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The Airless Year

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For Kacee, a queer Black girl in middle school, everything feels like a struggle. Her parents take out their personal issues on her, classes are a challenge, her crush is clueless about her feelings, and her two best friends are always at odds. When Kacee fails a class as a result of her stress and ends up in summer school, she starts to wonder why she even bothers trying—a For Kacee, a queer Black girl in middle school, everything feels like a struggle. Her parents take out their personal issues on her, classes are a challenge, her crush is clueless about her feelings, and her two best friends are always at odds. When Kacee fails a class as a result of her stress and ends up in summer school, she starts to wonder why she even bothers trying—and ultimately begins to discover her own power to improve the things in her life she can control, and try to let go of what she can’t. From writer Adam P. Knave (The Once and Future Queen) and artist Valentine Barker, with letters by Frank Cvetkovic (Punch-Up), The Airless Year is a story of self-discovery and empowerment about taking control where you can, and learning to let the rest go.


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For Kacee, a queer Black girl in middle school, everything feels like a struggle. Her parents take out their personal issues on her, classes are a challenge, her crush is clueless about her feelings, and her two best friends are always at odds. When Kacee fails a class as a result of her stress and ends up in summer school, she starts to wonder why she even bothers trying—a For Kacee, a queer Black girl in middle school, everything feels like a struggle. Her parents take out their personal issues on her, classes are a challenge, her crush is clueless about her feelings, and her two best friends are always at odds. When Kacee fails a class as a result of her stress and ends up in summer school, she starts to wonder why she even bothers trying—and ultimately begins to discover her own power to improve the things in her life she can control, and try to let go of what she can’t. From writer Adam P. Knave (The Once and Future Queen) and artist Valentine Barker, with letters by Frank Cvetkovic (Punch-Up), The Airless Year is a story of self-discovery and empowerment about taking control where you can, and learning to let the rest go.

40 review for The Airless Year

  1. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Cooke

    A highly relatable and empowering story that explores those awkward transition years that all young people experience—the ones where everything feels up in the air as you desperately try to discover who you are. The Airless Year is filled with delightful wit, dry humor, and themes that will hit home for many young people. The art is simplistic but effective in conveying the story. With an especially excellent focus on artist Valentine Barker’s character expressions that expertly bring you into e A highly relatable and empowering story that explores those awkward transition years that all young people experience—the ones where everything feels up in the air as you desperately try to discover who you are. The Airless Year is filled with delightful wit, dry humor, and themes that will hit home for many young people. The art is simplistic but effective in conveying the story. With an especially excellent focus on artist Valentine Barker’s character expressions that expertly bring you into each moment on the page.

  2. 4 out of 5

    mad mags

    2.5/5 stars (Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC for review through Edelweiss.) THE AIRLESS YEAR follows a young adult named Kacee as she navigates a calendar year in middle school - hard enough on its own, but she's failing math and French; her two besties are also warring twin siblings; her parents are the worst; and she's a queer, Black girl with an unrequited crush on a super-cool nonbinary artist. In order to "succeed" - in school and relationships - she has to learn who she is, what mat 2.5/5 stars (Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC for review through Edelweiss.) THE AIRLESS YEAR follows a young adult named Kacee as she navigates a calendar year in middle school - hard enough on its own, but she's failing math and French; her two besties are also warring twin siblings; her parents are the worst; and she's a queer, Black girl with an unrequited crush on a super-cool nonbinary artist. In order to "succeed" - in school and relationships - she has to learn who she is, what matters most to her, and how to ask for (and accept) help. I really wanted to like THE AIRLESS YEAR, but the story mostly fell flat for me. Maybe it's because I'm not the intended audience - it's been decades since I was Kacee's age - but very little here struck a chord in me. It's not that Kacee's struggles aren't relatable; I still remember what it felt like to be 13, impossibly awkward, and with few friends to fall back on (or at least I think I do / still am, I guess). Rather, the story just felt underwhelming. One example: Kacee's family dynamics. Kacee is a dark-skinned Black girl; her mother is Black, but lighter-skinned, and dad is very clearly white. Both parents are kind of terrible - unsupportive scolds who badger Kacee night and day without offering any actual help, and who actively mock her (few) friends (!) - but Dad is clearly the worse of the two. One word comes to mind when describing his behavior: misogynoir. But, since race isn't really discussed at all, we're mostly left guessing over this guy. (Yes, it's great to create a diverse story without having to actively address things like race, ethnicity, gender, sexual identity and orientation, and religion ad nauseam, but I feel like throwing in an overbearing white dad without explanation is questionable at best.) The artwork is a bit of a mixed bag for me. Whereas the alien landscapes Kacee escapes to her in head are quite lovely, I'm not a huge fan of the people - everyone has the same weird, lumpy shape and oddly shaped head. Definitely a distraction.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    4.5 Beautiful, moving, art, very honest and heartfelt story of a young girl struggling with then finding her way to strengthen academics, friendships and relationships

  4. 5 out of 5

    Cassandra Haywood

    The art was really nice. The mc is very relatable, and it was a very touching story.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jolynn

  6. 5 out of 5

    August Neely

  7. 5 out of 5

    Szymon Holcman

  8. 5 out of 5

    Brooke

  9. 4 out of 5

    Myrthe

  10. 4 out of 5

    Chris

  11. 4 out of 5

    Clare

  12. 4 out of 5

    Shouvik Roy

  13. 5 out of 5

    Emrys

  14. 5 out of 5

    Dpalange44

  15. 4 out of 5

    Claire Wrobel

  16. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Noe

  17. 5 out of 5

    Fiona

  18. 5 out of 5

    Cecilia

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kim

  20. 4 out of 5

    CB

  21. 5 out of 5

    Agent Smith

  22. 4 out of 5

    Emily

  23. 4 out of 5

    Allison Bernard

  24. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

  25. 4 out of 5

    h

  26. 4 out of 5

    Emma

  27. 4 out of 5

    Essie M

  28. 4 out of 5

    LHW

  29. 5 out of 5

    CB

  30. 5 out of 5

    Justine

  31. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

  32. 4 out of 5

    Omnibuster

  33. 4 out of 5

    Kavya ♡

  34. 4 out of 5

    Em

  35. 4 out of 5

    Polina

  36. 4 out of 5

    Natalia

  37. 5 out of 5

    H.R.

  38. 5 out of 5

    Ashlyn

  39. 4 out of 5

    Amber

  40. 4 out of 5

    Celadon Phoenix

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