Love and Pompoms
by Crystal Frasier
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 10 Aug 2021 | Archive Date 21 Jul 2021
Annie is a smart, antisocial lesbian starting her senior year of high school who’s under pressure to join the cheerleader squad to make friends and round out her college applications. Her former friend BeeBee is a people-pleaser—a trans girl who must keep her parents happy with her grades and social life to keep their support of her transition. Through the rigors of squad training and amped up social pressures (not to mention micro aggressions 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.
Average rating from 994 members
Cheer Up! is almost unbelievably adorable. It's a queer teen sports romcom in the vein of "Check, Please!" - but with the added bonus of handling teen girl issues with kindness and poise. The cheerleading team makes for a great group of characters with opposing personalities but still-deep friendship, and they're a lovely backdrop to the romance between Bebe and Annie.
(SLIGHT spoilers ahead, but only in a vague motioning-at-themes way. And they're not really spoilers, because you know what the story beats in teen romcoms are! We all do, because they're wonderful).
Bebe and Annie, meanwhile, get to be the very best parts of the book. Bebe is a trans girl who not only gets a nuanced storyline about managing how her community responds to her trans identity, but ALSO gets a very classic-YA storyline about finding her own voice as she grows into herself as a person - and I LOVED that. I loved that she got to do both. I loved that they got to overlap. I loved that it fits Bebe right into the coming-of-age canon of teen girl RomComs, which is right where she belongs. Annie has somewhat less growth - because Annie already knows who she is - but that actually really works to provide rich contrast. Annie has already grown into HERSELF, but she needs to work out how to be part of a community, and the cheerleading team gives her exactly that opportunity. It's so great to see BOTH of them grow, rekindle their early-childhood friendship as complicated teens, and then, of course, fall in love!
Oh, and there's also a FABULOUS homecoming dance full of great dresses, great stand-up-for-yourself moments, a very punk character in tiara, and a magical teen-movie-worthy kiss. Because of course there is. It's just that freaking cute.
(Also, Annie's mom was right all along. Which is excellent, because she was my not-so-secret fave from the first moment we met her).
This graphic novel was everything I could ever want! I loved it so much. It was so cute and made me feel so warm and fuzzy inside! The art style was absolutely adorable and perfect. I just wanted to jump right on in there with these girls.
I can not stress enough how much I love girls uplifting girls and this book embodies that so well! I love seeing the girls grow and learn and watching the relationship between the MCs develop was so heartwarming. I want a physical copy of this book right now so I can show it to everyone i know and just endlessly gush about how dang cute it was!
This is possibly one of the sweetest things I have read in my life. I will make sure to peer pressure all my friends into reading it when it comes out.
"Cheer Up!" is a short but incredible read about standing up for yourself, being your own authentic self while also trying new things, and cheerleading.
I immediately fell in love with the main characters, they are sympathetic yet flawed high school students navigating love, friendship, young adulthood and their respective lgbt+ identities.
As a queer trans person it was wonderful to see the representation of complex lesbian, queer, trans and non-binary characters. Furthermore, the graphic novel very casually shows different body types and skin tones not as token minorities but realities of life.
One thing I want to highlight is the two family dynamics shows, one being very supportive and the other initially less so. In lgbt+ media there is often a focus on the tragedy of entirely unaccepting parents, which is a reality for some but not all people. Accepting parents exist, and should be represented in media, and so do parents who are somewhere in the middle. BeBe's parents start off as not outright transphobic and horrible, they are overprotective and misguided and see her transition as a luxury. There is character development, but it is important to show that sometimes parents that do love their trans children very much, can still make the wrong choices, say the wrong things, and be unintentionally transphobic.
All in all this is a solid five star read, the art style is very nice, the story is well paced, and there is plenty of fluff to make you go "awww".
I’m reminiscent of other great queer graphic stories like Check Please and Lumberjanes. This is a wholesome story of friendship, exploration of gender, and two characters reuniting with each other. I love the work on each of our main characters. Beatrice (Bebe) is an insecure teenage girl who feels a lot of pressure from her family and school life. I like how the story shows there is harmful language some people still don’t think about when it comes to a young trans person. Little things like the “real girl” comment or the local newspaper including her dead name (which we see Bebe has ripped off the end) help illustrate how far we still have to work to make the Trans Community feel accepted and welcomed. Annie shows a familiar, but still important look at femininity herself. She is incredibly intelligent, but still feels just as insecure (partially due to her looks and definitions of feminity). She thinks she doesn’t look girly or pretty enough (or acts or has attraction) for a “typical” female. It makes her hostile and defensive, like many of the other girls as we soon learn. This cast of characters makes me happy as they learn to bond and enjoy each other’s time. What are the chances a girl get a volume 2???
ILOVEITILOVEITILOVEIT!!! THIS BOOK IS AMAZING! A fun, colourful story celebrating just how awesome it is to be yourself and how awesome it is to be a member of the LGBTQ+ society!! [And how its somthing to be proud off!]
Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for providing an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review
This was such a wonder graphic novel. It was so heart warming and the characters were so easy to root for.
My only complaint was it's so short, I would have loved to have more scenes with them at practice and developing their relationships as a team.
But overall a truly lovely and quick story
OMG It's so sweet, it's so sweet!!!! This is such a warm, feel-good comic full of so much love and heart. The art style is super adorable and soft, and I love the friends-to-lovers romance between Bebe and Annie. There's definitely some rough elements with a guy refusing to take subtle rejections, some casual transmisia/transmisogyny, and overprotective parents, but overall this felt like such a warm comic that I cannot wait to see out and about!
Annie is a smart, antisocial lesbian starting her senior year of high school who’s under pressure to join the cheerleader squad to make friends and round out her college applications. Her former friend Bebe is a people-pleaser—a trans girl who must keep her parents happy with her grades and social life to keep their support of her transition. Through the rigours 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.
"But I don't know where that line for safety and comfort is for you."
A must-read for anyone who loves 'Check, Please!' or' Heartstopper', in my opinion.
What to say about 'Cheer up!'? It was the most gorgeous thing I've read in a while. The art was wonderful, as was the actual story. I adored the two leads - a biracial transgirl (Bebe) and a short, angry plus-size lesbian (Annie) - and the way we saw them get together. I did feel as though it was slightly rushed, but perfect for the target audience.
Not only that, but I also loved the background characters as well; Annie's mother and the rest of the squad most of all. I liked how diverse the latter was - multiracial, different body types/sizes and a character who later comes out as GNC (possibly gender queer)? I didn't start out by liking them though, they grew on me as the story went on. The majority of characters in this book are endearing.
I did struggle to like Bebe's parents. Very much a case of they could be worse, but they could also be better. Appreciated the way the squad and Annie learned to understand Bebe's feelings.
Overall, 'Cheer Up!' was a lot of fun and a very cute way to start the week.
THIS WAS SO INCREDIBLE! To start, the art is sublime and the character design is so incredibly great! And the story! Wow! The story is compelling and sweet and so darn nice. Within the first few pages, I felt myself so entranced by the characters and it didn't take long at all to begin to care about them. Annie is such an incredibly relatable teenage girl, and Bebe's story is handled with such grace and care. This is hands down one of the cutest things I've ever read, and I cannot wait to recommend it to all of my friends.
i truly don't even know where to start and i mean this in the best possible way.
you had me at queer romance but i got so much more than i expected and i couldn't be happier! i loved it so so so much and i highly recommend it.
the story is heartwarming, adorable and wholesome and it follows two teenage girls that couldn't be more different finding themselves and each other. the representation is amazing, as annie is a lesbian and beebee is a trans sapphic and the story does a great job dealing with queer issues while still maintaining the vibes of a rom com. i live for fluffy lgbtq+ content because i feel like it's needed to contrast the bury your gays trope. i fell in love with the characters and their uniqueness and the fact that they're so real and relatable.
ati times i felt like it was a bit fast paced considering it was a graphic novel and maybe it was partly because i was enjoying it too much but the ending left me wanting more. the story fell into place nonetheless and i loved every moment i spent reading it. i'm hoping for a sequel because i'd love to see what's next in the protagonists' lives, but the ending scene was the perfect way to end this beautiful story.
I loved this book! Annie is an antisocial girl who is forced to join the cheerleading squad to make her college applications look more rounded. Bebe is the newly-elected head of the cheerleading squad who struggles to be perfect so her parents will continue to support her transition. During the story, they both find a team that supports them and helps them learn to speak up for themselves. The story ends with an awesome Homecoming dance. This is a must read for anyone struggling through their own transition or those who want to learn more about transitioning. It will help anyone learn how to support someone who is transitioning.
*Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this graphic novel in exchange for an honest review.*
4.5 stars. GAH THIS GRAPHIC NOVEL IS ADORABLE. We follow Beatrice, or Bebe, and Annie, as they rekindle their friendship over a cheerleading team in high school and all the events that follow. Firstly, I would like to say how astronomically PLEASED I am that Annie’s character is fat and fine about it. Even though there are a few fatphobic comments, I really love how the author has kept her character fat. Yes, she exercises, and yes, she’s still fat. She has core muscle strength and is getting fit for the cheer team, not because anyone wants her to lose weight, and that is fabulous. I love how she’s destigmatised the idea of fat characters and exercise/sport in this graphic novel, and if more sporty stories were like this I’d read them. As a fat girl, thank you author for giving your plus size readers a character to relate to.
Then we have Bebe, a trans girl who is trying her best to fit in. I’m not transgender, but I know that trans readers will appreciate the representation and the discussions about trans people’s safety and how to be a good ally to trans people were so well done. Beatrice is GOREGOUS AND SHE SHOULD KNOW IT. So is Annie. I love both of them equally and for a short graphic novel, we do see quite a bit of character growth from both of them which is awesome.
The art style of this was really nicely done - the panels weren’t too busy, the text was easy to read and the shading *chef’s kiss*. Also, can we talk about how beautiful both girls looked in the last section of the graphic novel in their formal outfits? *Squeals in pretty dresses*
In terms of representation we have (canon): plus size lesbian MC, sapphic biracial trans girl MC, black/mixed race side characters, fat side characters, and a character who comes out as non-binary, even if they don’t use the words non-binary or gender fluid explicitly, but it’s there.
This story was bloody CUTE. I love seeing a fat character in love, it makes my own heart so content. If you’re looking for a short, sweet and fun graphic novel about a WLW teenage couple centred around cheerleading, high school and identity, that deals with heavy topics in a respectful and digestible way, then this is the graphic novel for you. Definitely check it out and thanks for taking the time to read this review. See you next time :)
Trigger Warnings: Fatphobic Lanugage, Transphobia, Microagressions, Sexual Harassement, Controlling Parents and Mentions of Biting
Whenever I am in a reading slump, I look to graphic novels to help me get out, and this one absolutely did the trick! I was sold from the minute I saw Check Please as a comp title -- that's an all-time fave -- and it absolutely has the same same warmth, but is it's own strong story. The illustrations are gorgeous and the panels are easy to follow (I'm fairly new to comics and graphic novels so sometimes I get confused), but the story? I'm in love. I think we all have a picture in our heads of what kind of people high school cheerleaders are, but Cheer Up! turns that on its head. And we also have friends to enemies to friends to lovers which, wow I am here for. And Annie and Bebe are such strong, wonderful characters on their own. This graphic novel is a celebration of the queer teen experience and it's absolutely beautiful.
This graphic novel is everything I could have wanted and so much more!!
The characters are brilliant and so loveable.
As a trans person, I related a lot to BeeBee and I absolutely adored the representation in this book. She’s really well done and is honestly my favourite character,
Annie is a smart, plus sized lesbian who joins the cheer squad to be more social. She is a brilliant character who isn’t afraid to call out micro aggressions aimed at BeeBee.
Together the grow closer as BeeBee helps Annie with cheerleading and Annie helps BeeBee with history. But they end up helping each other with so much more
* e-ARC provided through NetGalley *
TW | Transphobia, Sexual Harassment
THIS WAS SO SOFT! Not even just the romance, but all the stuff that ended up developing and growing by the end. The friendships, the girls supporting each other, the family dynamic, the character development. This has been one of the best books I read in a while and in the shortest amount of time. Honestly, it's adorable and it isn't too preachy but it teaches a lesson through the principal characters, the ones that learn how to act and the ones that learn how to stand up. It teaches acceptance, speaking up vs speaking over, misconceptions, friendship, humility. This book just does a lot at once but it's a rare example of doing a lot in the best way possible and in so many pages.
There honestly needs to be more LGBTQ affirming books aimed at teens like this. It's one giant "awwwww" from the first to last page.
This was SO CUTE. I'm not typically a fan of graphic novels, even when I enjoy them I often find them lacking, wishing I could read them in prose form instead. That wasn't the case with Cheer Up: Love and Pompoms; the format felt perfect for this story. I adored both of our main characters, Annie and Bebe, and the relationship between them was so strong, I loved the way they were both always quick to defend the other, but also able to share their vulnerabilities with each other. I love that Bebe's experiences as a trans girl were so central to the story and although it was uncomfortable at times I was really impressed with it highlighting some of the microaggressions she faces even from people trying to be supportive, such as her parents' controlling behavior in an attempt to 'protect' her, or the cheerleading squad being so vocal in their support for her because they know it will make them look good. It felt like there was so much packed into such a short book, but it was paced really well and never felt rushed or overcrowded. The art style is absolutely adorable too, and matched perfectly with this cute, fluffy story.
Cheer up: Love and Pom poms was the perfect mix of cute & bold for a graphic novel. The friendships in this were endearing and it also touched on some tough topics but handled them perfectly. This story was perfect and I hope there’s more to come!
I loved this book.
It is incredible to see a story which normalizes concepts with which not everyone is familiar. The first step towards making society more inclusive for everyone is educating everyone and making that education accessible. This book does that and more.
The story in this graphic novel is about finding a community in high school and about feeling comfortable being yourself. These are common themes in recent YA novels, but this book proves why they are necessary. Seeing yourself represented and seeing others have success expressing themselves is so important when you are struggling with self-confidence and identity.
I am so glad this book exists and I can’t wait to tell everyone I know to read it.
Thanks NetGalley and the publisher for the digital copy in exchange for an honest review!
Annie and Bebe study in the same school. Annie isn't a people person, what makes her being lonely and/or put her in trouble with other students. Bebe is the cool and popular girl... except she is a transgender girl, and that put her in a spotlight she doesn't want—besides she always feel like she needs prove to others she is a real girl.
Both girls find in the cheerleader team a way to deal with their own struggles.
Okay, my comments now:
OMG I'm crying so much, I can't really describe how this comic touched me so deeply!!!
I loved everything—the art, the colors, the diversity in the cast, the dialogues... I can't really find anything I disliked in this comic. I confess in a first moment I was afraid how the story would deal with the gender of Bebe, but it was so accurate and all the comments about womanhood while being a trans girl were all so... my god, everything was right in the spot.
Annie`s issues with dealing with people were well developed too and I was so glad the other girls in the cheerleader team have had their own moment perceiving things about their behavior with Bebe... My god, that was very cathartic, thank you so much, for real.
I am very happy I read this, it was all I needed today—and for sure I will recommend this comic to everyone!!!
TW: transphobia and harassment
This book was so beautiful. This is the first graphic novel I have ever read and it surpassed all of my expectations. I found myself crying halfway through at how beautiful the relationships and character development was, and crying yet again at the ending!
I loved how this story had trans rep and a sapphic romance which I always love. I also found myself hooked from the very first page. This book is truly unique, and is a very quick read, I think I read it in about 30-40 minutes. This is the perfect story if you need something to cheer you up, and a light read that won't take too long.
I also think that this book accurately described what high school is like and how microagressions present themselves in day to day life as a highschooler. I think it takes a truly amazing book to be able to portray this in such a respectful yet raw way.
Overall, I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes cheerleading, sapphic books, romance, and LGBTQ+ rep!
A queer cheerleading romance? A million times yes! Readers of the series Check Please! will be familiar with this level of charm and wholesomeness in a queer sports story.
This is a really sweet and empowering graphic novel! I really loved the representation, and the message about how acceptance means respecting others’ autonomy!
Your best bet of getting me invested in any sort of sports-related book? Make it queer. It’s really that simple. Cheer Up moves in the beautifully populated ranks of Fence, Check, Please and Heartstopper and provides some much-needed diverse representation!
Cheer Up: Love and Pompons is a heartfelt, quick-paced, sweet and super diverse graphic novel. Though it’s pretty short, it managed to pack a lot within those pages – from diverse representation, a sapphic love story (with the unbeatable trope best-friends-to-enemies-to-friends-to-lovers) to representations of transphobic microaggressions and teammates becoming friends for life. I never had the feeling that topics were rushed or dropped completely, and they all tied in really well together towards the end.
I loved the juxtaposition of Annie, who’s super antisocial and has a lot of anger bottled up inside of her, with BeeBee who is an absolute people pleaser – recently transitioned, she thinks that she has to keep everyone happy in order for them to still support her. Which means that a lot of the times, she says yes to things when she’s already overwhelmed and overworked. When these two former friends find their way back to each other through cheerleading, all bets are off and I loved how they both helped each other feel accepted and loved in this book.
BeeBee puts a lot of pressure on herself but she also faces transphobic microaggressions from her team – you can tell they only mean well, but sometimes that makes speaking up about being uncomfortable even harder. I enjoyed how supportive BeeBee’s cheerleader squad was and how they stood up for her, even when they didn’t get it right on their first try.
And can we talk for a second about the representation of DIFFERENT body shapes when it comes to cheerleaders? My heart was cheering when I saw multiple plus-sized characters on the squad! No one makes a comment about them not being able to do the pyramid or having to lose weight to stay on the team. They are just as able to slay as cheerleaders as everyone else on the team - You wouldn’t believe how healing that kind of representation can be.
Dealing with current social topics without sacrificing its lightheartedness, Cheer Up: Love and Pompoms is the perfect boost of girl power!
TW/CW: Transphobia (some contested), sexual harassment, fatphobia, microaggresions, bullying
When I randomly downloaded this title on Netgalley, I didn’t think this story would have such an impact on me. I saw that gorgeous cover, read that it was a sapphic romance with other LGBTQIA+ themes, and didn’t really read much farther - and honestly, I love that I went into it kinda blind. Cheer Up is the story of two teen girls who used to be friends. For an unknown reason (that I wish the story had gone into!), the two stopped talking a few years before the story starts.
Beatrice is a cheerleader who has become popular ever since she came out as transgender. Annie is a loner who’s extremely smart but doesn’t have any friends.
Beatrice needs a tutor to keep her grades up so that she can continue transitioning and Annie’s mom wants her to get more involved in extracurriculars for college applications.
So, of course, they decide to work together.
This story is full of love - platonic love, familial love, and romantic love. The cheerleading team, while often misguided, means well. They love each other so much and by the end of the book will do anything to protect each other. Beatrice’s parents want her life to be as easy as possible and tend to be very protective of her. Annie and Beatrice’s budding romantic relationship made me cry at 2:30 AM when I finished this book.
It’s also a story of identity and discovery. Annie explicitly states that she’s attracted to girls (she never explicitly says she’s a lesbian like the synopsis does, but I’ll take it). Beatrice admits that because she’s been so focused on her gender identity journey that she hasn’t even gotten to think about her sexuality - but Annie helps her along with that. One of their cheerleading teammates comes out thanks to Beatrice.
Not only does this graphic novel have all of that going for it, but it’s also incredibly diverse in other aspects. No background or side character looks the same. Different body types all around, hijabi background characters, and so many characters of color.
This graphic novel holds a lot for being less than 200 pages. From heavy and important moments like discussing how performative activism is harmful, to the light and fun aspects of high school such as homecoming dress shopping, this book seems to have it all. It holds a variety of deep conversations and concepts all while being balanced by its fun, beautiful, and brightly colored pages.
I feel like I could talk forever about this book, so I’m gonna stop here before I just melt into keyboard smashing and all caps. If you’re looking for a book that is destined to make you feel good, this is it. Please read this book; I hope you love it as much as I do.
Huge thank you to Netgalley and Oni Press for the ARC!
I'm IN LOVE with this book. The art style is absolutely adorable, and I love the characters. And the fashion, the artist of this book is so good at designing and drawing outfits! AND> WLW TRANS GIRL. I'm an mlm transman and am so happy to see more non-straight trans rep, it makes me so happy.
So much of the content matter I related too as a trans person: The fake ally-ship, casual transphobia, treating transition like a privilege. Feeling like your existence is a burden. Having to chose between comfort and safety. The fear romantic interests don't like you for you. It all hit. Hebe was such a relatable character and I just wanted to hug her.
This book is the perfect balance of fluff and emotion. It handles real issues without sugar coating, but is still filled with friendships and sapphic love.
I am 100% preordering this and am ready to recommend it to everyone. Please please go preorder this book NOW!
Representation: trans girl, wlw, lesbian, Latina, POC, nonbinary, body positive
CW: transphobia, Fatphobic Lanugage, Microagressions, Sexual Harassement