Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 16 to 18
- Grade: 11 to 12
A queer coming-of-age story, complete with secret cigarettes, gross gym teachers, and a lot of church
It's the early 2000s. Lauren is fifteen, soft-spoken, and ashamed of her body. She's a devout member of an evangelical church, but when her Bible-thumping parents forbid Lauren to bring evolution textbooks home, she opts to study at her schoolmate Mariah's house. Mariah has dial-up internet, an absentee mom, anda Wiccan altar - the perfect setting for a study session and sleepover to remember. That evening, Mariah gives Lauren a makeover and the two melt into each other, in what becomes Lauren's first queer encounter. Afterward, a potent blend of Christian guilt and internalized homophobia causes Lauren to question the experience.
Author Jessica Campbell (XTC69) uses frankness and dark humor to articulate Lauren's burgeoning crisis of faith and sexuality. She captures teenage antics and banter with astute comedic style, simultaneously skewering bullies, a culture of slut-shaming, and the devastating impact of religious zealotry. Rave is an instant classic, a coming-of-age story about the secret spaces young women create and the wider social structures that fail them.
About the author
Jessica Campbell is a Canadian artist originally from Victoria, British Columbia. Her fine art has been exhibited across North America, and in 2019 she had a solo exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. An educator of comics art and history, Campbell has taught at a variety of institutions, including the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is the author of the graphic novels Hot or Not: 20th Century Male Artists and XTC69.
Rave takes a melancholy glimpse into small-town life, where the church casts a long shadow. For the teenagers of this town, dogmatic teachings offer no salvation. But turning away feels impossible when religion is a pillar of the community. Jessica Campbell's Rave is a beautifully told story about the harm of conditional love."
- Aminder Dhaliwal, CYCLOPEDIA EXOTICA
"Reading Rave reminds me of the way the days felt when you were a teenager. Terribly long, and yet incredibly short. Jessica Campbell has captured the essence of being young and lost so completely, that I know the story will stay with me for a long time to come. Read it, and you won't forget it either."
- Tillie Walden, ON A SUNBEAM