ARC Review: Messy Roots by Laura Gao


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After spending her early years in Wuhan, China, riding water buffalos and devouring stinky tofu, Laura immigrates to Texas, where her hometown is as foreign as Mars–at least until 2020, when COVID-19 makes Wuhan a household name.
In Messy Roots, Laura illustrates her coming-of-age as the girl who simply wants to make the basketball team, escape Chinese school, and figure out why girls make her heart flutter.
Insightful, original, and hilarious, toggling seamlessly between past and present, China and America, Gao’s debut is a tour de force of graphic storytelling.

Thank you to Harper 360 for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This graphic novel was so good. Even though I can’t relate to Gao’s own experience, I enjoyed educating myself with her story and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

The idea of this being a graphic novel was one I was hesitant to read as this isn’t the lightest topic, and I wasn’t sure if the format would provide enough space for the story. But I must say, it worked so well. This wasn’t as heavy as I expected which worked well, but still tackled some difficult topics and discussions about the Covid-19 pandemic.

One of the things I loved about this book was the authors depictions of Wuhan. I feel like the past 2 years have given us such a skewed and narrow view of Wuhan and China with the portrayal in the media earlier in the pandemic, and it was just so refreshing and lovely to read about someone’s love for the city and country.

The artwork was also so beautiful and I can’t wait to see a full colour version of the whole book. My proof copy had a small section at the front in full colour which was just stunning, but the black and white drawings were beautiful too. The art style works so well for the story and the writing complemented it beautifully.

Overall, this was such a gorgeous book and the balance of difficult topics and beautiful memoir was done so well. I’m so happy I had the chance to read it early, and I absolutely loved it!

4.5 out of 5 stars


May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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One thought on “ARC Review: Messy Roots by Laura Gao

  1. Pingback: January Wrap-Up – The Books are Everywhere

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