My Riot | Book Review

If you know me by now, then you know that I love graphic novels. So when I saw My Riot was on NetGalley I knew that I had to immediately read it.

By: Julia Agris

DISCLAIMER: Thanks to NetGalley for giving us an eARC of this graphic novel, for free, to review.

If you know me by now, then you know that I love graphic novels. So when I saw My Riot was on NetGalley I knew that I had to immediately read it.

My Riot by Rick Spears

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Set in the early ’90s, My Riot is about a trio of teen girls team up to form a rock band and shake off society’s expectations of what it means to be a young woman coming of age in the modern world.

1991—Val, a teenager from a conservative family, has grown up dreaming of becoming a ballerina, but recently something has changed. She’s begun feeling pressure to conform to a specific idea of beauty, body type, and a personality that just doesn’t fit.

Trigger warnings: body image shaming, eating disorders, sexism, slut-shaming

Chapter 1, “A Riot of Our Own” opens with Val at her first job interview, revealing (too much about herself) what most teenagers feel at that age. After being told by her ballet instructor that she should start smoking to shed five pounds, she mets Kat. She seems to be the badass type, who I honestly wish we got to know more about.

Kat introduces her to Rudie and her first punk rock show. Together, the three of them end up forming an all-girl punk band named The Proper Ladies.

In Chapter 2, “A Romantic ‘Pas de Deux'”, they nailed the feeling of a mosh pit and that’s when I knew I’d really like this graphic novel. You can tell that Val is falling hard for this scene. Later on, she even mentions, “Confusing things are somehow made clear in the chaos of clashing guitars.”

This is such coming of age story where the girls get to find their own voices, writing music about body image and even birth control. The Proper Ladies ring true to the the Riot Grrrl movement – a wave of underground feminist punk music. It’s a story of female friendship, support and empowerment.

The artwork is quite simple colour-wise but I feel like this adds to the feel of 90’s zine culture.

As I said, I wish we got to learn a bit more about the other girls (Kat and Rudie) however Val’s growth had me rooting for her the entire time. I grew up as a scen/emo kid and I related to this so hard.

My Riot‘s public release date is: September 8th, 2020 and you bet you can catch me picking up a physical copy.

Thoughts on Canada Day

When we were younger, Alia and I loved to celebrate Canada Day because of the busyness of downtown Ottawa. Canadian artists! Fireworks! GIANT CROWDS! Nowadays, it’s turned into a reflection on the years of colonial history and systemic racism towards Indigenous peoples that many Canadians still refuse to acknowledge. We have lots of work to do.

This is a great time to diversify your shelves and feeds. We’re currently doing a buddy read of Tanya Talaga’s Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City and it is heartbreaking. And here are some amazing Instagrams to follow: @decolonizefirst, @thunderbirdwomanreads, and @shayla0h.

Learn and educate yourself (AND OTHERS – this is where change happens). The Nipissing University Student Union put together a great infographic that shares Indigenous stories and experiences.

Donate and support Indigenous organizations. Indspire is a charity that supports the education of Indigenous people while the National Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) works to represent and enhance the lives of Indigenous women, girls, and gender diverse people.

We are proud to be first and second generation Canadians. We are thankful for our parents’ immigration stories. However, if you’re going to celebrate #CanadaDay, be mindful and check your privileges.

June 2020 | Monthly Favourites

Alia’s Picks

Song: Since I’ve been working from home due to COVID-19, it feels like my Spotify is constantly blasting music. I’ve been trying out a bunch of different playlists on Spotify to diversify my playlist but I do have a bad habit to listening to the same song on repeat. This month I’ve been listening to 11:11 by the Arkells. What can I say, I love the indie vibes.

Book: I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown. This year I have been trying to listen to more audiobooks since I have a lot of opportunity to listen while doing other tasks, rather than just sitting down and reading. I listened to I’m Still Here as an audiobook and I actually think it added to my experience, since the author is the one who narrates all the chapters. I really enjoyed listening to her as she describes her experience as a black woman growing up and living in America. It was insightful, painful and conveyed in an honest and authentic manner.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

TV Show: Kingdom on Netflix. Everyone has been telling me to watch it for the longest time but I finally watched the first episode the other day and I LOVE IT. I can’t wait to binge watch it on the weekend – it has two seasons and it’s spooky af!

Movie: I recently went through a pretty big Bollywood movie binge on Netflix. I don’t watch Bollywood movies as much anymore but they’ll always have a special place in my heart. One movie that I really like is Jodha Akbaar – a historical romance that details the political marriage between Mughal Emperor Akbar and a Rajput princess Jodha. If you like period pieces that’s heavy on the romance, this is one movie I would definitely recommend!

Game: I’ve played over 200 hours of Animal Crossing New Horizons and I even have the digital game guide LOL So yeah, this is definitely the game of the month. Like obsessed to the point where I even made my own AC Villager stickers! Genji is hanging out on my switch dock now, living his best life.

App: So I don’t tend to add everything I read to Goodreads because I’m lazy LOL but one app I’ve recently started using is Tappytoon Comics. They have a great selection of webtoons and comics. I love it because it also regularly updates with new chapters! It’s also great in terms of usability/design as I can read on my phone or iPad and have a smooth experience.

YouTuber: I’ve been watching booktuber Cindy Pham’s videos a lot this month. I don’t usually watch Booktube videos but I just love her reviews and I think she’s hilarious! There were definitely some great recommendations from her that are now on my TBR and also of course, I love all the videos where she read books that were like??? Why did this plot happen??? I think one my favourite videos from her is about Serpent & Dove. PLEAAAASE do yourself a favour and listen to her ramble.

Julia’s Picks

Song: The 1975’s new album, Notes on a Conditional Form, has been on repeat since it dropped. I didn’t know how much I needed MORE new music from them! When the single “If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know)” first dropped, I absolutely fell in love with it but after reading that Matty was going for a Max Martin x Kanye West vibe on “Tonight (I Wish I Was Your Boy)” I knew this song would slap just as hard. There’s something about this band that keeps on giving musically and I’m here to be fed.

Book: So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo was our buddy read earlier this month. You can read our full review here.

TV Show: I finally caught up with (aka binge-watched) The Office (US) and WOW, why’d it take me so long?! I didn’t think I’d get so emotionally attached to these characters but after nine whole seasons… HERE WE ARE! I’ve also started listening to the Office Ladies podcast, hosted by Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey, because I literally cannot get enough.

Movie: Blindspotting (2018) was one of the movies that Cineplex showcased as part of their “Understanding Black Stories” initiative. Alia mentioned that it was one of her favourite movies of 2018 so I obviously had to give it a go. It’s such a perfect mix of comedy and drama while covering the important topic of police brutality in the Black community. THEN I found out that the main actors also wrote a whole soundtrack for the movie and I was even MORE impressed!

Game: Animal Crossing: New Horizons, duh. Alia and I are huge fans and used to play New Leaf at every chance when we lived together. We are truly spoiled in New Horizons although, I do miss Kapp’n sometimes.

App: I have been loving the Libby app lately. Well, actually it’s like a bittersweet relationship right now because I don’t enjoy reading ebooks on my phone but I also don’t really have a choice since my Kobo has been struggling to register library books lately (and I don’t really feel like resetting the entire thing). Otherwise, the app is really easy to use and is connected to the OverDrive database so you can access audiobooks as well!

YouTuber: Like I said, I’ve been OBSESSED with Animal Crossing and building my island but I also miss the Dream Suite and getting to visit random player’s islands. However, I can live vicariously through Chase Crossing. He just lives his best life while he tours islands and it’s truly awesome seeing how creative people are.