool Tía Ruby and hanging out with her best friend Camila. Her mop of curly hair is the root of all troubles because her Mami believes she is beautiful and presentable only when her hair is smoothened. And so, the poor girl visits the salon every Sunday to please her mother.

Marlene’s confusion and dismay at the typical definition of beauty around her is evident. She struggles to gain acceptance because of her hair, and is mocked at by relatives and is even bullied at school. The little child continues to suffer in silence so as to not hurt Mami’s feelings, but finally one day she gathers courage and pours her heart out to her mother. It was heartwarming to see Marlene understand her mother’s traditional upbringing, her concerns and inhibitions. Mam’s

Ortega has addressed important issues teens face – self-esteem, self-love, impact of parental approval, concept of beauty and outer appearance, and acceptance of one’s roots.

The chapter titles are cute and apt to the story that follows. I loved the font, text size and vocabulary. They are perfect for the genre and target audience.

Rose Bousamra’s vibrant illustrations depict a diverse cast and bring them to life in an endearing fashion. 

Frizzy is a realistic graphic novel and should be read by children and adults. It carries subtle profound messages that need to be spread far and wide.


I received a free copy of this book from First Second Books through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Wordsopedia Rating 4.6/5

Title: Frizzy Author: Claribel A. Ortega
Publisher: First Second Books Publication date: October 18th 2022
Genre: Fiction–Graphic Novel Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781250259639 No. of Pages: 224

Buy your copy here on Amazon

About the author

New York Times Bestselling and award-winning author, Claribel A. Ortega is a former reporter who writes middle-grade and young adult fantasy inspired by her Dominican heritage. When she’s not busy turning her obsession with eighties pop culture, magic, and video games into books, she’s co-hosting her podcast Bad Author Book Club. Claribel is a Marvel contributor and has been featured on Buzzfeed, Bustle, Good Morning America and Deadline.

​Claribel’s NYT Bestselling debut middle grade novel Ghost Squad is being made into a feature film. Her latest book Witchlings (Scholastic) was an Instant NYT and #1 Indie Bestseller. Her graphic novel Frizzy with Rose Bousamra is out October 18th, 2022 from First Second. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok @Claribel_Ortega and on her website.

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