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From the author of Hot Dog Girl comes a fresh and funny queer YA contemporary novel about two teens who fall in love in an indie comic book shop. Jubilee has it all together. She’s an elite cellist, and when she’s not working in her stepmom’s indie comic shop, she’s prepping for the biggest audition of her life. Ridley is barely holding it together. His parents own the bigge From the author of Hot Dog Girl comes a fresh and funny queer YA contemporary novel about two teens who fall in love in an indie comic book shop. Jubilee has it all together. She’s an elite cellist, and when she’s not working in her stepmom’s indie comic shop, she’s prepping for the biggest audition of her life. Ridley is barely holding it together. His parents own the biggest comic-store chain in the country, and Ridley can’t stop disappointing them—that is, when they’re even paying attention. They meet one fateful night at a comic convention prom, and the two can’t help falling for each other. Too bad their parents are at each other’s throats every chance they get, making a relationship between them nearly impossible…unless they manage to keep it a secret. Then again, the feud between their families may be the least of their problems. As Ridley’s anxiety spirals, Jubilee tries to help but finds her focus torn between her fast-approaching audition and their intensifying relationship. What if love can’t conquer all? What if each of them needs more than the other can give?


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From the author of Hot Dog Girl comes a fresh and funny queer YA contemporary novel about two teens who fall in love in an indie comic book shop. Jubilee has it all together. She’s an elite cellist, and when she’s not working in her stepmom’s indie comic shop, she’s prepping for the biggest audition of her life. Ridley is barely holding it together. His parents own the bigge From the author of Hot Dog Girl comes a fresh and funny queer YA contemporary novel about two teens who fall in love in an indie comic book shop. Jubilee has it all together. She’s an elite cellist, and when she’s not working in her stepmom’s indie comic shop, she’s prepping for the biggest audition of her life. Ridley is barely holding it together. His parents own the biggest comic-store chain in the country, and Ridley can’t stop disappointing them—that is, when they’re even paying attention. They meet one fateful night at a comic convention prom, and the two can’t help falling for each other. Too bad their parents are at each other’s throats every chance they get, making a relationship between them nearly impossible…unless they manage to keep it a secret. Then again, the feud between their families may be the least of their problems. As Ridley’s anxiety spirals, Jubilee tries to help but finds her focus torn between her fast-approaching audition and their intensifying relationship. What if love can’t conquer all? What if each of them needs more than the other can give?

30 review for Verona Comics

  1. 4 out of 5

    Irena BookDustMagic

    Actual rating: 3,5 stars When I got Netgalley widget for Verona Comics I was pleasantly surprised. I am in a reading mood for ya contemporaries lately, and this book showed up in just about right time. Since I like to go into my books blind, I only read summary briefly, and thought this would fun ya romance. Boy, was I wrong! What I thought would be fluffy and cute love story turned into serious novel that talks about anxiety with suicidal thoughts in such a strong and realistic way. Don't get me wro Actual rating: 3,5 stars When I got Netgalley widget for Verona Comics I was pleasantly surprised. I am in a reading mood for ya contemporaries lately, and this book showed up in just about right time. Since I like to go into my books blind, I only read summary briefly, and thought this would fun ya romance. Boy, was I wrong! What I thought would be fluffy and cute love story turned into serious novel that talks about anxiety with suicidal thoughts in such a strong and realistic way. Don't get me wrong, this book still had lots of cute and heart warming scenes, especially at the beginning, but as the story progressed the serious tone was louder and louder. I am not sure if this is own voices story, but from my perspective, as someone who suffers from anxiety even today, and had suicidal thoughts before, I can say that Ridley's character was realistic. I could totally understand him, so many of his thoughts and actions I found familiar, especially those what were written in italics. Verona Comics also represents lgbtq community and POC. Other then that, it also touches subject of family dynamics, which is very important for the story. I enjoyed comics reference. Who would say that it is such a competitive business? Then again, I guess all businesses are. This novel is written in first person, following two perspectives: Ridley's and Jubilee's. I enjoyed the story, but I have to admit that I didn't feel the chemistry between two main characters, which took some enjoyment from my reading experience. All the other parts of the story, from family relationships to friendships were well written. This is fast paced story, and easy to read. I think ya contemporary lovers will enjoy this one!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nina

    ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Verona Comics was a very quick read and I really enjoyed the comic convention/comic shop setting of the novel. I also loved how diverse this book was when it came to sexuality. The main character Jubilee has queer moms, she has a lesbian best friend and both she and the love interest Ridley are bisexual. I also really appreciated seeing Ridley deal with panic attacks and anxiety and for once not reading about a male mai ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Verona Comics was a very quick read and I really enjoyed the comic convention/comic shop setting of the novel. I also loved how diverse this book was when it came to sexuality. The main character Jubilee has queer moms, she has a lesbian best friend and both she and the love interest Ridley are bisexual. I also really appreciated seeing Ridley deal with panic attacks and anxiety and for once not reading about a male main character who is super confident and not showing any signs of weakness. I think it’s so important to include that in young adult fiction and show teens that it’s okay to struggle with mental health and that others are struggling too, that things can get better no matter how bad they seem and that one doesn’t always have to be strong and perfect. I also thought it was kind of fun that this was a Romeo and Juliet retelling and the rivalry between Jubilee’s and Ridley’s families definitely made this book more interesting. However, I wasn’t really a big fan of the way Ridley told his father about Jubilee and the things he did following that reveal. It just didn’t sit well with me and left a bad taste in my mouth. It also took me about a third of the book to actually get into the story. At first, I had a bit of a hard time connecting to the characters but I ultimately grew fond of them – especially of Jubilee and her friends and family – and definitely became a lot more invested in the story once I’d begun caring for them. So all in all, this was a very enjoyable read and I’m definitely going to check out Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan some time in the future. I really liked the writing style and loved how quick of a read this was – I finished it in less than half a day. Four out of five stars to Verona Comics. instagram || my blog || twitter

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dahlia

    I really loved this book, and I really wish it wasn't being marketed as strictly a fluffy romance, because I think it's really magical at what it does and that isn't how I'd describe it. The romance is adorable, don't get me wrong, but this is first and foremost a mental health book ((view spoiler)[also, there isn't an HEA, so like, it's really not a Romance, though it ends exactly as I think it should (hide spoiler)] , and I think it handles that beautifully as reimagined Romeo & Juliet. Ridley I really loved this book, and I really wish it wasn't being marketed as strictly a fluffy romance, because I think it's really magical at what it does and that isn't how I'd describe it. The romance is adorable, don't get me wrong, but this is first and foremost a mental health book ((view spoiler)[also, there isn't an HEA, so like, it's really not a Romance, though it ends exactly as I think it should (hide spoiler)] , and I think it handles that beautifully as reimagined Romeo & Juliet. Ridley has anxiety disorders, severe depression with suicidal ideation (cw: a past suicide attempt is mentioned more than once), and a difficult family and past. He and Jubilee are both really charming characters with great chemistry who really work on their communication in a solid way. Jennifer Dugan is officially an author I will follow anywhere.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    Fun and funny and cute, for sure, but there is some heavy stuff in this YA rom-com. It's good -- Ridley, the male main character, has anxiety, depression, and codependency issues -- and both he and Jubilee are well-fleshed characters. I'm not super into the comic/fandom world, so it didn't connect with me as much as Hot Dog Girl, but for readers who are, this will be an utter treat. Which doesn't mean I didn't love it because I definitely did and definitely needed to read this book right now. It Fun and funny and cute, for sure, but there is some heavy stuff in this YA rom-com. It's good -- Ridley, the male main character, has anxiety, depression, and codependency issues -- and both he and Jubilee are well-fleshed characters. I'm not super into the comic/fandom world, so it didn't connect with me as much as Hot Dog Girl, but for readers who are, this will be an utter treat. Which doesn't mean I didn't love it because I definitely did and definitely needed to read this book right now. It's a rom-com with a lot of meat on the bone that treats mental health so well.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nenia ✨️ Socially Awkward Trash Panda ✨️ Campbell

    Omg yes yes yes PLEASE tell me this is a nerdy LGBT+ retelling of Romeo and Juliet All these nerdy romances make my geek heart so happy

  6. 5 out of 5

    Zoë ☆

    I really enjoyed reading this! It starts off as a cute romance, but it then got on to discuss some heavier topics. And even though I didn't initially expect this, I thought it was well done. My heart broke for the main characters and I teared up a few times. I honestly cannot wait to read Hot Dog Girl now! I would recommend this if the synopsis sounds interesting to you, but definitely keep in mind that this isn't just a fluffy contemporary.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sónia

    I received this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This is hard for me to rate. I love all the different kinds of representation in this book - queer, Black and Asian, mental health, class - but the way it is marketed is slightly misleading. I requested this expecting a fluffy and heartwarming ya romance (I should have learnt my lesson with In Five Years and take every synopsis with a grain of salt) and I got a roller-coaster ride of intense emotions and h I received this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This is hard for me to rate. I love all the different kinds of representation in this book - queer, Black and Asian, mental health, class - but the way it is marketed is slightly misleading. I requested this expecting a fluffy and heartwarming ya romance (I should have learnt my lesson with In Five Years and take every synopsis with a grain of salt) and I got a roller-coaster ride of intense emotions and hard-hitting subjects. The story follows Jubilee and Ridley in a dual POV format that lets you dive into their very different realities. Jubilee is an only daughter and lives with her two loving mums, one of which is an indie comic artist who owns a comics bookshop. She is the best cello player in the state and trying for a position in a renowned music summer camp program. Her two best friends, Nikki and Jayla, are also a big part of her life. Jubilee’s family struggles financially. Ridley on the other hand lives with his absent mother, has a horrible father and a sister who is doted in by both of their parents whom he loves (despite being rightfully jealous at times). He suffers from severe depression and anxiety, with which is struggles daily to the point it interferes with his social life and his relationship with his family. He has no future prospects, doesn’t care about school and has no close friends other than his older sister who seems to be the only person who cares about him. Ridley is wealthy. Their families are enemies in the comic book industry. So when their worlds collide, it’s cute and fluffy, until they find out how different their lives are when all the lies are finally unveiled. Her friends don’t like how much of her time he takes and her stepmother is becoming worried and suspicious of Ridley. On the other hand, Ridley can’t take it anymore at home with his father grilling him about spying for him. Another thing that really bothered me was that it got something dangerous and life threatening happening for Grayson and even Ridley to make decision of getting professional help for him. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, I just wish that there was a different kind of depression rep where the person gets help before something this big happens. I’m just glad it was an accident in this case and that it wasn’t Ridley’s fault. I also hated that Ridley didn’t come clean about his identity to Jubilee right when he realised who she was. It was misleading and I really hate that trope. Even more in this case because he used spying for his dad as an excuse to be close to her without her knowing he was the same boy she met at the prom dance thing. I don’t care if he didn’t spy on his dad’s behalf, he still spied on her for his own. I have mixed feelings about this book because I hated most of the decisions and actions taken by Ridley and I also think Jubilee should have taken a stance earlier. But I still like little things like Jubilee trying to figure out her sexuality, how different all the relationships - straight and queer - were and I loved Jubilee’s mums a lot. I do still recommend this to people because it has good rep and, I don’t know if it was intentional because I didn’t see it mentioned anyways but, it’s a great retelling of Romeo and Juliet. I’d just caution people not to expect a cute and heartwarming story because this is definitely not it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Deborah

    There were quite a few aspects to "Veronca Comics" I enjoyed, primarily the idea of two teens from competing comic shop families crushing on each other after meeting at a comic con. That's just a super adorable premise! The characters are also nicely fleshed out, even the side characters were fun to read, and honestly I would love a Jayla spinoff novel. Also, everyone is very open about their dating preferences and sexuality, and there is a lot of wholesome support shown from friends and (most) There were quite a few aspects to "Veronca Comics" I enjoyed, primarily the idea of two teens from competing comic shop families crushing on each other after meeting at a comic con. That's just a super adorable premise! The characters are also nicely fleshed out, even the side characters were fun to read, and honestly I would love a Jayla spinoff novel. Also, everyone is very open about their dating preferences and sexuality, and there is a lot of wholesome support shown from friends and (most) family. That being said, I just felt like the whole second half of the novel was quite repetitive and redundant. Characters kept having the same conversations about the same topics, and very little happened until the final couple chapters. Even then, it wrapped up quite quickly, and although I enjoyed the note the book ended on, I felt like it happened too fast to be thoroughly enjoyable. The pacing overall could have been much smoother. Lastly, there was just a little too much of that vibe of a girl thinking "Oh, I can date this troubled boy and fix him!" for me to be totally comfortable. It doesn't end up being quite like that, but I also don't think that line of thinking was addressed enough. No one ever challenged this thought and it really needed to be. This last point has spoilers - you've been warned ;) *A major part of this novel is the fact that Ridley's dad wants Ridley to spy on Verona Comics so he can find a way for their comic shop to buy out Verona. But this plot is tied up in basically a sentence that says Ridley's dad decided to just stop trying. That's it. All throughout the book, Mr. Everlasting was shown to be harsh, relentless, and cutthroat, but then he just...stops?? I don't believe it. Sure, Ridley was in that car accident, but when Ridley jumped off that roof however long ago it did stop his dad from being mean/cutthroat then? I just don't buy it, and it felt like lazy writing to wrap this up so blandly.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lea | That_Bookdragon

    3/5 ⭐️ Thank you so much to PRH International for providing me with a free e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion! This book was very funny and adorable but it tackled very important topics as well. Ridley's anxiety was relatable and heartbreaking to read, and his relationship with his family was just absolutely and completely awful. Poor boy needs a break. Jubilee was definitely my favorite character, she's an icon. Also, the rep and diversity in this book is absolutely incredible 3/5 ⭐️ Thank you so much to PRH International for providing me with a free e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion! This book was very funny and adorable but it tackled very important topics as well. Ridley's anxiety was relatable and heartbreaking to read, and his relationship with his family was just absolutely and completely awful. Poor boy needs a break. Jubilee was definitely my favorite character, she's an icon. Also, the rep and diversity in this book is absolutely incredible and I loved it! We have bi characters (finally a well written bi rep!!!), lesbian rep, diversity, mental health. Honestly this made the book absolutely fantastic and it was just a delight to read. I wish we could have just that much rep in more YA books. I liked the writing, it was really easy to follow and fast to read. However, I felt like the beginning was a bit rushed and I have to admit Ridley made me cringe at first, but I ended up growing really attached to him after a few more chapters. You will just want to give him the biggest hug. Then, Jubilee is a nerd and she doesn't hide it, which is so fresh and good I loved it! I loved all the comics references and I, myself, fangirled along with the characters. Oops. Reading this book was definitely entertaining and great to escape from the scary real world outside! My Bookstagram

  10. 5 out of 5

    maya

    *3.5 stars first off i just gotta say that it was great to have a book with two queer main characters and multiple poc and lgbtq side characters !! now to the story....it's a ya contemporary romance. i don't like romance novels, i like contemporaries. but what makes a contemporary novel good is a unique and authentic set of characters which was only half the case here. to me, ridley felt like a thought through character but jubilee didn't, which made the entire thing feel a little imbalanced. part *3.5 stars first off i just gotta say that it was great to have a book with two queer main characters and multiple poc and lgbtq side characters !! now to the story....it's a ya contemporary romance. i don't like romance novels, i like contemporaries. but what makes a contemporary novel good is a unique and authentic set of characters which was only half the case here. to me, ridley felt like a thought through character but jubilee didn't, which made the entire thing feel a little imbalanced. part of what makes a romance novel good is two characters that have chemistry which really wasn't the case in my opinion. their story arc was very dramatic and not at all the easy, fun kind that you might have expected which wasn't really my thing to be honest. still wasn't a bad book, i just (again) enjoyed the first half a lot more and was let down by the second. (a little detail i personally loved: ridley skates !!)

  11. 4 out of 5

    Vee

    4.5/5 This book completely took me by surprise. I was expecting a lighthearted retelling of Romeo & Juliet, but what I got was a really thoughtful exploration of some of the darker themes in R&J. Including: parental abuse, codependency, depression, suicide and suicidal ideation. This was a really healthy look at teen mental health and how to cope with it, even for those who love people struggling with their mental health. We also had a very diverse cast in terms of sexuality, the female MC is (u 4.5/5 This book completely took me by surprise. I was expecting a lighthearted retelling of Romeo & Juliet, but what I got was a really thoughtful exploration of some of the darker themes in R&J. Including: parental abuse, codependency, depression, suicide and suicidal ideation. This was a really healthy look at teen mental health and how to cope with it, even for those who love people struggling with their mental health. We also had a very diverse cast in terms of sexuality, the female MC is (undefined) pansexual with lesbian parents and the male MC is bisexual. And, I really liked the discussions that were had about the differences between pansexuality and bisexuality but, particularly about Queer Identity as a whole. The female MC questions whether or not she is allowed to identify as queer and pansexual when she’s only had hetero relationships. And they talk together about being ‘queer enough’ despite the fact that they’re in a relationship with each other. This part will resonate with a lot of people who question the validity of their queer identity, not just self-discovering teens. Honestly, the communication between them was just really top-notch. The nerdy backdrop setting of warring comic book companies, fandom and cosplay did wonders for wrapping this story up into something very accessible and relatable. I’m definitely going to check out more of Dugan’s work.

  12. 5 out of 5

    bee ˘͈ᵕ˘͈

    three point five stars ∗ lol i have one single tear falling from my eye as i write this. i went into this book expecting it to be an average, somewhat cliche contemporary novel and while on some parts it was exactly that, it was also so much more. this book dealt with mental health issues in a way no other contemporary (that i’ve read so far) has. reading certain parts of this book was hard for me because i really related to ridley in so many ways and it almost felt like i was watching (reading?) three point five stars ∗ lol i have one single tear falling from my eye as i write this. i went into this book expecting it to be an average, somewhat cliche contemporary novel and while on some parts it was exactly that, it was also so much more. this book dealt with mental health issues in a way no other contemporary (that i’ve read so far) has. reading certain parts of this book was hard for me because i really related to ridley in so many ways and it almost felt like i was watching (reading?) myself in his character. my heart ached so much for him. so it really started out as a classic cute contemporary, and i loved all of the nerdy aspects of it bc i am, ahem, a Huge Nerd for all things comics/superheroes. i dream of being able to work in a comic book store! that was a really fun aspect to this novel. i also loved the good relationships within this novel, like gray and ridley’s sibling bond and jubilee’s familial system. it was interesting to see those compared to the not so good relationships within this story, mainly between ridley and his parents. i will also say that i wasn’t a big fan of jubilee’s best friend, jayla, for a good majority of the book. i did like her at first, but she kinda took a turn for the worst as the book went on. jubilee questioned her sexuality a bit in this novel, and i felt like jayla wasn’t really supportive of that journey even though she herself is part of the lgbtq+ community. she also was one of the people who pushed jubilee into ‘living life’ and not focusing so much time on her music, and yet she complained a lot about jubilee doing just that? idk i just didn’t really care for her. all in all, though, i did enjoy reading this book & it was a lot more than i anticipated!!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Marie

    Trigger warnings: (view spoiler)[anxiety and multiple descriptions of panic attacks, depression, talk about a previous suicide attempt, suicide idealisation, car accident, codependency, abusive parent (verbal and emotional neglect). (hide spoiler)] Diversity:main character with social anxiety and clinical depression, bisexual main characters, queer main character, POC side character, adopted and Korean side character, gay side characters, f/f relationship. I really liked this book overall, a sweet Trigger warnings: (view spoiler)[anxiety and multiple descriptions of panic attacks, depression, talk about a previous suicide attempt, suicide idealisation, car accident, codependency, abusive parent (verbal and emotional neglect). (hide spoiler)] Diversity:main character with social anxiety and clinical depression, bisexual main characters, queer main character, POC side character, adopted and Korean side character, gay side characters, f/f relationship. I really liked this book overall, a sweet, complex romance with complicated families and mental health rep that was really, really well done. I feel like it shouldn't be marketed as a romance so much, because it's much heavier than that and deals with (view spoiler)[depression and suicide (hide spoiler)] . It was a realistic, heartwarming and emotional read at times and I really enjoyed it :) Read my full review of Verona Comics on the blog! Thank you to Penguin Random House International for the e-ARC of this book. This did not, in any way, influence my thoughts and rating. My Blog - Drizzle & Hurricane Books - Twitter - - Bookstagram - Bloglovin'

  14. 5 out of 5

    USOM

    (Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) TW: anxiety, panic attacks, suicide attempt in past, suicidal ideation, depression Comic books, star-crossed lovers, and mental health? Verona Comics is a total win! This queer contemporary tackles serious subjects such as mental health all the way to questioning our sexuality and bi-erasure. Verona Comics is one of those books which evolves with every page. Starting off at a comic co (Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) TW: anxiety, panic attacks, suicide attempt in past, suicidal ideation, depression Comic books, star-crossed lovers, and mental health? Verona Comics is a total win! This queer contemporary tackles serious subjects such as mental health all the way to questioning our sexuality and bi-erasure. Verona Comics is one of those books which evolves with every page. Starting off at a comic convention, introducing a totally adorable romance angle, and then struggles with mental health, it constantly tugs at your heart strings. I am here for all the different queer characters from Jubilee's parents, Ridley's bisexuality, and Jubilee's questioning representation (and struggling with bi-erasure). Verona Comics is dual perspective and it just works so seamlessly! The characters are so precious. Ridley is struggling with his parent's expectations paired with his totally relatable desire for acceptance and love from his father. At basically all times I wanted to wrap Ridley up in a protective bubble - no one messes with Ridley! At the same time, I adore Jubilee. And I basically fell in love with her from the first page. I want to read about more passionate musicians. As someone who has had to be the kind of figure Jubilee was for Ridley, her character felt so relatable to me. full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...

  15. 5 out of 5

    Stacy Fetters

    "If my ride was music, then his is a symphony, and I don’t want it to stop." I’ve been hearing a lot of hype for this book since its release was announced. I even made a stop at the Penguin booth at ALA to request a copy and was over the moon when they handed it to me. I instantly bumped this up my reading list because I couldn’t let it sit there and torment me. Am I glad that I read it? Oh, most definitely. Is it one of the best books I’ve read? No, it’s not. It had a lot of great things going f "If my ride was music, then his is a symphony, and I don’t want it to stop." I’ve been hearing a lot of hype for this book since its release was announced. I even made a stop at the Penguin booth at ALA to request a copy and was over the moon when they handed it to me. I instantly bumped this up my reading list because I couldn’t let it sit there and torment me. Am I glad that I read it? Oh, most definitely. Is it one of the best books I’ve read? No, it’s not. It had a lot of great things going for it but the story was kind of bland. The Author did an amazing job at detailing/showing the darker side of a mental illness and how people disguise it. So this book as a whole was really a double edged sword for me. RTC

  16. 5 out of 5

    Abi

    (ORIGINALLY A 3.5 BROUGHT DOWN TO A 2.5) *2.5 TRIGGER WARNINGS - DEPRESSION, SUICIDAL THOUGHTS, CAR ACCIDENTS, EMOTIONALLY ABUSVE + PHYSICALLY ABUSIVE PARENTS, ANXIETY, SOCIAL ANXIETY, MANIPULATION, PAST SUICIDE ATTEMPT, UNAVAILABLE PARENTS! Hi so sorry for writing this at 3:30 IN THE MORNING, but it's my Goodreads and my life to ruin am I right? Anyways, I want to start this review off by saying, I have no idea (still) how to rate this book. If I'm going to rate this critically, it would be probab (ORIGINALLY A 3.5 BROUGHT DOWN TO A 2.5) *2.5 TRIGGER WARNINGS - DEPRESSION, SUICIDAL THOUGHTS, CAR ACCIDENTS, EMOTIONALLY ABUSVE + PHYSICALLY ABUSIVE PARENTS, ANXIETY, SOCIAL ANXIETY, MANIPULATION, PAST SUICIDE ATTEMPT, UNAVAILABLE PARENTS! Hi so sorry for writing this at 3:30 IN THE MORNING, but it's my Goodreads and my life to ruin am I right? Anyways, I want to start this review off by saying, I have no idea (still) how to rate this book. If I'm going to rate this critically, it would be probably a 2 star and we'll talk about that in a second. If I'm going to rate this based on how much I related to the characters, we'd be talking about a 5 star. If I rate this based on my enjoyment, this is a 3 star. I've decided to just put it in about the middle, meaning a 3 and a half. Still don't really feel 100% about this rating, but I can't seem to find the right one, so 2.5will have to do. So I'm also going to split this review up in 3 sections. I'll put each section in bold heading, so that way if you want to read a specific part, you can just read through whichever on you want. Without further or do, let's get into it. This book follows a girl named Jubilee, who's step-mother writes her own comics, and owns a comic book store called Verona Comics. It also follows a boy named Ridley, who's father owns a huge chain of comics. The two meet at a comic Prom? And the later meet again at a ComicCon the very next day, and finally, Ridley moves back in with his father and they meet again. Retelling(s) - Romeo and Juliet !!! CRITICALLY I think in a critical standpoint, this book is a 1 or 2 star. This book would have been fine, if it wasn't marketed as a cute, YA, Romeo and Juliet retelling. From what I saw of of this book, I got the idea I was getting into a sweet book, and I was entirely wrong. There are so many triggers in this book that I wasn't aware of going in, and it took me by surprised. I was even triggered by some of these, and it made me upset that their aren't any reviews about the triggers, or triggers at the beginning of the book. Then, I'd like to comment on the amount of telling instead of showing. It was aggravating how much telling their was. Weeks would go by, but it wasn't clear about how much time, and then the characters would say a certain date, and I was utterly confused about the timeline of the whole entire book. And then characters would say at the end of a chapter, "I'm going to do this, or I'm going to do that", and then it would switch to the other characters perspective, which is fine, but we never got to see the character actually doing it. All we got was the next day, or week, and it was ANNOYING! After, I wanna talk about the shitty friendships. I love books that have great friendships. They often times are some of my favorites, because it shows that books don't have to have romance for it be entertaining. It can honestly be about a small or large group of friends, or even 2 friends and it can still be amazing no romance and all. But every friend in this book is a no from me. I can say I enjoyed Jayla's character the first 50 pages but afterwards, when she was questioning Jubilees judgement every 5 damn seconds, I had enough with her bullshit. I know that she was just trying to be a friend, but but trying to be a friend, she became a shitty friend. Also all of Jubilees other friends were a no from me. They rarely ever came up when they did, they had nothing good to say or do so what was the point of them? Then, I'd just like to say, that everyone in this book is a TERRIBLE person. I'm gonna give 3, no spoilery examples. 1. Jubilees boyfriends anxiety is spiraling out of control and all she cares about is her music tryout for a prestigious summer program. 2. Ridley manipulated everyone for the first 150 pages 3. Ridleys family are all trash. Not just dad, but the mom and the sister too (see what I did there? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5W2Y...) Finally, I'm gonna talk about Ridley and Jubilee's unhealthy relationship. Their relationship is the definition of unhealthy and here's why. Ridley is manipulative, Jubilee is either so obsessed with Ridley that she forgets everything else going on around her, or she's so detached from him that she could care less what he does, and Ridley knows going into the relationship that his anxiety is fucking awful, yet he thinks that maybe Jubilee with fix him??? God I hate that trope. Now I will talk about the good criticism I have to give. Everyone is queer, which is great in my book, and no one is pressuring anyone to find out their sexuality. I see that a lot in YA fiction, so thankfully it wasn't their. Their is comic books, and where can you go wrong with that, and...well I can't think much else positive critically to say so, here you go for the critical category. !!! RELATED? This category is gonna be pretty short, as well the next one, but I wanted to say, I haven't related to a character as much as I've related to Ridley in a very long time. His inner monologue felt like me, and his thoughts and feelings were so relatable. I was really into his character because of how much I related to him. If their is one thing Jennifer Dugan got right, it's the depression + anxiety + social anxiety rep. Super good. !!!! PERSONAL ENJOYMENT I enjoyed this book. I thought it was pretty ok though. It wasn't anything spectacular or earthed shattering, or anything like that. I don't know who I'd recommend this book to honestly. Maybe people who like hard hitting contemporary? Which I do, but I don't feel anything after this book is over so maybe not 'hard hitting'. I honestly have no idea. But one thing I know for sure, don't let the pretty cover art fool you into thinking this is a cutsie YA contemporary. It's not; it's more of a hard YA contemporary so if that's what your into it, go for it? Again, I probably wouldn't ever recommend this book to anybody, but if your into these kinds of books, pick it up! !!! FINAL THOUGHTS This was one of my most anticipated reads of 2020, and I'm sad to say I didn't love it. Like at all. I just wish I did, because I was expecting so much more from this. From the beautiful cover to the synopsis I thought I would love is but unfortunately not ): - Another shit review from yours truly, Abi * * * *3.5 I have no idea how to rate this book, but I'm gonna sit it on 3 stars for now, REVIEW TO COME!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Trina (Between Chapters)

    tw: suicide A clever re-imagining of Romeo and Juliet.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jaye Berry

    TW: depression, anxiety, talk of past suicide attempt, suicidal ideation But why though? The cover is way too cute when this isn't some fandom nerd book. This is an emo book about mental illness?? That's all well and good but damn, I wanted something more like Geekerella not shitty All the Bright Places. Verona Comics is about a girl named Jubilee who works in her stepmom's indie comic shop and is a cellist, prepping for the biggest audition of her life. Ridley is a boy barely holding it together. TW: depression, anxiety, talk of past suicide attempt, suicidal ideation But why though? The cover is way too cute when this isn't some fandom nerd book. This is an emo book about mental illness?? That's all well and good but damn, I wanted something more like Geekerella not shitty All the Bright Places. Verona Comics is about a girl named Jubilee who works in her stepmom's indie comic shop and is a cellist, prepping for the biggest audition of her life. Ridley is a boy barely holding it together. His parents own the biggest comic store chain in the country and he can't stop disappointing them. When Jubilee and Ridley meet at a comic convention prom, they can't help falling for each other even though their parents hate each other. I will admit I went into this book expecting it to be another "hello fellow kids" book with a hundred nerd fandom references every page and while there were some references, it wasn't overwhelming like I thought. This is a book about mental illness and a doomed relationship between two teens who shouldn't be together. It's just so... depressing and I never actually cared about the relationship between them anyway. Would take a pop culture heavy fandom book over whatever this was supposed to be. It begins with them meeting and not knowing who the other is so they end up texting. Until Ridley finds out her identity and then he visits her irl... while still texting her in secret. I relate to how texting online is easier than face to face because of anxiety but all of that just felt like unnecessary drama in a book that already had unnecessary drama. I was never into their romance, even from the beginning. The insta-love is too much and Jubilee had more chemistry with her friend than she ever did with Ridley. There is a part where Jubilee says that their relationship isn't very romantic- just that Ridley was falling apart and she was trying to keep him together. That is this book in a nutshell but hiding under the guise of being a cute comic romance. Honestly, she should have gone harder to show how the codependency was not good for them. I'm glad it was addressed at least but this still just felt like a lukewarm romance with a mentally ill boy and a perfect girl so I'm sure it'll get a Netflix movie soon. This book is queer which is fun but it didn't have that much flavor. I liked that both Jubilee and Ridley were bisexual but it felt like besides a conversation of bi-erasure, it wasn't important? I just wanted more into their sexuality struggles instead of it feeling so disposable to the rest of the story. And I wanted Jubilee to feel less like a girl that would go on twitter just to say that bi girls can date men too. I want to say I get why the author did this but I have no idea. Was cute comic Romeo and Juliet already taken??? Not the book for me but I can see the crowd that would love it from here.

  19. 4 out of 5

    TJ

    I really loved the plot concept and how sexuality was portrayed here, but overall I thought this was a pretty average read. The first half was fun and cute, but the second half really dragged. I enjoyed the audiobook narrators though, and the way texting was conveyed was really cool (they played texting typing and sending sounds over the narrators reading their messages). 3/5 stars.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Isabel Sterling

    I loved this book so much! A super adorable romance between two bisexual MCs + really beautifully done mental health rep. I devoured this book in 24 hours, and I can't wait for it to be out in the world.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Danika at The Lesbrary

    I picked this up firstly because I really enjoyed Dugan's previous queer YA title, Hot Dog Girl. I was also interested in the premise: two teenagers whose parents own competing comic book shops fall for each other. It ended up being a thought-provoking read for me, one I'm still turning over in my head days after finishing it. It definitely wasn't what I expected. On tumblr and twitter, people often are looking for m/f romances where both characters are bi+, and this is one! Verona Comics acts as I picked this up firstly because I really enjoyed Dugan's previous queer YA title, Hot Dog Girl. I was also interested in the premise: two teenagers whose parents own competing comic book shops fall for each other. It ended up being a thought-provoking read for me, one I'm still turning over in my head days after finishing it. It definitely wasn't what I expected. On tumblr and twitter, people often are looking for m/f romances where both characters are bi+, and this is one! Verona Comics acts as a good counterpoint to all-consuming, unhealthy teen romances that are often glorified, especially in YA/teen movies. It isn't one that I would recommend freely, though, because of the intense mental health issues, including a suicidal main character. If you're able to safely put yourself in that head space, though, this is a compelling read that will definitely stick with me. Full review at the Lesbrary.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Yvonne Olson

    This book was cute. I don't have much to say, besides that I am glad this book has such representation of mental health and therapy. Aside from that... it read like every other book that is set in a comic books shop with a girl who loves comics. I kept getting flashbacks to Comics will Break Your Heart, Geekerella, The Geeks Guide to Unrequited Love... They all feel very much the same. This was cute though. Cute.

  23. 5 out of 5

    michelle (magical reads)

    4.5 stars read on my blog rep: bisexual/pansexual protagonist, bisexual protagonist with anxiety and depression, Black lesbian side character, adopted Korean-American side character, Latinx gay side character, bisexual side character cw: anxiety, depression, suicide ideation **I received this book from a third-party giveaway. These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.** “Do you ever feel like you’re not enough of something? Or you’re too much of something else?” 4.5 stars read on my blog rep: bisexual/pansexual protagonist, bisexual protagonist with anxiety and depression, Black lesbian side character, adopted Korean-American side character, Latinx gay side character, bisexual side character cw: anxiety, depression, suicide ideation **I received this book from a third-party giveaway. These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.** “Do you ever feel like you’re not enough of something? Or you’re too much of something else?” “Every day.” I adored Hot Dog Girl, so I was especially excited for Verona Comics! I was prepared for cute (which I naturally got), but this book delved into much deeper topics with grace. Verona Comics is an adorable story that is full of heart and deals with mental illness. I adored our protagonists. Jubilee is a cellist preparing for a big audition for a summer program at Carnegie Hall. Ridley is struggling to keep it together due to his anxiety disorders and seeks his parents’ approval. They meet at a con prom and hit it off, the beginning of a magical relationship over text. However, Ridley’s father and his big comic book store chain are the moral enemy of Jubilee’s stepmom, Vera, and her indie comic shop, Verona Comics. Ridley, desperate for his dad’s approval, agrees to get closer to Jubilee as a means to learn more about Verona Comics. I usually hate this kind of plot line, where the characters have an online relationship but they actually know each other in real life, with only one person knowing who the other one is. However, this is resolved relatively quickly (i.e., doesn’t continue throughout the entire story). I also don’t fault Ridley for agreeing to spy on them because he’s obviously under so much pressure from his dad and just wants any sort of approval. Their relationship forms fast, an instant connection. I love them so much honestly! Jubilee helps Ridley get through his panic attacks and anchors him basically. However, while they both mutually like each other so much, Ridley is still spiraling and bringing Jubilee down with him. Their relationship begins to have a clear co-dependency dynamic. The book does a great job of calling this out and clearly stating that Ridley needing Jubilee to get through the day, every day, is unhealthy for both of them. Anyways, I also really love the side characters. Jayla and Nikki are Jubilee’s best friends, who alternately approve and disapprove of Ridley and his influence on Jubilee. Frankie is Jubilee’s pseudo older brother who also proves to be a stabilizing person for Ridley. Gray, Ridley’s older sister, is one of the few people who’s consistently there for him. I also loved Jubilee’s moms, especially Vera, who takes Ridley under her wing. There’s so much diversity in this book! Jubilee identifies as bisexual or pansexual; she says she alternates between those two labels and is still unsure about using either. Ridley is bisexual, Jayla is Black and a lesbian, and Nikki is adopted and Korean-American. Vera is Latinx and identifies as gay while Jubilee’s mom is also bisexual. The writing was sooo good. You can tell how quickly Ridley is spiraling and how much Jubilee cares for him. Ridley’s anxiety comes through clear on the page, as well as his feelings of despair. I was almost crying at the climax honestly. This book could easily be a movie! I think this book is perfect for fans of You’d Be Mine and Queens of Geek! Verona Comics is definitely a cute read but also deals with heavier topics, such as anxiety, depression, and suicide. It’s heartfelt and heartwrenching with amazing characters. Pick it up today! original review: wow. WOW.

  24. 4 out of 5

    nat

    a queer book featuring a classical instrumentalist mc? PLEASE PENGUIN PLEASE

  25. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    It is so important to see a bi boy and an undefined queer girl in a relationship together in a YA novel. It is so important for them to have a conversation about being "queer enough" or "bi enough" even if they're in a """hetero 'ship""". Werewolves are still werewolves, even if it's not the full moon. Bis are still bis even if they're in a relationship with a member of the opposite sex. And this book showed that perfectly. My college self felt incredibly seen. It also really dug into anxiety, c It is so important to see a bi boy and an undefined queer girl in a relationship together in a YA novel. It is so important for them to have a conversation about being "queer enough" or "bi enough" even if they're in a """hetero 'ship""". Werewolves are still werewolves, even if it's not the full moon. Bis are still bis even if they're in a relationship with a member of the opposite sex. And this book showed that perfectly. My college self felt incredibly seen. It also really dug into anxiety, co-dependence, PTSD, depression, and suicidal ideation in a way that felt incredibly respectful and well-handled. There is some discussion of past suicide attempts, so I will put out a content warning for that, but as I said: well handled, very careful, very important to see that represented in a way that makes it clear that it's not okay. And also it's a very adorable book about comic con and meet cutes, comic shops and texting, honesty and balance. Jubilee is a very authentic teen voice and Ridley is a beautiful mess that--for anyone who has panic attacks--feels incredibly real. Again, this book saw me in a way I did not expect. And it was all wrapped up in an absolutely delightful Romeo-and-Juliet retelling package that had me laughing, crying, and loving every page of it.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sian

    I just really didn’t love it. It sent me into a little bit of a reading slump honestly. Let’s start with the good, though. The concept of the characters being really deep into the comics world, with their parents owning comic stores/chains, beginning the novel at a con etc was brilliant. Very unique. There was not a straight person in sight. The female main character Jubilee was pansexual but didn’t usually label herself and struggled a lot with the popular idea that if she dated boys people migh I just really didn’t love it. It sent me into a little bit of a reading slump honestly. Let’s start with the good, though. The concept of the characters being really deep into the comics world, with their parents owning comic stores/chains, beginning the novel at a con etc was brilliant. Very unique. There was not a straight person in sight. The female main character Jubilee was pansexual but didn’t usually label herself and struggled a lot with the popular idea that if she dated boys people might erase her identity. She also had two mums. The male character Ridley was bisexual and that’s discussed a little. I don’t have much to say about pacing because the book is so small it’s almost impossible for it to be slow. There was also a really great representation of mental health. I can’t confirm whether Ridley’s anxiety was accurate or realistic because I’ve never experienced it but I really felt what he felt. The discussion of therapy and in patient facilities was positive even if Ridley himself didn’t originally want to go. Now onto what I didn’t like. I hated reading a romance that was built on manipulation and lying. I understand that Ridleys need to please his abusive father was what forced him into manipulating Jubilee and her family for information about their store but it left a bad taste in my mouth. It really took away from the enjoyment. Although, it was good that at the end there was an acknowledgement that the couple was toxic. The emotional and borderline physical abuse of Ridley from his father and the neglect from his mother wasn’t handled great in my opinion. Ridley was abused in public in the beginning of the book and not one person did anything. It wasn’t even that people were trying to help him, it was that no one did anything until the last few chapters. Ridley has an intelligent, older sister who did nothing. I thought it was genuinely unacceptable. Those two things related to the plot rather than the structure but that was enough for me to lower my rating to a 2. Personal enjoyment is something really important to me in novels and it just was nonexistent for me... hence the 2.

  27. 5 out of 5

    dani

    dnf at 20% when he told his father about her i was DONE

  28. 4 out of 5

    Vee_Bookish // YA Book Blogger

    honestly I just really love comics

  29. 4 out of 5

    Yesha- Books Teacup and Reviews

    https://booksteacupnreviews.com/2020/... Verona Comics was cute and complicated YA, queer contemporary that revolved around Jubilee and Ridley. It was about anxiety disorder and mental health issue, dysfunctional family, love and complications, learning to love yourself and life, looking for a solution of problem rather than finding an exit door. Writing was gripping and fast paced. At first it felt light hearted and cozy but as I read more that vibe turned so intense and heavy. If you are expecti https://booksteacupnreviews.com/2020/... Verona Comics was cute and complicated YA, queer contemporary that revolved around Jubilee and Ridley. It was about anxiety disorder and mental health issue, dysfunctional family, love and complications, learning to love yourself and life, looking for a solution of problem rather than finding an exit door. Writing was gripping and fast paced. At first it felt light hearted and cozy but as I read more that vibe turned so intense and heavy. If you are expecting lot of fun, humor and light YA romance just hold your thought here because it’s much more complicated with serious issues. Verona Comics was written from Jubilee and Ridley’s POV that provided clear view of total opposite life style, family and their views towards comic books business. Plot was interesting. As synopsis said Jubilee and Ridley met at comic convention prom that Ridley’s dad’ company, Geekery, sponsored. Geekery had a reputation of destroying Indie comic shops and had an evil eye on Verona Comics ever since Verona laughed at Ridley’s dad’s offer. When they met at prom they didn’t know who their parents were but Ridley found out Jubilee was Verona’s step daughter and they hate Geekery. I knew it was going to be complicated but even Ridley agreeing to spy on Verona comic for his dad to please him to go back to his childhood home was shocking. I was curious to see where this will go from here, how Jubilee will find out about his real identity and what Ridley will do to come out of the mess he created. Characters were interesting. I loved family dynamics and balance of family, friendship and romance. Jubilee’s family was great. Both her moms were supportive, loving and caring. Verona was the stepmother everybody would love. I didn’t like Ridley’s family. I blame them for everything happened in this book. But I liked his sister Gray. She was amazing from the very beginning. There were so much diversity. Jubilee’s mom was bi and her stepmom, Verona, was lesbian. Both Jubilee and Ridley were bi, Jubilee’s friend Jayla was black and lesbian. I liked Jubilee for her non-label thoughts. She was bi but haven’t experimented it and didn’t care for a label and accepted who she was. Jubilee was smart, overachiever student, and amazing cellist. Audition for scholarship to summer program to study with famous cello teacher was her dream. Her passion and dedication was admirable but at the same time I agreed with her both friends. She should have applied other camps and she should managed things normally like she did before Ridley entered her life. Her concerns and emotions were well written. As adult I didn’t agree the way she handled situation in climax but I can see and understand why she did that. I might have done the same at her age. Young love does that to us. Her decision later was fabulous. I liked her even more for it. Ridley was good person but he was struggling with many things. He had narcissist parents who didn’t love him as he wasn’t prodigy and stopped caring for him once they knew he was bi, had anxiety disorder and suffered with depression. My heart went to him, I wanted to snatch him away from those parents who not only were not helping him but also made him feel worthless. But at the same time I didn’t like him exactly for what he was doing from the beginning even though he knew it was wrong. When he spent more time with Jubilee I started to warm to him as it was helping him coping with his mental health and also for his wish to come out clean. But climax changed it once again because he was asking a lot from Jubilee and was not even thinking about her family, he was being selfish. I exactly felt like Jubilee did, I liked him but at the same time I didn’t. I was so glad after climax things started to change for him and I was happy with his efforts. I loved how author showed young love and complications that comes with it, how course of life can be changed at any minute, one cannot have full control over life and most of all representation of anxiety disorder and panic attacks. How character suffering with mental health act and behave and what are their thought process, how difficult it’s for them in life and how they need more than just medications. Honestly I wasn’t expecting this heavy topic in the book so it was total surprise but I was glad to read author’s realistic approach with this topic. Climax was tense. As I said I wasn’t happy with characters’ decision at this point and wanted to shake them out of whatever they were thinking so they could see what was coming. I swear my heartbeats stopped for a moment and I was dreading what happened next. But at the same time something good came out of it, they learned many things, it changed their life and developed stronger and healthier. I like the end. It was great. I thought I will rate this 4 because I was not happy with characters’ decisions and I wasn’t happy with Ridley and what he did throughout the book but when I gave it some time, put myself in their situation, it felt so real and apposite. They were just 17. Who has wisdom and maturity about love, life, and relationships at this age! And let’s not forget mental health issue. So, yes, full star to this. Overall, Verona Comics was realistic, deep, complicated, and heartwarming YA LGBTQ cotemporary romance. I highly recommend this to fans of this genre. *** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to PRHGlobal for free copy. ***

  30. 4 out of 5

    laura (bookies & cookies)

    CW: anxiety, depression, previous suicide attempt, co-dependent relationship, revenge porn, blackmail, abusive parents I liked this book! It just wasn't what I thought it would be, and I feel like a lot of people will go into it the same way I did! This is a contemporary YA first, romance second. The comics discussion and plots petered out quickly after the first third of the book, but I appreciated the elements that were there, as well as how girls are required to prove A+++ knowledge of comics b CW: anxiety, depression, previous suicide attempt, co-dependent relationship, revenge porn, blackmail, abusive parents I liked this book! It just wasn't what I thought it would be, and I feel like a lot of people will go into it the same way I did! This is a contemporary YA first, romance second. The comics discussion and plots petered out quickly after the first third of the book, but I appreciated the elements that were there, as well as how girls are required to prove A+++ knowledge of comics by male gatekeepers and how big box stores are trying to buy out indie lines and comics. I also appreciated the discussion of different coming out experiences. The main character, Jubilee, explores bi and pan as identities, but also worries that if she dates a boy, she's not bi, whereas her moms and best friend, Jayla, are very certain of their bi and lesbian sexual identities. Ridley is bi and is accepting of Jubilee exploring her identity. I also liked the descriptions of Ridley's anxiety and internal thoughts in the first half of the book. I'd like to see how these internal worries are formatted on page, because the audio does a good job of speaking them differently (kind of quickly & as a whisper). However, this brought me back to high school, in too *real* a way. This book does end on a hopeful and healthy note with resources to The Trevor Project and CoDA (Co-dependents Anonymous) listed in the book. However, you will go through a harrowing reading experience when you realize they are not in a healthy relationship and you worry for Ridley, and Jubilee's, well-being.

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