Title: Bright World (The Hazards of Love #1)
Author: Stan Stanley
Genre: YA Fantasy/Graphic Novel
Number of Pages: 272
When genderqueer teen Amparo meets a talking cat, they make a wish to be a better person and stop hurting the ones around them with their reckless behavior. However, things go horribly wrong when the cat steals their identity and sends them into a bizarre realm called the Bright World, where humans are considered savory snacks by the locals. Amparo looks for someone in the universe who will employ them and help them get their body back, and ends up falling under the dark influence of a predatory creature who causes them to undergo a horrific transformation.
This graphic novel reminds me of a creepier Spirited Away, and even though it wasn’t nearly as good as that film I enjoyed it’s vivid artwork and particular brand of twisted whimsy. Amparo is a bit of a delinquent and punk but you never get the feeling they’re a bad person and I appreciated that they were a strong but flawed character. I can totally understand that feeling of not feeling like you’re ‘not good enough’ and a disappointment to your loved ones so I could relate to Amparo at their times of vulnerability.
I did find the story confusing at times and some of the panels are cluttered and make it hard to figure out what’s going on. Amparo was a memorable lead and while I felt lukewarm about the other characters, I’m definitely up to reading the sequel when it comes out. I wish this one hadn’t left off on such a cliffhanger!