Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking those links, I will receive a small commission from the sale at no extra cost to you.Cheer Up: Love and Pompoms by Crystal Frasier
Illustrated by Val Wise
Published by Oni Press on August 10, 2021
Genres: Contemporary, LGBTQ, Romance, Young Adult Fiction
Format: eBook (128 pages)
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Purchase: Amazon • IndieBound
Add Book: Goodreads
A sweet, queer teen romance perfect for fans of Fence and Check, Please!
Annie is a smart, antisocial lesbian starting her senior year of high school who’s under pressure to join the cheerleader squad to make friends and round out her college applications. Her former friend BeeBee is a people-pleaser—a trans girl who must keep her parents happy with her grades and social life to keep their support of her transition. Through the rigors of squad training and amped up social pressures (not to mention micro aggressions and other queer youth problems), the two girls rekindle a friendship they thought they’d lost and discover there may be other, sweeter feelings springing up between them.
Cheer Up: Love and Pompoms is a super cute and quick graphic novel about queer girls finding love and acceptance. And cheer-leading. Annie is…difficult. She’s a top student, but she doesn’t play well with others. Her counselor says she needs extracurriculars or she’ll never get into college even with her outstanding grades (why does this lie continue?!). Beatrice is a transgirl who use to be friends with Annie until she joined the cheer squad and became popular. She’s not a top student, but she’s running herself ragged to keep everyone around her happy.
I really liked Cheer Up: Love and Pompoms. It really made me think about how we center people, usually against their will in the name of being supportive. Beatrice’s teammates are beyond supportive, but it’s for all the wrong reasons. Meanwhile, Beatrice doesn’t stand up for herself because she feels the pressure of having to be “perfect” in order to make others comfortable with her transition. Thankfully, Annie gives no effs and helps Beatrice set her own boundaries. The homecoming climax did rub me the wrong way, because no faculty stepped in to stop this gross display that was targeted at Beatrice. But other than that, this was a sweet read.