Everything Is Beautiful, and I'm Not Afraid
Everything Is Beautiful, and I'm Not Afraid perfectly captures the feelings of a young sojourner in America as she explores the nuances in searching for a place to belong. Baopu is a monthly serialized comic on Autostraddle, and this book includes beloved fan favorites plus new, never-before-seen comics.This one-of-a-kind graphic novel explores the poetics of searching for connection, belonging, and identity through the fictional life of a young, queer immigrant. Inspired by the creator's own experiences as a queer, China-born illustrator living in the United States, Everything Is Beautiful, and I'm Not Afraid has an undeniable memoir quality to its recollection and thought-provoking accounts of what it's like to navigate the complexities of seeking belonging—mentally and geographically.

Everything Is Beautiful, and I'm Not Afraid Details

TitleEverything Is Beautiful, and I'm Not Afraid
Author
ReleaseMar 3rd, 2020
PublisherAndrews McMeel Publishing
ISBN-139781524852450
Rating
GenreSequential Art, Graphic Novels, Nonfiction, LGBT, Autobiography, Memoir

Everything Is Beautiful, and I'm Not Afraid Review

  • destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
    January 1, 1970
    I really, truly appreciate the idea behind this collection: a bisexual Chinese author talking about how hard it was to come out to her mother, stipulations that come with being from an immigrant family, the struggles of a conservative mother, and more. All of that said, unfortunately, the execution didn't work for me. I didn't enjoy the art style, some of the layouts of the comics were a bit hard to follow, and the narrative voice as a whole didn't mesh with me. I really wanted to like this more I really, truly appreciate the idea behind this collection: a bisexual Chinese author talking about how hard it was to come out to her mother, stipulations that come with being from an immigrant family, the struggles of a conservative mother, and more. All of that said, unfortunately, the execution didn't work for me. I didn't enjoy the art style, some of the layouts of the comics were a bit hard to follow, and the narrative voice as a whole didn't mesh with me. I really wanted to like this more than I did, sadly. Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
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  • Chad
    January 1, 1970
    This just didn't work for me. It's a self-reflective look at the author trying to belong. It's almost like a book of private journal entries the author decided to share. The artwork and lettering were really difficult to follow making this a no-go for me. I started skimming halfway through.Received a review copy from Andrews McMeel Publishing and NetGalley. All thoughts are my own and inno way influenced by the aforementioned.
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  • Anniek
    January 1, 1970
    While I did like some of these comics, I found that most of them didn't really work for me. I wasn't the biggest fan of the art style, although I did find some really beautiful pages, and I found the writing to be unnecessarily complex for such short comics, and overly simplistic at other times. Due to the lay-out of the pages, it was sometimes difficult to follow the correct sequence. Maybe I just read this at the wrong time, but I didn't really end up enjoying this. It's not at all a bad comic While I did like some of these comics, I found that most of them didn't really work for me. I wasn't the biggest fan of the art style, although I did find some really beautiful pages, and I found the writing to be unnecessarily complex for such short comics, and overly simplistic at other times. Due to the lay-out of the pages, it was sometimes difficult to follow the correct sequence. Maybe I just read this at the wrong time, but I didn't really end up enjoying this. It's not at all a bad comic collection, it just wasn't for me.Rep: Chinese bisexual MCCWs: homophobia, racism
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  • Etienne
    January 1, 1970
    This wasn't for me in any way. I can't really talk of experience, maybe it might do some good to young people struggling with their identity... That wasn't my case, but I still feel like this book purpose and execution was a bit blurry! I wouldn't recommend it!
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  • Alicia Bayer
    January 1, 1970
    This comic collection is definitely for a certain audience. The author identifies as a queer Asian immigrant and it's quite an existential series of cartoons about issues like coming out to disapproving parents, stresses involved in being an immigrant from being afraid to speak out on social media to the legal costs, relationship troubles, depression and much more (favorite spread: the fear bingo, with squares like "racist comments when I'm not prepared" and cancer). The artwork is often This comic collection is definitely for a certain audience. The author identifies as a queer Asian immigrant and it's quite an existential series of cartoons about issues like coming out to disapproving parents, stresses involved in being an immigrant from being afraid to speak out on social media to the legal costs, relationship troubles, depression and much more (favorite spread: the fear bingo, with squares like "racist comments when I'm not prepared" and cancer). The artwork is often gorgeous and is in full color. It's a pretty sad book, though, and often like reading through a really artistic person's diary and doodles while they're going through an existential crisis. This is not a happy book but it is one that many young people will probably relate to. I know my oldest (21) would probably really enjoy it. I would preview it before purchasing, as it really does seem to have a niche audience. For those who relate though, or who want to understand the complex struggles of folks in Xiao's communities, it is an honest and heartfelt read with some nice art.I read a temporary digital ARC of this book for the purpose of review.
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  • Amit Verma
    January 1, 1970
    It is about sadness enveloping someone who is alien to everything surrounding. To his own blood as well as to foreign land.It is about misfit who cannot escape traditional restraints and also cannot survive in the cage. So he is caught between two worlds, both of which are out of his control.It depicts with extreme sadness how everything falls apart for main character.Artwork is very good, eye-catching and innovative in most part. .It is the artwork that kept me going inspite of it being a very It is about sadness enveloping someone who is alien to everything surrounding. To his own blood as well as to foreign land.It is about misfit who cannot escape traditional restraints and also cannot survive in the cage. So he is caught between two worlds, both of which are out of his control.It depicts with extreme sadness how everything falls apart for main character.Artwork is very good, eye-catching and innovative in most part. .It is the artwork that kept me going inspite of it being a very sad book.Overall a nice read for particular group of readers.Cannot recommend it to everyone except may be to look at innovative use of artwork and changing backgrounds.Thanks netgalley and publisher for review copy.
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  • Thushara (Triobookdragons)
    January 1, 1970
    review to follow soon
  • Ms. Arca
    January 1, 1970
    Lovely concepts and there were a few pages that were spot on for me (would be useful for teaching tools, too). The entire compilation as a whole didn’t work for me though. It felt messy for lack of a better word? Queer, Chinese immigrant woman sorting out life and its ups and downs. From the description I thought it would be a perfect match for me, but it just didn’t quite work for me (art or writing)—But! Graphic novels are especially personal, I think, and like I said there were a couple pages Lovely concepts and there were a few pages that were spot on for me (would be useful for teaching tools, too). The entire compilation as a whole didn’t work for me though. It felt messy for lack of a better word? Queer, Chinese immigrant woman sorting out life and its ups and downs. From the description I thought it would be a perfect match for me, but it just didn’t quite work for me (art or writing)—But! Graphic novels are especially personal, I think, and like I said there were a couple pages that I would’ve totally flagged or sent to friends or used with students. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Andi
    January 1, 1970
    So moved by this book. I'd seen some of Yao Xiao's work on Autostraddle over the years, and eagerly snapped this up. I was not disappointed. An absolutely poetic graphic novel, beautifully done. And oh-my-god the feelings... all of the feelings. Dark and lonely; hopeful and at peace. This work clearly illustrates a restless searching for belonging - with society, with family and with oneself. Favorites: “I’m not afraid” […] But I’m still here. Everything is fucking beautiful. And I am not So moved by this book. I'd seen some of Yao Xiao's work on Autostraddle over the years, and eagerly snapped this up. I was not disappointed. An absolutely poetic graphic novel, beautifully done. And oh-my-god the feelings... all of the feelings. Dark and lonely; hopeful and at peace. This work clearly illustrates a restless searching for belonging - with society, with family and with oneself. Favorites: “I’m not afraid” […] But I’m still here. Everything is fucking beautiful. And I am not afraid. “Don’t censor feelings” It’s important to be madIt’s important to be sadIt’s important to be angry and lostAnd to carry on dreaming of what you love"I don't have a box"I don't want to choose a box. I'm just... Hanging out. That's okay, yes?** I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**
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  • Vanessa
    January 1, 1970
    This book isn't for everyone and I think that's why there are a lot of differing reviews. I really enjoyed it and I'll try to explain why.The art style isn't exactly consistent (I feel like that's on purpose) and it's a little on the cartoon-y side but I actually really like it. There isn't a set formula like a four panel comic in this book, all the panels change from page to page making it feel more active and dynamic. The simplistic style also lends itself to focus less on the pictures and This book isn't for everyone and I think that's why there are a lot of differing reviews. I really enjoyed it and I'll try to explain why.The art style isn't exactly consistent (I feel like that's on purpose) and it's a little on the cartoon-y side but I actually really like it. There isn't a set formula like a four panel comic in this book, all the panels change from page to page making it feel more active and dynamic. The simplistic style also lends itself to focus less on the pictures and more on what is said and going on. That said, here are some truly lovely panels and full page spreads also included in here. Also there is more to art than making it conventionally attractive, it can be said that true art is a conveyance of feelings but art in itself is subjective .This book does read more like confiding in your diary type of book, but it is definitely an art piece itself. Yao Xiao is telling a story that doesn't spell it out for the reader, in a traditional sense, and you're meant to read between the lines to fill in more of the story. There is a fair amount of referencing to being queer and an immigrant-which if you aren't those things you can't relate to but you can learn from. There is also other things that could be relatable, such as searching for your place in the world, accepting yourself, learning to speak positively, self-care, and just a ton of other things this book touches on.Yao Xiao takes you on a journey to learn about her but also to learn about herself. She traverses many seemingly insignificant memories that obviously left a lasting impression on her, learning to accept herself-even if others won't, and learning that it doesn't make her any less if people don't accept her. This is such a lovely and open book that it almost feels like being confided in by a close friend.
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  • Annemieke De
    January 1, 1970
    I received an Arc from NetGalley to write an honest review.Yao Xiao made this graphic novel that tells the story of an Asian girl living in New York. Although that may not be an experience that fits in with the live story of every boy or girl, this graphic novel will appeal to many young people.It's a story about being bisexual, about being different, about coping with expectations others can have and you can have about yourself. It gives us a peek in the mind of young people, and all the I received an Arc from NetGalley to write an honest review.Yao Xiao made this graphic novel that tells the story of an Asian girl living in New York. Although that may not be an experience that fits in with the live story of every boy or girl, this graphic novel will appeal to many young people.It's a story about being bisexual, about being different, about coping with expectations others can have and you can have about yourself. It gives us a peek in the mind of young people, and all the thoughts and worries they struggle with. But it also tells a story about hope, about finding a way out!This makes this a book that should be read by young people all over the world, that need to know they are not the only one having doubts, worries and insecurites to battle with.
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  • Jo
    January 1, 1970
    Everything Is Beautiful and I’m Not Afraid by Yao Xiao is a pleasant graphic novel. I found the layout hard to follow but the overall story was a good concept. Thanks to netgalley for letting me read this.
  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    I've read all the Baopu comics on Autostraddle and enjoyed reading this collection of new comics. The artwork and meandering storyline are almost dreamlike, as the author explores life as a queer person and an immigrant to the US.[ Free ARC from NetGalley]
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  • Petra
    January 1, 1970
    Book Riot's 2020 Read Harder Challenge: Read a graphic memoirI received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.I think I wanted to find something that wasn't there in this book, which is, admittedly, not the book's fault. It's not so much that I need the perfect representation of my particular identity in everything I read - which is for the best, because, if that were the case, I might as well just stop reading altogether. That said, when I do find a book that I hope Book Riot's 2020 Read Harder Challenge: Read a graphic memoirI received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.I think I wanted to find something that wasn't there in this book, which is, admittedly, not the book's fault. It's not so much that I need the perfect representation of my particular identity in everything I read - which is for the best, because, if that were the case, I might as well just stop reading altogether. That said, when I do find a book that I hope will speak to at least a part of my experience, I tend to expect more than it can ever deliver.There were parts when this book did deliver. And, boy, did it pack a punch then.But then there were parts when it didn't deliver, and I was left trying to piece together what it was trying to say without the personal experience to fill in all the gaps. And, ultimately, that's the thing - I want a book that won't require me to leap so much to fill in the gaps. Not that I don't want to think, not that I can't handle some parts being jumbled, not that I don't understand that people are complicated and messy, but this ultimately wanted more of me than I was ready to give. I needed more of a thread joining the pieces together, more cohesion, more clarity than were ultimately there.Still, there were gems to be found here, from lovely pastel artwork that just made me gaze at how beautiful it was, to All. The. Depictions. of New York, which I couldn't help but adore. Ultimately, the book was worth reading for those alone.2,5 stars, rounded down.
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  • eternal.chapters
    January 1, 1970
    Ratings: 3.5/5At first, I was very excited to read this book because it sounded like it would be an incredibly inspiring story conveyed through adorable illustrations. However, after reading it, I was a little disappointed. The art style was very adorable but it was not as breathtaking as I hoped and certain pages appear to be rather messy. The visual just did not measure up to other graphic novels that I have read and I did not click with the art style as much as I hoped, which devastated me. Ratings: 3.5/5At first, I was very excited to read this book because it sounded like it would be an incredibly inspiring story conveyed through adorable illustrations. However, after reading it, I was a little disappointed. The art style was very adorable but it was not as breathtaking as I hoped and certain pages appear to be rather messy. The visual just did not measure up to other graphic novels that I have read and I did not click with the art style as much as I hoped, which devastated me. Perhaps it was because the edition I received is in black and white, which hindered the beauty of the illustrations.I did enjoy the story and message that the author/artist is trying to convey. I love the representation she presents and I did find her journey to be inspiring and heartwarming. However, I think the style of the book did not convey the story and its message to me well enough since I was not incredibly hooked to the illustrations and language.Overall I was quite disappointed because it did not meet my expectations and I had really hoped to enjoy this book. However, if you are someone looking for a quick read/ loves her style of art/an inspiring story with great representation, I think you should give this a chance.
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  • DeAnne
    January 1, 1970
    *I received a copy of this from the publisher through NetGalleyI didn't know what to expect going into this one, but the description made me want to pick it up. When I first dug into it I worried that the art style was too simple compared to the messages within, but I was happily surprised. The art and messages mix and blend perfectly and communicate what the author is expressing perfectly. There's a number of subjects discussed, in many ways centering around self acceptance but also touching on *I received a copy of this from the publisher through NetGalleyI didn't know what to expect going into this one, but the description made me want to pick it up. When I first dug into it I worried that the art style was too simple compared to the messages within, but I was happily surprised. The art and messages mix and blend perfectly and communicate what the author is expressing perfectly. There's a number of subjects discussed, in many ways centering around self acceptance but also touching on immigration issues, cultural acceptance, racism and more. Though the comics are brief they are very poignant and thoughtful. They provide a window to a perspective of someone going through the issues presented. I would definitely recommend checking it out.
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  • Kristina | kristinaandthebooks
    January 1, 1970
    Wow! Admittedly I often turn to graphic novels for their levity, without reading the synopsis or having any impressions. I was not expecting this to be such a deep comic and adored it! The initial page is the main character coming out as bisexual to her parents, which is taboo in their country of China. The comic continues to explore her journey to self-acceptance in a stream of consciousness format. The artwork is very simple, yet has a charm about it that I enjoyed. This novel is relevant, Wow! Admittedly I often turn to graphic novels for their levity, without reading the synopsis or having any impressions. I was not expecting this to be such a deep comic and adored it! The initial page is the main character coming out as bisexual to her parents, which is taboo in their country of China. The comic continues to explore her journey to self-acceptance in a stream of consciousness format. The artwork is very simple, yet has a charm about it that I enjoyed. This novel is relevant, entertaining and emotional! Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a free PDF of this book for review!
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  • Moriah Conant
    January 1, 1970
    This book is beautiful. It documents the author's journey as they processed through their different identities and the places where they want to belong or don't feel that they belong. Although the book doesn't always have clear transitions, it feels as though you are following the author's thought process. I would highly recommend reading it. I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Elia
    January 1, 1970
    LOVE this! Beautiful little poems about life, love, family, being an immigrant, feeling isolated, mental health and finding your sexual identity illustrated with adorably little cartoons that reflect the pain, confusion and beauty of the author's own life.
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  • Leah Horton
    January 1, 1970
    Beautiful. This was dark and sad and wild and strong and happy and vulnerable... I enjoyed it so much. I felt the emotions so strongly throughout. Really well done. It’s the real people behind these type of books that bleed through and show who they are and what has made them.
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  • Belle
    January 1, 1970
    From the cover and title, I honestly didn't expect this to be such a 'blue' book. It has a very strong focus on mental health and low self esteem. I was hoping for a much lighter, empowering and positive read, but unfortunately I felt there was very little of that. Some of the illustrations are lovely and a lot of them are extremely clever which I enjoyed, but ultimately this book left me feeling quite low so this wasn't a good fit for me.
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  • Paul Decker
    January 1, 1970
    *I received this book as an eARC from Andrews McMeel Publishing via NetGalley. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*This graphic novel feels like a poetry collection. It is a collection with each page almost self-contained, but it all fits together into a memoir-ish story. There are so many topics of identity dealt with. Each page could stand alone framed on a wall. I felt like this would make a great coffee table book to leave out *I received this book as an eARC from Andrews McMeel Publishing via NetGalley. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*This graphic novel feels like a poetry collection. It is a collection with each page almost self-contained, but it all fits together into a memoir-ish story. There are so many topics of identity dealt with. Each page could stand alone framed on a wall. I felt like this would make a great coffee table book to leave out and flip through leisurely. It would be jarring to try and read through all of the book in one sitting. I give this book a 4/5.
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  • Bexa
    January 1, 1970
    This story goes through the emotions of figuring out who you are and how to accept yourself when others do not. It promotes healthy attitudes and seeking professional help, it encourages leaving toxic relationships behind, and supports having those difficult conversations and seeking out answers for struggles from your past. Because it is told in a poetic format the story is broken into 2-3 page segments. While they all focus around similar things, it felt disjointed and didn't flow smoothly. This story goes through the emotions of figuring out who you are and how to accept yourself when others do not. It promotes healthy attitudes and seeking professional help, it encourages leaving toxic relationships behind, and supports having those difficult conversations and seeking out answers for struggles from your past. Because it is told in a poetic format the story is broken into 2-3 page segments. While they all focus around similar things, it felt disjointed and didn't flow smoothly. Also, the art changed styles a bit, which is fine, but when you are used to one style and it changes it can cause the story to stop while you get used to it. This might have been the author's choice hoping it would slow the reader down, but I didn't enjoy it. Still liked the overall message of the novel.Copy provided by NetGalley.
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  • Kassy MacPherson
    January 1, 1970
    This book has a dark tone to it. It is very sad and depressing. I can see the narrator as having severe depression. The main character hates everything about coming out, her body, and just everything in between about themselves. The graphics show the struggle as well as a lot of them are colorful even though they are struggling internally with dark stuff. The subject matter is intense. The main character is bi-sexual who knows their family will not accept this fact. Additionally, the graphics This book has a dark tone to it. It is very sad and depressing. I can see the narrator as having severe depression. The main character hates everything about coming out, her body, and just everything in between about themselves. The graphics show the struggle as well as a lot of them are colorful even though they are struggling internally with dark stuff. The subject matter is intense. The main character is bi-sexual who knows their family will not accept this fact. Additionally, the graphics are basic. There is nothing special about them. And at times the graphic placement is confusing. I was not sure where to read next on the page. This may have been done because of the confusion in the main character's head though. It did send me for a loop. The ending did NOT resolve my dread and depression feeling. I wish I could have seen some hope for the main character.
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  • Enora
    January 1, 1970
    This graphic novel was very uneven. Some pages were so soft, so well drawn, with a very inspiring message ; and many other pages were very low quality, both in terms of graphics and writing. The structure was also very off and hard to follow. I understand that the author wanted to be authentic and to include her full journal, but I feel like if only half of the best extracts would have been chosen, it would have made the overall experience of reading this book way more pleasant, bumping the This graphic novel was very uneven. Some pages were so soft, so well drawn, with a very inspiring message ; and many other pages were very low quality, both in terms of graphics and writing. The structure was also very off and hard to follow. I understand that the author wanted to be authentic and to include her full journal, but I feel like if only half of the best extracts would have been chosen, it would have made the overall experience of reading this book way more pleasant, bumping the rating from 2 stars to 3.5 stars.*Thank you NetGalley for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
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  • Theediscerning
    January 1, 1970
    Quite pretentious non-fiction comic, with overly complex design and wordage. Really not my thing.
  • Lindsay ⭐ [TrulyBooked]
    January 1, 1970
    I keep seeing people say that there's something chaotic about the way that the book is set up, but that worked for me. I took away that it was meant to be jumbled, that it was meant to sound like a diary or someone trying to work through how they feel about life. There is no order to the way that we live even if we'd like to think so. There are no neat boxes to tuck ourselves away with or structure that will allow only the important story beats to shine through. The journey is just as much part I keep seeing people say that there's something chaotic about the way that the book is set up, but that worked for me. I took away that it was meant to be jumbled, that it was meant to sound like a diary or someone trying to work through how they feel about life. There is no order to the way that we live even if we'd like to think so. There are no neat boxes to tuck ourselves away with or structure that will allow only the important story beats to shine through. The journey is just as much part of the experience. Read them like self-contained stories like they're meant to be and all of a sudden everything makes more sense. Yao Xiao does an admirable job of trying to explain not just what the queer immigrant experience is like, but what -their- queer immigrant experience is like in particular. The beauty and pain of the experience, the chaotic mess of feelings, is at the core something that we can all empathize with even if our experiences differ on the whole.I highly recommend reading this collection. It has some beautiful moments, some dark ones, and ones that made me smile just because it could.
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  • Mansi
    January 1, 1970
    It’s too much too take in at one go. Yao Xiao’s ‘Everything is Beautiful, and I’m Not afraid’ needs to be contemplated on page by page. It’s illustrations studied for it’s beauty and meaning and yet you can’t stop but turn the page to delve deeper. Her innermost thoughts laid bare, Xiao’s book is like navigating through stormy seas with an expert hand guiding you, leading you, prodding you to calmer waters, to safety. Pick and choose what you like, this book is a keeper to turn to, to turn over, It’s too much too take in at one go. Yao Xiao’s ‘Everything is Beautiful, and I’m Not afraid’ needs to be contemplated on page by page. It’s illustrations studied for it’s beauty and meaning and yet you can’t stop but turn the page to delve deeper. Her innermost thoughts laid bare, Xiao’s book is like navigating through stormy seas with an expert hand guiding you, leading you, prodding you to calmer waters, to safety. Pick and choose what you like, this book is a keeper to turn to, to turn over, to stare at, to help you move forward when you reach a dead end.
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  • Kayli Corriveau
    January 1, 1970
    I didn't like this at all. I just found it quite boring. The artwork was weird and not that great. I just personally didn't find anything different. Just average.
  • sam
    January 1, 1970
    The ARC of this graphic novel was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.I enjoyed reading this book but I don't think it was for me. It was kind of rambling at times and I didn't always understand what was going on. It wasn't bad, just not the best! The art style wasn't my favorite either but it might be someones!!
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