Book Review

Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass – Mariko Tamaki

Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass

Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass by Mariko Tamaki

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

When thinking about reluctant readers, I always gravitate towards recommending graphic novels. It is something that I do on a daily basis in the library and I feel that it is usually the most successful way to get a reluctant reader to engage with books. Graphic novels are a different medium because there are less words than a chapter book and they augment the storytelling with illustrations. They just tend to be more engaging because of the visual component than regular books are, especially for readers that struggle with regular books. As Garcia (2019) wrote “The art in graphic novels makes it easier for readers to relate to the characters and imagine how it would feel to be in a similar situation, which builds empathy” (para 5).

This actually made me like Harley a little more than I did before – but I still don’t love her? If you have ever attended Comic Con (no matter where it takes place), you’re likely to see a plethora of girls cosplaying as Harley Quinn. For whatever reason, she is an incredibly popular anti-hero/antagonist for people who like superheroes. That is why I wanted to read Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass by Mariko Tamaki, an origin story for Harleen Quinzel and follows her time through high school as she makes friends with (Poison) Ivy and first meets the Joker. It blends the normal, high school experience with fights against oppression and gentrification, tiptoes the line between what’s right and what’s exciting, and has elements of a coming of age story.

Overall, the art style lends a pleasing tone to the story and I feel that it would be appealing to reluctant readers. This title was also on both ALA/YALSA lists for graphic novels and books for reluctant readers so it is likely to be a good read, even if you’re not typically a fan of superhero stories.

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