cover image Galaxy: The Prettiest Star

Galaxy: The Prettiest Star

Jadzia Axelrod, illus. by Jess Taylor. DC Comics, $16.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-4012-9853-1

Axelrod and Taylor deliver a vulnerable and thought-provoking graphic novel about gender identity, told through the lens of an alien royal in hiding. Basketball star Taylor Barzelay, a seemingly white and cisgender 16-year-old boy, has the perfect life. Except that Taylor is actually alien princess Taelyr, one of the few survivors of an intergalactic war, living undercover in a body she doesn’t want, with a makeshift family of glorified chaperones for her protection. Taelyr is resigned to her masquerade until Katherine “Kat” Silverberg, a Black junior year transfer student, arrives from Metro-polis and encourages Taelyr to shed her disguise. When doing so puts her at odds with her family and their small town, Taelyr must learn to balance the expectations of others with her true self. Taylor’s sharp lines and flowing, vivid colors accentuate the fictional scenery and eclectic cast as well as complement the ethereal atmosphere, and the myriad textures and tones used on Taelyr after she shakes off her disguise are stunning. Axelrod thoughtfully encapsulates the exhaustion of hiding and the exhilaration of being oneself in this hilarious and gorgeously illustrated narrative featuring queer romance, talking dogs, and a galaxy of the prettiest stars. Ages 13–17. (May)