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Teen Titans: Raven

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
Teen Titans: Raven Book Poster Image
Teen hero struggles with amnesia in clever origin story.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Teen Titans: Raven raises questions about empathy and self-respect. Set in New Orleans, the artwork captures the ambience of the city.

Positive Messages

No person owns any other. Ancient traditions have meaning in modern times. Believing in yourself is a powerful weapon.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Raven knows there's a darkness hidden within her, but she struggles to keep it under control. She's highly empathic and worries about the concerns of people she encounters. Her fosters sister, Max, is especially supportive as Raven adjusts to life in a new city following a mysterious tragedy.

Violence

Raven and Max battle a demon, but the fight concludes without bloodshed. A mysterious figure assaults a bully. Raven believes she causes a bully to hurt herself.

Sex

Raven and Tommy Torres flirt and share a kiss before he seems to betray her.

Language

A few instances of "hell" and "damn."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Teen Titans: Raven is the first volume of a graphic novel series written by Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures) and illustrated by Gabriel Picolo. A diverse cast and a multicultural setting distinguish the book, which features ghosts, demons, and magic in New Orleans. The level of violence is low -- some bloodless spellcasting and minor physical scuffling. Infrequent swearing is limited to a few instances of "hell" and "damn." Sexual content is limited to mild flirting and kissing.

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What's the story?

As TEEN TITANS: RAVEN opens, 17-year-old Raven Roth has lost her foster mother in a car crash that also left the girl with gaps in her memory. Welcomed into the home of her mother's sister, Raven tries desperately to fit in at school but struggles against voices in her head that tell her to do bad things. She's also haunted by the shadow of a giant bird and seems to have the ability to make bullies hurt themselves. Luckily, Raven can count of her foster sister, Max, to guide her and console her as she begins a tentative flirtation with Tommy Torres. No matter what she does, Raven knows that she will eventually have to confront the darkness that lurks within her.

Is it any good?

Superhero origin stories are a dime a dozen, but this story from the early career of a fan favorite is clever and engrossing. In the action-packed plot, author Kami Garcia shows the depths of Raven's insecurities without turning her into an angsty drag. The diverse supporting cast fits the well-depicted New Orleans setting. Gabriel Picolo's illustrations are lively, expressive, and kinetic, with only a couple of instances of unclear storytelling. Fans of the Teen Titans in comics and animated cartoons will enjoy this revamped, more realistic version of Raven. Her story here is only just beginning, but it's off to a very promising start.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Teen Titans: Raven uses the conventions of a superhero graphic novel to tell its story. Are some stories better suited to be published as comics than as prose alone?

  • At the start of the book, Raven suffers from amnesia. How do our memories define who we are? 

  • How is violence depicted in Teen Titans: Raven? When is it necessary? Why is it dangerous?

Book details

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