¡Ay, Mija! (A Graphic Novel): My Bilingual Summer in Mexico by Christine Suggs
Genre: Young Adult Graphic Novel
Publishing Date: January 1, 2023
“An absolutely heartwarming and vibrant story of belonging, family, and the meaning of home. This book is a treasure.” – Julie Murphy, New York Times bestselling author of Dumplin’ In this bilingual, inventive, and heartfelt debut, graphic novel talent Christine Suggs explores a trip they took to Mexico to visit family, embracing and rebelling against their heritage and finding a sense of belonging. Sixteen-year-old Christine takes their first solo trip to Mexico to spend a few weeks with their grandparents and tía. At first, Christine struggles to connect with family they don’t yet share a language with. Seeing the places their mom grew up—the school she went to, the café where she had her first date with their father—Christine becomes more and more aware of the generational differences in their family.
Soon Christine settles into life in Mexico, eating pan dulce, drawing what they see, and growing more comfortable with Spanish. But when Mom joins their trip, Christine’s two worlds collide. They feel homesick for Texas, struggle against traditions, and miss being able to speak to their mom without translating. Eventually, through exploring the impacts of colonialism in both Mexico and themselves, they find their place in their family and start to feel comfortable with their mixed identity.
Content Warning: body issues, colonialism, family trauma, diaspora
About the Author:
Christine’s pronouns are they/them/theirs
Christine Suggs is a comic artist and designer living in Dallas, TX with their wonderful partner, 1 dog, and 2 cats. They’re currently working on a YA graphic novel about spending their summers in Mexico as a teen, set to release in 2023 from Little Brown Young Readers. Christine’s work explores the intersection of their identities, namely being a queer, fat, Latinx leftist who loves all things cute. Bonus facts: their day job is in app design, they are an avid Dungeons & Dragons player, and they’re quite obsessed with their cats.
I feel so honoured to get a chance to read and review IAy Mija! as it was not normally what I would of picked up. Yes I have read numerous Graphic Novel Memoirs but none where the speech was done in Spanish and you know what it didn't matter that I don't speak Spanish the narration and the pictures showed me what Christine was going through at that time in her life and I thought it was wonderful.
There was so much that a 16 year old Christine was going through having a dual nationality and having to speak to relatives when you are not fluent and not sure if they fit in but then Christine showed that no matter what language you speak love is the only thing you need to know and it breaks down all barriers.
But my favourite was the mini Christine and the Cat who appeared throughout the book to just given the reader more explanation and I thought that was very clever and inciteful. For all these reasons I am giving IAy Mija! 4 stars