Rummanah Aasi
 Damian is the new kid at school, and he has a foolproof plan to avoid the bullying that's plagued him his whole childhood: he's going to stop talking. Starting on the first day seventh grade, he won't utter a word. If he keeps his mouth shut, the bullies will have nothing to tease him about—right?

But Damian's vow of silence doesn't work—his classmates can tell there's something different about him. His family doesn't look like the kind on TV: his mother is dead, his father is gone, and he's being raised by his grandparents in a low-income household. And Damian does things that boys don't usually do, like play with Barbies instead of GI Joe. Kids have teased him about this his whole life, especially other boys. But if boys can be so cruel, why does Damian have a crush on one?

Review: Other Boys is an often heartbreaking graphic memoir in which the author explores familial loss, social isolation, and sexual identity. Damian lost his mother at a very young age due to domestic violence. He and his brother are raised by their loving grandparents. When we meet Damian, he is about to start seventh grade at a new school. Since he was bullied at his last school for being too "effeminate", he takes a vow of silence in hopes that it would make him invisible but it backfires and he is once again a target of bullying.
 Damian is very candid about working through death and loss. He seeks solace from loneliness from doodling, writing, reading, and playing video games. Damian also efficiently shows how he was harmed by toxic masculinity not only from the bullying from school but also from adults preventing him from activities that were deemed "unmanly" such as playing with dolls. It takes Damian time to figure out his sexual identity, but it is not a moment of victory until he sees a therapist who positively affirms it that he begins to open up.  While Damian faces hardship constantly in this graphic memoir, he does end it on a hopeful note. I really liked that he decided to use block colors as backgrounds for this graphic novel to show the characters' emotions, which allowed the characters to drive the story. 

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There are scenes of bullying and homophobic slurs are used. Recommended for Grades 6 and up.

If you like this book try: Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett Krosoczka, Flamer by Mike Curato
1 Response
  1. This sounds like a story that has lots of good bits in it that teenagers could relate to.

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails