cover image Girl Haven

Girl Haven

Lilah Sturges, illus. by Meaghan Carter. Oni, $14.99 (160p) ISBN 978-1-62010-865-9

Asher, a white child with dark blond hair, is tentatively exploring gender: he uses he and him pronouns, and he likes blue and purple nail polish and the idea of wearing a dress. His qualms about his existing expression are further compounded when he is transported to fantasy world Koretris, meant only for girls, along with Eleanor, Chloe, and Junebug, the Pride Club members at Marsha P. Johnson Middle School. Imagined as an intricate multimedia series of books and art by Asher’s mother, who left Asher and his father three years ago under mysterious circumstances, Koretris is plagued by the Scourge, a group of boys who believe Asher is their king. Carter (Godslave) lacks consistency in character portrayals, and the progression of actions occasionally lacks clarity, while some of Sturges’s (The Magicians: Alice’s Story) character arcs suffer at the expense of Asher’s—particularly that of Chloe, the only Black character, who has little effect on the plot. Still, full-bleed panels are filled with lush environments and graceful anthropomorphic animals in this accessible, affirmative tale of identity exploration. Clear back matter provides a concise, informative guide on gender, sex, and sexuality. Ages 10–up. Agent: Dara Hyde, Hill Nadell Literary. [em](Feb.) [/em]