Oni-Lion Forge Publishing has announced the upcoming release of Cheer! UP: Love and Pompoms from Crystal Frasier and Val Wise.

Here is information regarding the graphic novel from Oni-Lion Forge:

Annie is a smart, antisocial lesbian starting her senior year of high school, and for her it’s all about the college applications. Who has time for extracurriculars when you’re trying to be top of the class? But when her high school counselor informs her she needs to do more than just be an ace student, she decides to suck it up and join the cheerleading squad. Her former friend BeBe is a people-pleaser—a trans girl who must make her parents happy with her grades and social life in order to keep their support of her transition. Through the rigors of squad training and amped-up social pressures (not to mention microaggressions and other queer youth problems), the two girls rekindle a friendship they thought they’d lost and discover there may be other, sweeter feelings springing up between them.

In the beginning, Annie and Bebe’s story was going to take a very different direction, until the creative team made the decision to turn a few stereotypes—including those about cheerleaders— on their heads. “[Cheer Up!] was going to be a cute book about two girls who used to be friends, had a fight, and then made up and learned to support each other,” says author Crystal Frasier. “The more I thought about that, the more I remembered the cheerleaders from my own high school, who were nothing like the stuck-up cheerleaders you saw in sitcoms or movies—they were a bunch of nerds and rejects who watched out for each other and who were pretty accepting of me. So the figurative ‘girls supporting each other’ ended up becoming literal when I decided to make everyone cheerleaders.”

Bringing high-school athletics into the story proved to be the perfect outlet as the creators explored what it means for young teens to grow into their own—particularly queer teens. For Val Wise, that meant working on Cheer Up! was a chance of a lifetime. “Right from the jump I felt incredibly lucky to illustrate Cheer Up!, especially as my first graphic novel,” he says. “It would have been so important to me as a sheltered, gender-confused teenager to read a book with a trans protagonist where transness isn’t a tragedy or something to ‘atone’ for, but rather something to be celebrated. Even now in my twenties, working on this book made me feel joy for both who I am and who I was in high school.” And thinking back to her own teen years, Crystal adds, “When I started writing Cheer Up!, my goal was to make the book I needed when I was a scared little trans girl in high school, showing transgender people as normal folks capable of happiness and surrounded by people who were imperfect but ultimately full of love and capable of growth.”

Cheer Up! Love and Pompoms arrives on August 11, 2021.

via Oni-Lion Forge Publishing


About Author

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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