Awww…. ‘Cheer up’ by Crystal Frasier and Val Wise is the brightest, cutest thing I’ve read all week!
The story follows estranged friends Annie and Bebe who become close again after joining the school cheer team. Crystal Frasier uses the classic ‘opposites attract’ trope, because well… its charm is just eternal. So, Anne is an asocial nerd who has the best grades in class and is forced to join the cheer squad for her college applications to reflect some social skills. The popular Bebe is the only trans girl on campus and cheer captain, she helps Anne ease into the team.
The artwork by Val Wise is bright, bubbly and has a cheery effect on the eye. I love the pastel palette; the choice of colors in the panels just make everything seem comforting and cheery. Each character is drawn differently and there’s wholesome representation of different body types. At some points, ‘Cheer Up’ reminded me of the sunny Riverdale from the Archies comic, because it has the same kind of joyous teenage energy.
Despite being so different, both lead characters are absolutely endearing. Bebe has recently begin transitioning, so she isn’t very confident, and her insecurities are further fueled by over-protective parents and people around her who sometimes feel like they are supportive out of the need to be politically correct, rather than genuine affection. Annie on the other hand has ‘the devil may care’ attitude, and helps Bebe be more comfortable in her skin. As the two spend more and more time together, sparks fly.
The climax is slightly predictable, but it really doesn’t matter, because it is super cute. Overall, ‘Cheer Up’ is a very cheery graphic novel and it’s a 5/5 from me!