Verona Comics

Book review by
Amanda Nojadera, Common Sense Media
Verona Comics Book Poster Image
Teens from feuding families fall in love in dramatic novel.

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

Educational Value

Readers will learn about mental health issues, and the author has included links to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Crisis Text Line, Trans Lifeline, The Trevor Project, and Co-Dependents Anonymous for anyone in need of help. 

Positive Messages

Compassion, honest communication, respect are important themes. Don't let one moment define you. It's important to set boundaries in healthy relationships and to find a stable support system.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Jubilee and Ridley have their flaws, but they learn the importance of compassion, honest communication, and respect in healthy relationships. There are also many diverse characters in terms of sexual orientation, as well as diverse representations of love.

Violence

Characters get into a car accident. One character often has suicidal thoughts.

Sex

Characters flirt and kiss.

Language

Strong language includes multiple uses and variations of "s--t," "f--k," "ass," "hell," "Jesus," "crap," and more.

Consumerism

The indie vs. mainstream plot revolves around feuding families fighting over comic books. Readers will recognize many of the pop culture references, such as Comic-Con, Marvel, X-Men, Batman, Harley Quinn, and more.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Brief mentions of cigarettes, booze, and cocaine.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Jennifer Dugan's Verona Comics is a dramatic romance novel about two teens from feuding families who fall in love in an indie comic book store. Two characters get into a car accident, and one often has suicidal thoughts. Readers will learn about mental health issues, and the author has included links to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Crisis Text Line, Trans Lifeline, The Trevor Project, and Co-Dependents Anonymous for anyone in need of help. Characters flirt and kiss. Strong language includes multiple uses and variations of "s--t," "f--k," "ass," "hell," "Jesus," "crap," and more. Mentions of cigarettes, booze, and cocaine. Readers will recognize many of the pop culture references in the book, such as Comic-Con, Marvel, X-Men, Batman, Harley Quinn, and more.

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What's the story?

Jubilee is an accomplished cellist trying to de-stress before the biggest audition of her life and works part-time at her stepmom's indie comics shop, VERONA COMICS. Anxious and depressed Ridley wants nothing more than to stop disappointing his emotionally abusive dad, who owns The Geekery, a notorious comics chain that puts indie stores out of business. Ridley and Jubilee meet at an annual comic convention and quickly fall in love before Ridley realizes that Jubilee's stepmom is a famous indie comics artist and his dad's nemesis. Secretly spying on his dad's enemy could finally give Ridley the love he desperately seeks from his dad, but it would also destroy his relationship with Jubilee. Will Ridley tell Jubilee the truth, and will their love survive their families' feud?

Is it any good?

This dramatic Romeo and Juliet-type novel by Jennifer Dugan thoughtfully explores mental health issues and complicated relationships. Told in alternating chapters from Jubilee's and Ridley's points of view, Dugan accurately portrays co-dependency, anxiety, and depression. Her characters are sweet, but some readers might be frustrated that Jubilee continually prioritizes her whirlwind romance with Ridley over her family, her friends, and her future. As Verona Comics progresses and their relationship takes a dramatic turn, teens will see how essential compassion, honest communication, and respect are in developing healthy relationships.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Verona Comics deals with mental health issues. Where can you turn for help? What can you do if you think someone you know is serious about it?

  • How do the adults in Jubilee's and Ridley's lives affect the way they approach their relationship? What other stories of family feuds -- classic or modern-day -- do you know?

  • How do the characters demonstrate communication, compassion, respect, and honesty? Why are these important character strengths?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love LGBTQ books and stories that deal with mental illness

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