Graphic Novel Review: Frizzy by Claribel Ortega

The natural hair movement has gained steam in the last five years or so.  People are done sitting under hair dryers and flat irons for hours at a time and are embracing their true curly hair status.  In Frizzy, an awkward girl struggles with her curls and learns to embrace them on her own terms.  Read on for a book review of Frizzy by Claribel A. Ortega and Rose Bousamra.

Frizzy by Claribel Ortega graphic novel cover showing tween girls with red curly hair

Publisher provided a ARC for review, however all thoughts and opinions our own. This post contains affiliate links.  We earn a small commission for items purchased.

Quince season has arrived and a young Dominicana named Marlene begins to question the routines that she sees her family go through to get ready.  Specifically, she is done with having her hair straightened into submission.  Marlene’s natural curls are rarely seen as her mother always either straightens or braids her curls. 

After a tough day with some bullies, Marlene turns to her Aunt Ruby to get some insight on how to take care of her curls and learns that all hair types are presentable, not just those that are straight.


The graphic novel Frizzy is a thoughtful take on the idea of “good hair” in the Dominican culture.  The idea of “good or presentable” hair is questioned through the eyes of a child who’d much rather be exploring the world or reading a good book rather than sitting under a hair dryer. 

While some people straighten for convenience, the graphic novel Frizzy tackles the idea that straight hair is better and more acceptable than wild curls.

There are so many realistic aspects of this novel that took me right back to being a curly-haired child myself.  From the prep for attending a quince, the struggle of controlling curls that want to be free, and the idea that hours in the salon are necessary to deal with curly hair. 

There’s a section in the book where Tia Ruby lovingly teaches Marlene a curly girl hair routine that Marlene is able to share with her mother.  This section reminds children that curls can be managed with the right products and mindset.  

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