Review | My Riot by Rick Spears and Emmett Helen

Set in the early ’90s, My Riot is about a trio of teen girls team up to form a rock band and shake off society’s expectations of what it means to be a young woman coming of age in the modern world.

1991—Val, a teenager from a conservative family, has grown up dreaming of becoming a ballerina, but recently something has changed. She’s begun feeling pressure to conform to a specific idea of beauty, body type, and a personality that just doesn’t fit.

Val meets Kat, a smart, witty girl that doesn’t take any crap off anyone. Kat introduces Val to punk rock. Along with Rudie, another new friend, the three form an all-girl punk band they ironically name The Proper Ladies.

Soon Val and her friends find themselves caught up in a movement with other girls also starting bands—also finding their voice. Collectively, these “riot grrrls” discover that their songs ring out loud and powerful, and for Val, there’s no going back.

I didn’t know what to expect going into this one, and if I had to use one word to sum it up I would say it was very raw. It really tackles a lot of things mirrored in today’s society and does not shy away from it. We follow Val who isn’t quite sure what she wants in life, she just knows that something is missing and she transforms as she goes on her journey to find out who she really wants to be. It’s something everyone goes through, but in their own way and it was great to see her victories, missteps and heartbreaks along the way.

I really enjoyed the reading experience of this one, especially watching Val grow and define herself, while battling her own internal demons. The art style perfectly fit the feel of the story and changed to fit the mood perfectly.

Happy reading!

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