Some people should save lives. Others need their lives saved.
I was honestly blown away by this graphic novel. I read Sheets and really enjoyed it (I rated it 4 stars) and was expecting a similar experience with Delicates. Instead I got something even more impossibly beautiful and poignant. I cried at the end of this graphic novel, and I can’t wait to get a physical copy in my hands so I can read it all over again.
Rating: 5 stars!
Thanks to Oni Press for the eARC of this book. It has not affected my honest review.
Content Warnings: depression, bullying, suicidal thoughts.
About the book:
Marjorie Glatt’s life hasn’t been the same ever since she discovered a group of ghosts hiding in her family’s laundromat. Wendell, who died young and now must wander Earth as a ghost with nothing more than a sheet for a body, soon became one of Marjorie’s only friends. But when Marjorie finally gets accepted by the popular kids at school, she begins to worry that if anyone learns about her secret ghost friends, she’ll be labeled as a freak who sees dead people. With Marjorie’s insistence on keeping Wendell’s ghost identity a secret from her new friends, Wendell begins to feel even more invisible than he already is.
Eliza Duncan feels invisible too. She’s an avid photographer, and her zealous interest in finding and photographing ghosts gets her labeled as “different” by all the other kids in school. Constantly feeling on the outside, Eliza begins to feel like a ghost herself. Marjorie must soon come to terms with the price she pays to be accepted by the popular kids. Is it worth losing her friend, Wendell? Is she partially to blame for the bullying Eliza endures?
What did I think?
Delicates follows on from Sheets, where Marjorie’s family is now successfully running the Laundromat with the help of Wendell and his ghost friends and the ghost-uriser that gets out any stains. All of this happened in the first novel, so these are all familiar characters. I loved seeing that things had improved with Marjorie and Owen’s dad, but equally liked that things weren’t magically fixed. Marjorie has fallen into a new friendship group ready to start the next school year, and there’s a new girl in her class, Eliza, who is repeating eighth grade.
I am absolutely obsessed with the way that this graphic novel handles bullying. I hope school libraries get this in by bulk, because it has such an important message throughout. And while it’s frustrating to read, I think having a book where the MC is complicit in the bullying is so, so important because it really successfully shows someone standing up to their friends and challenging their behaviour – something that’s not easy to do as a teenager. I absolutely adore Eliza, she’s a fantastic and lovable character and the way that her depression and suicidal ideation is portrayed is lovingly done. I wish I’d had this as a teenager so I could have learned to recognise these signs in myself and others.
The ending is poignant and powerful and so, so beautiful. I wept through the last few pages and I probably will again when I reread it. I highly recommend this graphic novel for all ages – there’s a lesson to be learned about kindness and care for all of us in here.
Release Date: 23rd March 2021