“Glitter Kiss” by Adrianne Ambrose and Monica Gallagher is a graphic novel showcasing the life of an average teenage girl, Tinka, living in a world where her appearance and actions are for the consumption of men rather than herself. Within the first few pages, she is criticized by her mother for wearing too much makeup and a skirt that is far too short – the former because boys don’t like it, the latter because boys like it too much. This, unfortunately, is only the beginning. When a secret romance with a handsome soccer player, Jason, goes wrong, Tinka accidentally summons a type of magic that causes some unfortunate problems for the boys of Portage High School. It is a must-read for anyone with an interest in fantasy/slice of life and empowering feminist messages.
Gallagher does an impeccable job at creating diversity among the characters. While most of them are definitely considered attractive with their manga-inspired style, they all have distinctly different body types and even postures that define their character silhouettes and make the story inclusive without feeling forced. In addition, the movements and facial expressions of each character are exaggerated, which in turn enforces the affect the slapstick sense of humor has on the story.
Ambrose’s writing is hilarious and witty, never missing a beat and always throwing in something unexpected. The dialogue is quippy, yet still feels organic and true to what these characters would say. There is a definite point here that Ambrose is trying to make and that point never drags for one moment. It’s wonderful watching the boys of Portage High transform in their understanding of women, and Tinka in her journey to self love. Given the title and sparkly pink cover, it’s unfortunate that this graphic novel may not make it into the hands of the audience who needs to read it the most. That being said, it’s an important read for both young boys and girls to understand the importance of treating women like people, and the importance of loving and accepting yourself for who you are.