A Comic Book Guide to Relationships, Bodies, and Growing Up
Written by Heather Corinna
Illustrated by Isabella Rotman
Limerence Press 9/3/2019
80 Pages Age 13+
Genre: Graphic Novel, Comic Book, Nonfiction
Themes: Relationships, Maturing, Puberty
“This supportive group of friends are guides for some tricky subjects! Using comics, activities and examples, they give encouragement and context for new and confusing feelings and experiences. Inclusive of different kinds of genders, sexuality, and other identities they talk about important topics like:
–Bodies, puberty and body image,
–The media and cultural messages, specifically around bodies and sex,
–Sexual and gender identity,
–How to be sensitive, kind, accepting and mature,
–Gender roles and stereotypes
–Crushes, relationships and sexual feelings
–Boundaries and consent,
–Where to look for more information, support and help.
Written and illustrated by Scarleteen* educators!” (from back cover)
*[Scarleteen.com was one of the very first sex education websites and services online.]
“We’ve made this comic as a get-started guide for a time of life when you or your friends are probably starting to have some new things going on with your bodies, your relationships, your feelings, and your sexuality.”
Why I like this book
Wait, WHAT? is a guide for kids about to enter puberty. The narrators are a group of five teens (Rico, Malia, Sam, Max, and Alexis), a close group, with relationships to each other in differing degrees. Readers will get to know and understand these kids as they read the book. The group knows about being the new kid, changing schools a lot, being bullied, and being misunderstood, among other topics. Together, these kids are what the author calls a “Superteam.” This Superteam is a group of people you can count on to listen, give you advice you can trust, or help in whatever manner you may need help.
Puberty is first on the discussion list. They talk about expected and real “due dates” for puberty, such as when hair grows in for boys or breasts for girls. They explain puberty with images and text that will be a great education for kids (and some adults). It is emphasized that not everyone will start or end puberty at the same time, and why.
In no particular order, the book talks about becoming mature, masturbation (myths versus the truth), and a favorite section of mine: “Boys vs. Girls.” Wait, WHAT? includes crushes; dating; relationships and expectations; identities (gender and sexual); double standards; and more. This is the book your parents would give you to avoid “The Talk.
When I was fourteen, my mother put several pamphlets on my bed, but never said a word about them. She actually acted like the pamphlets were a complete surprise.
“Really?” she replied, when I said I had found the pamphlets on my bed. “Was your bed made?”
I don’t even remember reading more than the titles, though I might have flipped through them, but that’s it. I would have much preferred Wait, WHAT? There was never a talk. Accusations occurred, but they were based on my parents’ fears, not reality. We needed to have had that Talk—after I, and they, read Wait, WHAT?
Wait, WHAT? is a wonderfully informed book to give your kid, girl or boy, age thirteen and up. The book makes a wonderful “going—off—to—college” book. Talking is still the best idea; but first everyone should read Wait, WHAT? Doing so will help kids formulate questions and help parents understand what their child is talking about and how to answer those questions. Parents can also check out references listed just for them.
The graphic novel/comic format is perfect for Wait, WHAT? Kids will be more interested and willing to open the book and read, thanks to this format. Kids can read the sections straight through or as they need them. The fifteen chapters include everything I wish I knew when I was thirteen. It looks like they have covered all the subjects that ever caused me to question my body and my life as a teen.
I thoroughly enjoyed Wait, WHAT? I particularly liked the section called, “Boys vs. Girls.” Here, the kids talk about myths between the sexes (others may have formed), such as color preferences, dolls vs. action figures—they are both dolls—and which sex should play which sport (when I was younger—back in the day—I played all sorts of sports formally and in the street with neighbor kids).
The back matter includes a note from the creators to the reader, a Glossary, an explanation about slang, Puzzle Solutions, Bios for the author, artist, and colorist, and “More Cool Things!” (Resources found online, in books and comics, and “For Parents and Other Adults Who Don’t Want to Mess This Stuff Up.”)
Available at Amazon
WAIT, WHAT? A Comic Book Guide to Relationships, Bodies, and Growing Up. Text Copyright © 2019 by Heather Corinna. Illustrations copyright © 2019 by Isabella Rotman. Published by Limerence Press / Oni Press Inc, Portland, OR.
Copyright © 2019 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
[I am an Amazon affiliate. When you purchase through a link on KLR, you are supporting Kid Lit Reviews. For each sale, KLR makes a small commission, which costs you nothing extra. This is an easy way to show your support for this site, without using your own money. For each commission received, I gratefully thank you.]