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Blackwater

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Riverdale meets Stranger Things in this debut queer YA graphic novel, developed from a hit webcomic. Set in the haunted town of Blackwater, Maine, two boys fall for each other as they dig for clues to a paranormal mystery. "For fans of Heartstopper and Teen Wolf." —School Library Journal Tony Price is a popular high school track star and occasional delinquent aching for hi Riverdale meets Stranger Things in this debut queer YA graphic novel, developed from a hit webcomic. Set in the haunted town of Blackwater, Maine, two boys fall for each other as they dig for clues to a paranormal mystery. "For fans of Heartstopper and Teen Wolf." —School Library Journal Tony Price is a popular high school track star and occasional delinquent aching for his dad’s attention and approval. Eli Hirsch is a quiet boy with a chronic autoimmune disorder that has ravaged his health and social life. What happens when these two become unlikely friends (and a whole lot more . . .) in the spooky town of Blackwater, Maine? Werewolf curses, unsavory interactions with the quarterback of the football team, a ghostly fisherman haunting the harbor, and tons of high school drama. Co-illustrated by Jeannette Arroyo and Ren Graham, who alternate drawing chapters in their own unique and dynamic styles, Blackwater combines the spookiness of Anya's Ghost with the irreverent humor of Nimona.


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Riverdale meets Stranger Things in this debut queer YA graphic novel, developed from a hit webcomic. Set in the haunted town of Blackwater, Maine, two boys fall for each other as they dig for clues to a paranormal mystery. "For fans of Heartstopper and Teen Wolf." —School Library Journal Tony Price is a popular high school track star and occasional delinquent aching for hi Riverdale meets Stranger Things in this debut queer YA graphic novel, developed from a hit webcomic. Set in the haunted town of Blackwater, Maine, two boys fall for each other as they dig for clues to a paranormal mystery. "For fans of Heartstopper and Teen Wolf." —School Library Journal Tony Price is a popular high school track star and occasional delinquent aching for his dad’s attention and approval. Eli Hirsch is a quiet boy with a chronic autoimmune disorder that has ravaged his health and social life. What happens when these two become unlikely friends (and a whole lot more . . .) in the spooky town of Blackwater, Maine? Werewolf curses, unsavory interactions with the quarterback of the football team, a ghostly fisherman haunting the harbor, and tons of high school drama. Co-illustrated by Jeannette Arroyo and Ren Graham, who alternate drawing chapters in their own unique and dynamic styles, Blackwater combines the spookiness of Anya's Ghost with the irreverent humor of Nimona.

30 review for Blackwater

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    This is being pitched as Riverdale meets Stranger things and I can kind of see why. Blackwater is a queer YA comic following two boys in a small town who might be developing feelings for each other, but things are complicated by popularity differences, bullying, and werewolves. Tony is a popular track star who secretly has asthma and is best friends with a guy who is kind of a jerk and picks on weaker people. Eli is a quiet, nerdy, trans boy with a chronic autoimmune disorder that keeps him in an This is being pitched as Riverdale meets Stranger things and I can kind of see why. Blackwater is a queer YA comic following two boys in a small town who might be developing feelings for each other, but things are complicated by popularity differences, bullying, and werewolves. Tony is a popular track star who secretly has asthma and is best friends with a guy who is kind of a jerk and picks on weaker people. Eli is a quiet, nerdy, trans boy with a chronic autoimmune disorder that keeps him in and out of the hospital. But they slowly start to connect, while dealing with werewolves and ghosts. I really enjoyed it and when the romance finally starts to come together it was adorable. I received an advance copy for review from the publisher, all opinions are my own.

  2. 5 out of 5

    destiny ♡ howling libraries

    I don't even know how to review this, because apparently the NetGalley eARC I got is only a sampler, even though I can't find anywhere that states this on NetGalley? I can only assume this based off of the fact that the GR listing says it's 304 pages, while my copy was barely over 100 pages and ended very abruptly. On one hand, I hesitate to rate it based on the fact that, by that logic, I only got to read about 33% of it; on the other hand, I strongly disliked the 100-ish pages I got to read of I don't even know how to review this, because apparently the NetGalley eARC I got is only a sampler, even though I can't find anywhere that states this on NetGalley? I can only assume this based off of the fact that the GR listing says it's 304 pages, while my copy was barely over 100 pages and ended very abruptly. On one hand, I hesitate to rate it based on the fact that, by that logic, I only got to read about 33% of it; on the other hand, I strongly disliked the 100-ish pages I got to read of it and have no interest whatsoever in the finished product. I appreciate the immensely diverse character cast, but disliked every character I met so far besides Marcia, and found the plot difficult to follow and extremely rushed. This isn't for me, but I'm sure it will better suit a lot of other readers. ✨ Representation: Tony is queer, BIPOC (I saw other reviewers say Afro-Latinx but did not see this for myself & cannot ensure it), and has asthma; Eli has a chronic illness and is trans (according to other reviews - again, haven't seen it for myself & cannot ensure it) ✨ Content warnings for: (view spoiler)[bullying, ableism (hide spoiler)] ——— twitter | booktok | bookstagram | blog

  3. 4 out of 5

    Trans-cending-literature

    I went in expecting a full graphic novel with a fully fleshed story, but this is a fairly short comic that im guessing will have more issues. It intrigued me, so i might check out the next one but im not really hooked as of yet. i think this type of story though would be better as a graphic novel and be released as a full story. the main character and his friendships really confused me, how on earth did these 3 people become friends, they seem to hate eachother and have nothing in common. I was I went in expecting a full graphic novel with a fully fleshed story, but this is a fairly short comic that im guessing will have more issues. It intrigued me, so i might check out the next one but im not really hooked as of yet. i think this type of story though would be better as a graphic novel and be released as a full story. the main character and his friendships really confused me, how on earth did these 3 people become friends, they seem to hate eachother and have nothing in common. I was into one of the art styles much more than the other so it made the style changes a bit disappointing.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Vee_Bookish

    "Set in the haunted town of Blackwater, Maine, two boys fall for each other as they dig for clues to a paranormal mystery." "Set in the haunted town of Blackwater, Maine, two boys fall for each other as they dig for clues to a paranormal mystery."

  5. 4 out of 5

    Cherlynn (cherreading)

    How can I resist requesting this book when it's described as Riverdale meets Stranger Things? Unfortunately, I did not expect my ARC to be just a 130-page sampler (nowhere on the Netgalley listing does it say so) which means I'm missing half the book. It was too short a read for me to be invested, especially since there's no conclusion. I enjoyed the paranormal mystery aspect but wanted to know so much more. The artwork was okay but I would have preferred full colour. Definitely keen to find out w How can I resist requesting this book when it's described as Riverdale meets Stranger Things? Unfortunately, I did not expect my ARC to be just a 130-page sampler (nowhere on the Netgalley listing does it say so) which means I'm missing half the book. It was too short a read for me to be invested, especially since there's no conclusion. I enjoyed the paranormal mystery aspect but wanted to know so much more. The artwork was okay but I would have preferred full colour. Definitely keen to find out what happens next. Thank you to Macmillan Children's Publishing Group and Netgalley for an ARC of this book. Rating and review to be confirmed after I read the finished copy.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Megan Rose

    Blackwater is a graphic novel that immediately caught my eye when I was browsing NetGalley one day. Not only does it include Queer rep, but it also has super spooky and paranormal vibes, which sounded so amazing, and I immediately requested a copy! I was incredibly excited when I saw I’d been granted an ARC, however, I will say that I was unaware I would be reviewing a sample, so my expectations weren’t properly adjusted. Even so, I can’t wait to see where this goes when I do eventually get to r Blackwater is a graphic novel that immediately caught my eye when I was browsing NetGalley one day. Not only does it include Queer rep, but it also has super spooky and paranormal vibes, which sounded so amazing, and I immediately requested a copy! I was incredibly excited when I saw I’d been granted an ARC, however, I will say that I was unaware I would be reviewing a sample, so my expectations weren’t properly adjusted. Even so, I can’t wait to see where this goes when I do eventually get to read the full version! The art style in Blackwater is so interesting and unlike what I usually read. It has a retro feel to it, which I think is really cool. The story is also in black and white, which also enhanced the retro quality. It just really fits well with the paranormal part of the story, in my opinion. Another interesting part is that both authors illustrate this, so each chapter has a slightly different art style to it. They’re similar enough that it’s not entirely noticeable unless you’re really looking for it, so I think it works well! During my read of the sample, I wasn’t able to get a full feel of the characters yet. Out of the two, though, I felt more of a connection towards Tony. Even though Eli had a lot of unexplained things about him that made me intrigued to find out more, there was one part in the beginning that soured my mood toward him. And since there wasn’t much development about it, or any apologies, (I assume there will be in the full version though), I had a hard time warming to him. Even so, I was interested to see where his relationship with Tony went. I have to say, the part this sampler ended on should be considered a crime!! I have so many questions and that cliffhanger was just painful. I truly cannot wait to see where Blackwater is headed, though, and I’ll definitely be reading the final version. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Gabriele | QueerBookdom

    DRC provided by Henry Holt and Co. BYR via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Representation: queer biromantic Black Puerto Rican protagonist, queer trans chronically ill protagonist, Black secondary character. Content Warning: bullying, violence, animal carcass, gore, homophobia, parental neglect, mentions of death. Blackwater by Jeannette Arroyo and Ren Graham is a spell-binding contemporary fantasy graphic novel which finds front and centre two beautifully illustrated supernatural bo DRC provided by Henry Holt and Co. BYR via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Representation: queer biromantic Black Puerto Rican protagonist, queer trans chronically ill protagonist, Black secondary character. Content Warning: bullying, violence, animal carcass, gore, homophobia, parental neglect, mentions of death. Blackwater by Jeannette Arroyo and Ren Graham is a spell-binding contemporary fantasy graphic novel which finds front and centre two beautifully illustrated supernatural boys, a werewolf running amok in the woods, problematic parents and a pinch of high school drama. The digital review copy I was sent was only a sampler, although it was not specified in the title’s page when I requested it. This review will be for the whole graphic novel though which I finished reading via the authors’ Tumblr’s page. I really loved both co-creators’ illustration styles and the way they alternated for each chapter was unusual, but quite original and splendid (and I dare say really smart!). The story itself was not exceptionally fresh, but I still really liked it. With graphic novels, as well as with manga, I am always pulled in first by how the visuals look and Blackwater does not only give you one art style, but two. Yes, I already mentioned it above, but it bears repeating because it really is a brilliant technique and it managed to give more oomph to the story. I think that what acted as a disservice to the narration was how quick the plot proceeded. I am usually all-in with fast paced adventures, but I would have preferred exploring the backstory of both boys and the town a tad more. I felt unresolved issues with Tony’s and Biff’s friendship (and this could be all in my head, but I also felt some veiled transphobia coming from Eli’s mother). While Eli’s and Tony’s story starts and ends with Blackwater though, I would say that Arroyo and Graham could easily serialise the mysterious and thrilling adventures of the people in the little town of Blackwater and perhaps even continue the boys’ narrative arc. They definitely deserve it. Blackwater was a quick and engaging reading experience I wholeheartedly recommend, especially if you are feeling very tired and unfocused (like I am at this ongoing moment), but still want to read something intriguing and with great illustrations.

  8. 5 out of 5

    LuccaCeleste

    This book is really more of a 3 star when it comes to the story itself, but I bumped it up due to the amazing art style, as well as the representation. The moment I saw this book, I knew that I wanted to read it. A horror/fantasy graphic novel with queer main characters? Sign me up! I was ecstatic to get it in my hands, and I started to read it as soon as possible. My first two thoughts of the book went like this: 1. Wow, this art style is incredible! The character designs are so unique and fun, This book is really more of a 3 star when it comes to the story itself, but I bumped it up due to the amazing art style, as well as the representation. The moment I saw this book, I knew that I wanted to read it. A horror/fantasy graphic novel with queer main characters? Sign me up! I was ecstatic to get it in my hands, and I started to read it as soon as possible. My first two thoughts of the book went like this: 1. Wow, this art style is incredible! The character designs are so unique and fun, and the way you can tell what anybody is thinking at any given time, just from their facial expressions? That’s impressive, for sure. 2. This story… is way too fast paced. What is going on! Give us some backstory, something! I really loved what this story could have been, if it was longer. Everything just seemed to be happening all at once, and I wished that we had more time to really be introduced to the characters, to see and understand their motivations, etc. Maybe this could be a series? I’d love to see more of these characters, as I did really love them, but it was just much, much too short. Onto the representation though, I really think we need more of this in all sorts of books! Not just the two main characters being mlm, although of course that’s a great thing to have, but the body types is what I really loved to see. A graphic novel that isn’t afraid to have fat characters! Characters of colour! Hell, even a main character who has an autoimmune disease! We definitely need more of that, it is just so much more realistic to the real world. Overall, I really would recommend this! I hope to see more from this artist in the future.

  9. 4 out of 5

    TJ

    I was very excited for this book, but I feel like it let me down hard. It just felt like fragments of a plot with nothing for me to grasp onto. The werewolf plot could have been removed and I feel like it wouldn’t have changed the actual plot much; it just felt like two stories meshed together that weren’t clicking. Speaking of two styles not clicking, two art styles was an interesting choice, and I don’t think it did anything to benefit the book. If anything, the different art styles only added I was very excited for this book, but I feel like it let me down hard. It just felt like fragments of a plot with nothing for me to grasp onto. The werewolf plot could have been removed and I feel like it wouldn’t have changed the actual plot much; it just felt like two stories meshed together that weren’t clicking. Speaking of two styles not clicking, two art styles was an interesting choice, and I don’t think it did anything to benefit the book. If anything, the different art styles only added to the disjointed feel of the entire book. I loved the art overall, but the meshing was rough, and the script and pacing was some of the worst I’ve read in comics lately. Otherwise, the representation was nice and cute? 2/5 stars.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Hojo

    3.5 stars rep: trans chronically ill mc, queer black puerto rican mc, black side character TWs: bullying, homophobia, mentions of death, animal carcasses, parental neglect, ableism i thought this was really fun and cute. Not only were the main characters, Eli and Tony, great but k also loved side characters like Marcia! plus, the ending of this made me smile. i also enjoyed how casual the representation was. In addition, it was cool to see two different art styles as the authors alternated cha 3.5 stars rep: trans chronically ill mc, queer black puerto rican mc, black side character TWs: bullying, homophobia, mentions of death, animal carcasses, parental neglect, ableism i thought this was really fun and cute. Not only were the main characters, Eli and Tony, great but k also loved side characters like Marcia! plus, the ending of this made me smile. i also enjoyed how casual the representation was. In addition, it was cool to see two different art styles as the authors alternated chapters.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sandra

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Sadly that was a huge letdown. I expected some cool gay supernatural mystery werewolf stuff with horror and just got a we-need-to-include-everyone-and-everyone-has-it-hard-with-werewulfs-stuff, which was way to rushed at the end. Like rly. I get it that you need to have to include some tropes in new ya comics and novels, so no one can point a finger but boiiii this was like let's get a handful from the inclusion bucket, but actually got all of them. But OK, here: 1. Eli is the dork of the school, t Sadly that was a huge letdown. I expected some cool gay supernatural mystery werewolf stuff with horror and just got a we-need-to-include-everyone-and-everyone-has-it-hard-with-werewulfs-stuff, which was way to rushed at the end. Like rly. I get it that you need to have to include some tropes in new ya comics and novels, so no one can point a finger but boiiii this was like let's get a handful from the inclusion bucket, but actually got all of them. But OK, here: 1. Eli is the dork of the school, the outsider, the creep. He is always sick and often gone from school bcs he had an autoimmune sickness and is in hospital. His mother (no idea about his father but he had none) is annoyed by him bcs of that, even tho she works as a nurse (wtf). He is trans too (I guess, bcs it got mentioned once in like one picture, why he doesn't change in the school lockers anymore and the info didn't do anything for the story and after that it doesn't get mentioned again... Like why even show then - yeah I forget bcs if the inclusion - and I have a trans friend so, I get how hard it is for them, but in this story it didn't even matter). Oh and he can see ghosts ofc. 2. Tony, is a black dude (I guess he is black. The whole comic is in black and white and only the cover is in color, no idea where his origins are from). He is OF COURSE the sport dude, good at running bla bla. He loves Eli, which is pretty obvious rly at the start of the comic but he does shit about it when Eli got bullied by his friend (which I say something later on.) ofc he had a broken family too, a father who is a drunk and doesn't care much about his son and who is divorced (he later on is rly supportive and doesn't even had probs that his son is suddenly gay which just is such a sudden break in character, like did I miss something here?) oh and ofccccc he is ill to, he has asthma which no one in the sports team knows about and he wants to keep it secret... And he's turning into a werewolf later. After we got the two main chars, we can't forget the body positively including person - the black overweight goth girl. She's cute but after that trope laden guys it's just like... OK yeah right we need that too. And ofc the bad guy - the overly white American guns loving inbred best friends guy, who bullies Eli. Like right. Only those bully the nerds *rolls eyes*. The whole mystery of the story is a werewolf girl (which I thought was a guy GASP YES I ASSUMED HER GENDER - bcs she just looked like some forest dwelling lumberjack boy with long hair), who lost her dad and didn't have herself under control. So she rampage around the forest and bit Tony on an illegal hunting trip. Origin or anything of her doesn't get cleared up (not that any background story get cleared up here). Yes that's the reason for the "werewolf". They don't change while full moon but every time they are angry or pissy or moody and even can control to change back. So when their inner demons flare up they changed into the monsters. So after clearing up some misunderstanding between Eli and Tony, it's all oki doki and they helped the poor wolfgirl too, so she can see her ghost dad one last time. And ugh the whole story is over the place I can't even put a summarize here bcs they chars are just so over the top including and all have it so bad. Mimimi. I thought of giving 2 stars bcs the artwork is actually rly pretty, but in one scene Eli (WHO IS CONSTANTLY SICK) stole the inhaler of Tony bcs of some bullshit like 'u don't know how it is to always be sick' and that leads to Tony having an asthma attack on the sport fest with ambulance and everything. Just no. Rly. Just. No.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Candice

    I received a sample of this graphic novel in exchange for an honest review from the publisher and NetGalley. I really liked what I read so far in this graphic novel. It's a queer story with a spooky plot, and those are things I've very into. I think I'm a little sad that the sample I got ends on a huge cliffhanger so I'm only able to review the first part of the book, but it does make me interested in picking it up once it's released to get a better sense of the complete story. Tony and Eli couldn I received a sample of this graphic novel in exchange for an honest review from the publisher and NetGalley. I really liked what I read so far in this graphic novel. It's a queer story with a spooky plot, and those are things I've very into. I think I'm a little sad that the sample I got ends on a huge cliffhanger so I'm only able to review the first part of the book, but it does make me interested in picking it up once it's released to get a better sense of the complete story. Tony and Eli couldn't be more opposites attract, and while they seem like enemies at first, it quickly escalates to some kind of attraction. I do wish there was more character development or backstory told in the beginning, especially because we see that Eli might have some kind of chronic illness but don't really know what's going on with it. And Tony goes from thinking Eli is weird to getting pretty heart eyes really fast. I think I just would've like more build up with their characters before we jump right into the supernatural elements. I'm curious to see where this goes but wish I could have given a more in-depth review.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I am not the target audience, as I don't really like horror. And although the horror here is subtle, for the most part, it is still monsters and werewolves, and such, although not right way. At first it appears to be two boys who don't want to admit they are in love. Typical teen angst, and such, plus there is something out there, stalking them. Apparently this was done as a web cartoon first, and now it has been collected. I tried to find the story on-line, but is is only the first chapter. This I am not the target audience, as I don't really like horror. And although the horror here is subtle, for the most part, it is still monsters and werewolves, and such, although not right way. At first it appears to be two boys who don't want to admit they are in love. Typical teen angst, and such, plus there is something out there, stalking them. Apparently this was done as a web cartoon first, and now it has been collected. I tried to find the story on-line, but is is only the first chapter. This appears, however to be the first in several volumes, so I can't say what will happen with the cliff-hanger ending. Thanks to Netgalle¥ for making this book available for an honest review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Opal (shesreading)

    Thank you to Macmillan Children's Publishing Group for sending me a copy of this in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. I am an avid lover of paranormal and mystery type books, which is what originally drew me to this book. Blackwater by Jeannette Arroyo and Ren Graham is a contemporary paranormal graphic novel which follows two beautifully illustrated supernatural boys, a werewolf running amok in the woods, problematic parents a Thank you to Macmillan Children's Publishing Group for sending me a copy of this in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. I am an avid lover of paranormal and mystery type books, which is what originally drew me to this book. Blackwater by Jeannette Arroyo and Ren Graham is a contemporary paranormal graphic novel which follows two beautifully illustrated supernatural boys, a werewolf running amok in the woods, problematic parents and a pinch of high school drama. I thoroughly enjoyed this graphic novel! I devoured it in one sitting, as I do many graphic novels and had a good time doing so. Check out my full review below to read my thoughts! https://www.shesreading.blog/post/bla...

  15. 4 out of 5

    ethan

    Tony is a popular track star at Blackwater High School. Elijah is the outcast, constantly bullied by the popular crowd. But Blackwater isn’t like normal towns, and both Tony and Elijah have to deal with their supernatural challenges. This is my first time reading a graphic novel like this and I very much enjoyed it! This is obviously the first part to a series, since it was basically just the inciting incident of the series, but it was entertaining! I definitely want to see what the rest of the s Tony is a popular track star at Blackwater High School. Elijah is the outcast, constantly bullied by the popular crowd. But Blackwater isn’t like normal towns, and both Tony and Elijah have to deal with their supernatural challenges. This is my first time reading a graphic novel like this and I very much enjoyed it! This is obviously the first part to a series, since it was basically just the inciting incident of the series, but it was entertaining! I definitely want to see what the rest of the story holds for them, especially since there was a cliff hanger. The art style was very cool, and even though the artist switches each chapter there was still a continuity between them. I can’t say much more since it was so short other than I liked it and will keep my eye out for the rest of the series! Thank you to Net Galley for an eARC of this book! All opinions are my own.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nikki

    Thank you Jeannette Arroyo, Ren Graham, and Macmillan Children's Publishing for the opportunity to read and review this ARC. After reading the description for this series I knew this was my type of graphic novel! Both MMCs were really enjoyable to read about. Arroyo and Graham’s art was beautiful and matched the style of the story. I also wanted to say I really enjoyed all of the rep that was fit into the beginning of the story. It made Tony and Eli feel so authentic. Without giving anything awa Thank you Jeannette Arroyo, Ren Graham, and Macmillan Children's Publishing for the opportunity to read and review this ARC. After reading the description for this series I knew this was my type of graphic novel! Both MMCs were really enjoyable to read about. Arroyo and Graham’s art was beautiful and matched the style of the story. I also wanted to say I really enjoyed all of the rep that was fit into the beginning of the story. It made Tony and Eli feel so authentic. Without giving anything away, I can say I devoured this ARC in one sitting! It ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, but it left me feeling excited to read more. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  17. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Braue

    So good! I hope the author's write a sequel or make it a series! I love these characters so much! So good! I hope the author's write a sequel or make it a series! I love these characters so much!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Frank Chillura (OhYouRead)

    How anticlimactic! I was really getting into the story and it just ended out of nowhere. It said that it was the end, so maybe they’re planning on releasing a second volume?!?! It just feels like we got no answers or closure. While this book gives very queer feelings, it came off as gay baiting more than anything. Tony, the popular track star, brings who I assumed was his girlfriend, because their relationship was never explained, to meet a boy, Eli, who I also am assuming he likes. Eli is the “w How anticlimactic! I was really getting into the story and it just ended out of nowhere. It said that it was the end, so maybe they’re planning on releasing a second volume?!?! It just feels like we got no answers or closure. While this book gives very queer feelings, it came off as gay baiting more than anything. Tony, the popular track star, brings who I assumed was his girlfriend, because their relationship was never explained, to meet a boy, Eli, who I also am assuming he likes. Eli is the “weird” kid with no friends and unexplained absences at school. The plot is confusing, but it could be the many pages that are damaged in the eARC… so I’m going to attempt to reread it when it releases. For now… 🤷🏻‍♂️ Thank You to Fierce Reads and NetGalley for the eARC. Reread July 20th, 2022: Okay!!!! Now THAT was the level of spooky queer horror I was looking for. With a dash of Riverdale and some Stranger Things thrown in, Blackwater brought us into the woods where people say they’ve seen what they think is a black bear that’s terrorizing the town. Tony is the cool and popular track star. He has Biff, his best friend from elementary school who has a family full of backwoodsy hunter types, and Marcia, his goth spiritually accepting friend… I think friend? Maybe ex. Definitely friend! 😂 With his father drunk more often than sober, he depends on his friends to support him in life. Eli is the shy loner kid that’s been labeled as weird at school, because of all of his unexcused absences and the fact that he just doesn’t make friends as easily. He moved from Germany with his mother, who treats him really horribly, and seems to be a lot of his actual problems. I LOVED that not one, but TWO artists worked on this book. They switch off drawing every other chapter, so while the story continues at the regular pace, the art style changes often. I really enjoyed that concept, seeing as how it isn’t something I’ve seen in graphic novels. If you’re looking for a spooky queer book, just in time for fall, then this is for you! It gave me all the right vibes that I was looking for and now I’m in the mood for more!!!!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Chloe

    i need this book more then i need air to breathe

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jay

    This was probably somewhere between a 2.5 - 3 star for me. I really enjoyed the artwork, and I liked Tony and Eli and thought they had good chemistry (for the most part). The spooky atmosphere was really nice, and I loved all of the ghost and werewolf stuff. The story itself was fine. I never really understood where it was going, but I also didn't have any real issues with where it went. Overall, it was really fun except for a couple of glaring issues that I personally had. My first issue (which This was probably somewhere between a 2.5 - 3 star for me. I really enjoyed the artwork, and I liked Tony and Eli and thought they had good chemistry (for the most part). The spooky atmosphere was really nice, and I loved all of the ghost and werewolf stuff. The story itself was fine. I never really understood where it was going, but I also didn't have any real issues with where it went. Overall, it was really fun except for a couple of glaring issues that I personally had. My first issue (which is somewhat of a spoiler, so beware moving forward) has to do with a storyline that involves Eli stealing Tony's inhaler, which results in Tony having an asthma attack. Essentially, in the beginning of the story, Tony and his jackass best friend Biff come across Eli in a park, who is in a wheelchair at the time. Biff pushes him in a lake, and Tony doesn't do enough to stop him. Tony then gets Eli out of the lake and makes sure he's okay, but Eli is obviously pissed at him for not standing up to Biff. Fair enough. Except, in retaliation, Eli then steals Tony's inhaler right before a big track meet. This results, as I said before, in Tony having an asthma attack, and an ambulance needing to be called. So like, this looks pretty bad for Eli. Unforgivably bad, in my opinion. When he later comes clean about this to Tony (after they both have started to develop feelings for each other), he apologizes and says he wanted to get back at him for the stuff with Biff and he feels really bad. Tony, understandably, stops talking to him. The aftermath of this situation is very weird to me because Tony and Eli eventually make up and get back together, but this just feels so unforgivable? It also feels like most of Tony's anger is about how he messed up the race, rather than his life being in danger. I know that asthma can differ in severity, but that doesn't change the fact that suddenly not being able to breathe is a very scary thing (speaking from experience), and also ambulances aren't cheap! I guess my point is that I don't really know how any relationship could come back from that (or that it should). My second big issue was with the character of Marcia. Her character felt very strange to me, in that she is supposed to be Tony's best friend, but at no point does she seem like she cares about Tony's feelings. It is extremely unclear to me why she is friends with him. In particular, during the asthma incident, she at one point is talking to Eli (I just want to emphasize that this is the guy who stole her best friend's inhaler) and tells him that Tony is being a baby about the situation. She follows this by saying that Eli should still feel terrible and guilty about what he did. Which, I don't know, doesn't that entirely contradict what she just said about Tony? Why should Eli feel bad if Tony is overreacting? It's a very weird piece of dialogue, made weirder by the fact that Marcia is talking to Eli at all. Perhaps this is just me taking things too personally (what can I say at this point) but if someone stole my best friend's inhaler and lied about it, I would simply never speak to them again, no matter how bad they felt. Anyway, I enjoyed most of Blackwater but things like the above took me right out of the story, and also made it hard for me to root for the main characters to get together. And even so, there were still a lot of enjoyable parts. I don't know that I would recommend this one, but I might consider checking out more work by these authors. We'll see.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Carmen

    I received a copy from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. When Tony Price is drawn to a quiet guy at school, it feels like something is finally going right. Between his dad failing to pay attention to him and his lifelong best friend becoming more and more vicious, Eli Hirsch is the one good thing happening. At least that’s the case until his best friend bullies Eli, his dad continues to barely pay attention to him, and werewolf starts lurkin I received a copy from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. When Tony Price is drawn to a quiet guy at school, it feels like something is finally going right. Between his dad failing to pay attention to him and his lifelong best friend becoming more and more vicious, Eli Hirsch is the one good thing happening. At least that’s the case until his best friend bullies Eli, his dad continues to barely pay attention to him, and werewolf starts lurking in the woods. Everything happening at once turns his life upside down, but only one thing is making sense: Eli. This is an absolutely cute and heartwarming story with a little humor that pulls the heartstrings at times. I received a sampler of the book, but I did read the rest of the book on Jeannette Arroyo’s tumblr. When I first got to the end of the sampler, I was left on a cliffhanger as it ends at a pivotal moment. That’s when I decided to check out the author to see if they have published any other books and discovered the entire novel is posted on their tumblr. Even though they currently have it posted, I fully plan on buying the book because I absolutely love it. We follow Tony and Eli, who are two teenagers trying to get through their last year of high school. As the story picks up, we learn that Tony’s life may seem to be that of a picture-perfect high school star, but he’s actually a little sad and forever chasing after the approval of his father. Meanwhile, Eli appears to be of the flaky weird kid when he’s actually lonely and living with an autoimmune disease that makes him frequently miss school. The more we get to know them, the more the target audience learns that not everything is as it appears on the surface. While the overall message of the story is wonderful, the way it is told just brings these characters and the story to life. Other than the beautiful artwork, we’re presented a group of characters who each appear as a stereotype on the surface but are full of depth and not the stereotypes they appeared to be. They each bring a different piece of reality to the table and is mixed with a few paranormal elements. I love the way werewolves and ghosts are presented, though the werewolf lore is lacking. The more we learn about the characters, the smaller details continue to echo life. Even though Tony and his father don’t have the strongest relationship, I loved both characters along with their family dynamic. We also don’t see much of Eli’s family, but his mom is certainly one of the unkind sides of the world. Much of the story is hinged on acceptance, rejection, and the fear of rejection. I found this particularly realistic, especially based on the character’s lives and what they are going through. Tony teeters on the edge of accepted and rejected, and then there’s new realizations and circumstances that vastly tip in the direction he hopes it doesn’t go. It made a deep impression on me because it stirred up old feelings from when I was a teenager, so this book definitely touches on some important topics. All in all, I loved the book and look forward to seeing what the author publishes in the future.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Katerina

    TW: Bullying, Suicidal thoughts, parental neglect, gore, animal death, gun violence, violence, mentions of death Blackwater is a spooky contemporary-paranormal story that follows the story of two young teenagers just trying to find their place in the world. Eli a chronically ill boy who is wanting to live a normal life, and Tony who just wants his parents to be there for once. Of course, thrown in some spirits, a werewolf prancing around the forest, and teenage angst...and there you have Blac TW: Bullying, Suicidal thoughts, parental neglect, gore, animal death, gun violence, violence, mentions of death Blackwater is a spooky contemporary-paranormal story that follows the story of two young teenagers just trying to find their place in the world. Eli a chronically ill boy who is wanting to live a normal life, and Tony who just wants his parents to be there for once. Of course, thrown in some spirits, a werewolf prancing around the forest, and teenage angst...and there you have Blackwater in a nutshell! I believe my favorite part of this graphic novel was the art style. I was impressed with the spooky vibes it was giving off and I definitely felt like I was put in a twilight zone/ stranger things situation. Also, is it just me or does Tony look like Fonzie from Happy Days. Lol, was I the only one growing up watching older shows! As for the story itself. The premise of the novel was intriguing to me. I loved the idea of seeing ghosts and having werewolves run around. However, I felt like the plot and backstory were falling flat for me. Especially when the plot raced ahead and didn't pause to give us any context on the situation. There was a missing context that would have been nice to know, some back history to this town that seems to have a lot of supernature creatures living in it. Also, having a background on the characters would have been nice as well. It would have helped slow the plot a bit and given us more history on the characters. I felt like I was missing something when Tony talked about his mom and was thrown through a loop of Eli being from Germany. However, I do recommend this graphic novel to anyone that wants those spookyish vibes and a quick read when you are in a reading slump!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Cornerofmadness

    Tony and Eli's story contains some pretty familiar tropes, the star athlete (Tony), the socially awkward shy kid (Eli) so you know the romance is going to follow well trod paths. That doesn't mean that the story is hum drum by any means. I received the sampler of this graphic novel from Netgalley (which in no way affected my review and thanks for the ARC) and missed out on the protagonists' full stories (Tony is obviously biracial and is bi, Eli is chronically ill and trans) Tony's best friend, B Tony and Eli's story contains some pretty familiar tropes, the star athlete (Tony), the socially awkward shy kid (Eli) so you know the romance is going to follow well trod paths. That doesn't mean that the story is hum drum by any means. I received the sampler of this graphic novel from Netgalley (which in no way affected my review and thanks for the ARC) and missed out on the protagonists' full stories (Tony is obviously biracial and is bi, Eli is chronically ill and trans) Tony's best friend, Biff, is the school football star and school bully who has a real hate for Eli who has done nothing but be weird (in fact other than not wanting to change in the locker room I'm not sure the others have a clue Eli is trans because that seems like something Biff would have rampaged about) No one has a good family life really. Eli's German-speaking mother is not particularly supportive and cold, Tony's father is too busy for him (and we don't see mom) and Biff's family is definitely one of those circle of violence types. Tony finds himself drawn to Eli especially after a very ugly incident with Biff, confiding that he has bad asthma and Eli invites him over. However we get to see something very interesting with Eli. He sees spirits and knows they are warning him away from the woods. He can't tell Tony why he needs to stay out of the woods only that he should. So guess who Biff takes hunting? Yeah. There is definitely something paranormal in the woods and really my sampler ends just as the paranormal starts. I really liked Tony and Eli and especially liked Tony's friend Marcia a PoC goth girl. I think this is a web comic so I'm going to have to go out looking for more.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Gabriel Noel

    ARC given by NetGalley for Honest Review "Blackwater" is a spooky ghost story set in the small haunted town Blackwater, Maine. The art style cycles between the two artists and it's not a huge stylistic change between the two, but they differences really add a charm in the way each artist interprets the characters. This graphic novel is adapted from the webcomic and those fans will notice the book format will be a little censored to make it accessible to middle-grade and high school audiences. The ARC given by NetGalley for Honest Review "Blackwater" is a spooky ghost story set in the small haunted town Blackwater, Maine. The art style cycles between the two artists and it's not a huge stylistic change between the two, but they differences really add a charm in the way each artist interprets the characters. This graphic novel is adapted from the webcomic and those fans will notice the book format will be a little censored to make it accessible to middle-grade and high school audiences. The story is almost otherwise shot for shot from the webcomic, which is gonna be fine for people who have enjoyed it already online, but I find the story (which this will be multiple volumes) starts a little too fast paced and would have benefitted by using the opportunity to expand some backstory before getting into the thick of it. The representation is great also. Eli is a queer Jewish immigrant with an auto-immune disease, Tony is a queer person of color (I assume from his mother that we never meet, he is shaded much darker than his father in the art), and Marcia is a plus-sized, black, goth girl! A great diverse cast that makes their forming friendship super dynamic and interesting to read about! Overall it's got a good storyline, a good cast, and lovely art. I'm looking forward to the coming volumes!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    I have been loving the horror graphic novels happening lately especially in the YA realm so imagine my surprise to discover MORE!! "Blackwater" is set in the small town of Blackwater, where teens are trying to live their average lives as supernatural happenings exist around them. The crux of the plot revolves around Tony, a track star who looks like an extra from Grease, being bitten by a werewolf amidst burgeoning realizations about high school popularity and his sexuality. The object of his aff I have been loving the horror graphic novels happening lately especially in the YA realm so imagine my surprise to discover MORE!! "Blackwater" is set in the small town of Blackwater, where teens are trying to live their average lives as supernatural happenings exist around them. The crux of the plot revolves around Tony, a track star who looks like an extra from Grease, being bitten by a werewolf amidst burgeoning realizations about high school popularity and his sexuality. The object of his affections and chronically ill medium is Eli, a boy being bullied by Biff, Tony's frenemy. Marcia, a goth teen with a rational head on her shoulders, is the glue of the eventual friendship between Tony and Eli. I thought it was really interesting that the book was illustrated in black and white despite the modernity of the story, sort of blending really classical horror elements with the 21st century. I also appreciated the two different art styles to indicate each illustrator, it was a neat and unique touch. I almost didn't mind that the plot was threadbare because of the complex relationship developments that happened within the story. Of course, there's Tony and Eli and their eventual romance, but also Eli and Marcia's quick friendship, Biff and Tony's falling out and questionable allyship, Tony mending his relationship with his Dad. It definitely feels like despite one storyline wrapping up (Tony learning about his lycanthropy) there is potential for more to follow.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Maddie

    Thank you to Macmillan Children’s for providing this ARC via Netgalley! This has almost everything I’m looking for, and my overwhelming feeling upon completing it is I need MORE. More of the romance, more of the paranormal, more of the friendships. Every part of this is slow burn, which works for me until the end when things finally picked up. I’m super invested in Tony and Eli, and can not wait to see what comes next for them. If there is another volume of this, I have to imagine it will be a l Thank you to Macmillan Children’s for providing this ARC via Netgalley! This has almost everything I’m looking for, and my overwhelming feeling upon completing it is I need MORE. More of the romance, more of the paranormal, more of the friendships. Every part of this is slow burn, which works for me until the end when things finally picked up. I’m super invested in Tony and Eli, and can not wait to see what comes next for them. If there is another volume of this, I have to imagine it will be a lot more action packed than this. This had a lot of set up, but I do not care. I love the romance that’s being built up and I love the ghosts and spooky forest and werewolf (?). I like both art styles a lot, but there is one I like more than the other. Still, this was a fun way to read a graphic novel and it works with this story really well. The atmosphere is wonderful and creepy, and I loved all the illustrations of the forest. Ultimately my feelings can be summed up like this - I need MORE.

  27. 4 out of 5

    DK

    I don't think I got a complete copy of the graphic novel because it certainly wasn't 304 pages long! My estimate is that I read a third of the story so my review is based on that. Overall, I liked it! The art for the chapters alternates between the two creators and I like both of their styles. The setting is spooky and ominous, creating the perfect monster story vibe. I like that we have a diverse cast of characters, and from the summary it seems like the two main guys will get together. There w I don't think I got a complete copy of the graphic novel because it certainly wasn't 304 pages long! My estimate is that I read a third of the story so my review is based on that. Overall, I liked it! The art for the chapters alternates between the two creators and I like both of their styles. The setting is spooky and ominous, creating the perfect monster story vibe. I like that we have a diverse cast of characters, and from the summary it seems like the two main guys will get together. There were some things that I had questions about, like some of the characters' actions, that hopefully will be addressed further on in the story. I want to see the characters get fleshed out some more, find out about the ghosts and monsters, and get to the romance! I'll definitely be checking out the volume once it's published. In the meantime, I'm going to check out the webcomic it's adapted from. *I received an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review* **Update (7/20): I just finished reading the webcomic on tumblr and oh my gosh!! Loved it! I can't wait to see the book in published form! Everything that I wanted to see more of/get resolved did get shown in the rest of the story. I also really liked the characters' story arcs and growth. Being a teenager is hard, especially when you suddenly get turned into a werewolf.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    I'm not really sure quite how to review this. After reading Heartstopper I wanted to try some other graphic novels so I requested Blackwater on NetGalley- the cover was great and the story sounded interesting. Imagine my surprise though, when I started reading it today, for it to come to rather an abrupt end, after just over 100 pages. I went to NG to see if it mentioned on the description that we'd only be getting a sample, or that this was a part one, but it didn't note that any where on the b I'm not really sure quite how to review this. After reading Heartstopper I wanted to try some other graphic novels so I requested Blackwater on NetGalley- the cover was great and the story sounded interesting. Imagine my surprise though, when I started reading it today, for it to come to rather an abrupt end, after just over 100 pages. I went to NG to see if it mentioned on the description that we'd only be getting a sample, or that this was a part one, but it didn't note that any where on the book info. So I checked out some of the reviews and apparently I'm not the only one who was expected a full length book, only to receive about a third of it. I'm not sure what the purpose of this was, without discloing it as a sample. I'm giving it 3* because the story was starting to get good, and I really enjoyed the art. But I am very disappointed that I'm not able to review the full story.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Just One More Page Podcast

    We received this ARC from NetGalley and Henry Holt & Co for an honest review. This is a YA graphic novel that is marketed as a Riverdale meets Stranger Things but makes it LGBTQ friendly. This novel is set in the haunted town of Blackwater, Maine, where Tony, a popular teenager, and Eli, a quiet teenage boy with health issues, become friends. Together they try to unravel the mystery that haunts their town. It's tough to judge a graphic novel on the first volume in the series. That said, I feel lik We received this ARC from NetGalley and Henry Holt & Co for an honest review. This is a YA graphic novel that is marketed as a Riverdale meets Stranger Things but makes it LGBTQ friendly. This novel is set in the haunted town of Blackwater, Maine, where Tony, a popular teenager, and Eli, a quiet teenage boy with health issues, become friends. Together they try to unravel the mystery that haunts their town. It's tough to judge a graphic novel on the first volume in the series. That said, I feel like this was the perfect cozy mystery novel, and I can see a ton of potential for it. The illustration for this novel came off feeling very retro. Not only were the clothes straight out of a grease movie, but the panels were in black and white, adding to the retro feeling. It was also nice that when we reached a new section of the book, we would get a small amount of color against the black and white world. The illustrator did a fantastic job of showing the characters' emotions without becoming overboard. The supernatural part of the book wasn't well developed and left us with more questions than answers. I assume this is because this is only the first volume in the book. Regardless, we loved this book and talked about it on our podcast, Just One More Page. This episode is coming out on 7/24! You can listen to our podcast here: https://open.spotify.com/show/2oBOvaV...

  30. 4 out of 5

    Adriana

    3.5 stars for this captivating beginning to a queer supernatural romance that feels like it has potential but ends just when things get interesting. I really like the fact that the art changes from one chapter to another as the authors switch places on who's in charge of it. It adds to the eerie disquiet of the location to which they dedicate so much page time. Leading me to my major complaint. So much page time is dedicated to setting the mood and introducing the town and woods as a major part 3.5 stars for this captivating beginning to a queer supernatural romance that feels like it has potential but ends just when things get interesting. I really like the fact that the art changes from one chapter to another as the authors switch places on who's in charge of it. It adds to the eerie disquiet of the location to which they dedicate so much page time. Leading me to my major complaint. So much page time is dedicated to setting the mood and introducing the town and woods as a major part of the story that there's not much space left to let the characters and the actual plot develop. I mean, just when we get a tiny morsel of actual plot is when the book ends. Happy thanks to NetGalley and Henry Holt and Co. BYR Paperbacks for the early read!

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