Book Review: Verona Comics by Jennifer Dugan

Publication Date: April 21st 2020

Jubilee has it all together. She’s an elite cellist, and when she’s not working in her stepmom’s indie comic shop, she’s prepping for the biggest audition of her life.

Ridley is barely holding it together. His parents own the biggest comic-store chain in the country, and Ridley can’t stop disappointing them—that is, when they’re even paying attention.

They meet one fateful night at a comic convention prom, and the two can’t help falling for each other. Too bad their parents are at each other’s throats every chance they get, making a relationship between them nearly impossible…unless they manage to keep it a secret.

Then again, the feud between their families may be the least of their problems. As Ridley’s anxiety spirals, Jubilee tries to help but finds her focus torn between her fast-approaching audition and their intensifying relationship. What if love can’t conquer all? What if each of them needs more than the other can give?

My Thoughts & Feelings …

I must be on some sort of Romeo & Juliet kick because this is the second retelling I’ve read in just two weeks. Thankfully the last one was set in 1920’s Shanghai and dealt with mobsters and monsters so there’s no worries of me confusing or comparing the two. 

Verona Comics has been on my TBR for a bit by this point. It first caught my eye because of the cover first and foremost, but then when I saw it focused heavily on “comic book rivals” I knew I had to read it. Flash forward a couple of months and here we are. I ended up really enjoying this book, so much so that I flew through it in two days. 

What I liked most about this book was probably that it surprised me a lot. I went in kind of expecting a lot of fluff which was honestly stupid of me. This is literally a Romeo & Juliet retelling, of course there’s going to be angst! This dawned on me about 200+ pages in and when I tell you I gasped and became incredibly worried.

Another pleasant surprise was the amount of unexpected queer characters. The two main characters identify as queer with Ridley being bisexual and Jubilee not putting a label on things but being attracted to both genders, as well as Jubilee having two mums and her best friend being a lesbian. 

Mental health also played a really big roll in this story with Ridley having an anxiety disorder and suicidal thoughts. Trigger Warnings for: anxiety, homophovia, mentions of suicide. I can’t say too much because of spoilers, but I thought it did a really good job on representing mental illness.

Speaking of Ridley, we had an up and down relationship. I really liked him to start with, and then he did something really stupid that sure, got the plot started, but made me turn into Tyra Banks and go all “we were rooting for you, we were all rooting for you” on his ass. Thankfully, he then spent the next 200 pages redeeming himself in my eyes and I ended up really liking not only him but the story in general.

I thought Verona Comics was a really enjoyable book with an easy to read but very entertaining writing style and compelling plot. I was already interested in Dugan’s new release Some Girls Do, but now I’m even more compelled to pick it up as soon as I can!

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