Author: Sturges, Lilah
Three years ago, Ash’s mom left home and never returned, leaving behind a husband and child and a shed full of mystical curiosities related to the all-girl fantasy world she’d created as a child—Koretris. One day Ash invites a new group of friends from Pride Club over, and they try one of the spells to enter Koretris. But if Koretris is real, why is Ash there? Everyone has always called Ash a boy—shouldn’t the spell have kept Ash out? And what does it mean if it let Ash in? Graphic novel format.
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 02/01/2021 After Ash—who questions being assigned male at birth and uncertainly uses he/him pronouns—and her classmates, fellow members of Marsha P. Johnson Middle School’s pride club, read aloud from a spellbook found among her mother’s old things, they are all are transported to Koretris, a world Ash's mother wrote about before disappearing years before. But Koretris is a haven for girls only—no boys allowed—so why was Ash able to travel there? Before she and her friends can return home, they are sent on a quest to rescue Queen Cassandra, captured by the Scourge, the embodiment of fear and toxic masculinity. And to do that, Ash will have to come to terms with who she truly is. Part fantasy-adventure, part coming-of-age story, Girl Haven is a ripping yarn that also does a fine job of explaining a singular gender experience while making it clear that there are many different gender experiences, none of which is wrong. The artwork and colors are clear and bright with a nod toward a manga influence, and the ending hints at a sequel. - Copyright 2021 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 02/01/2021 Gr 4–8—When Ash befriends the members of Marsha P. Johnson Middle School's Pride Club at lunch, she doesn't expect the encounter to lead to an otherworldly adventure. Ash, who was assigned male at birth, has been thinking that she feels more like a girl, but she doesn't yet share this information with her new friends Eleanor, Junebug, and Chloe. Ash invites the gang over to her house to show off her mother's studio; before mysteriously disappearing, Ash's mom had created artwork and stories about a magical, all-girl land called Koretris. While dressing up and playing, the kids are unexpectedly transported to Koretris, where a war is underway between the good citizens and the evil Scourge. Could Ash's mother still be alive somewhere in this world, and could Ash be the chosen one Koretris has been waiting for? While Ash hopes that being in girls-only Koretris will affirm her identity, the appearance of rebel boys sends her into confusion once more. There is much to love here: an endearing group of protagonists, a lively fantasy realm, and a strong message of support for embracing and expressing one's identity—as Ash learns, "The accident of your birth is just the first page in that story. Your heart writes the rest." The full-color illustrations are cartoonish and expressive, and characters' emotions and inner turmoil are palpable. Back matter on identity and pronouns support the message of the story. Ash and Eleanor are white, while Junebug and Chloe are dark-skinned. VERDICT Spunky, sweet, and full of magical high jinks, this is a first purchase wherever fantasy adventure comics are popular, and especially where titles by Noelle Stevenson and Katie O'Neill circulate well.—Darla Salva Cruz, Suffolk Cooperative Lib. Syst., Bellport, NY - Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.