As the Crow Flies by Melanie Gillman

as the crow fliesAs the Crow Flies is a graphic novel about Charlie, a 13-year-old queer Black kid at an all-white, all-girls summer Christian backpacking camp. She’s deconstructing some of the toxic theology she’s been taught (specifically, white evangelicalism), but also holding on to her faith and giving it space to grow.

As soon as the camp leader said there was going to be a “feminist ceremony,” I knew TERF rhetoric wasn’t far behind. Heads up for transphobia, gender essentialism, and racism in this book (none of these things are left unchecked). Charlie makes a new friend at camp who is also troubled by their leader’s racism and TERF ideology, and the two girls become each other’s confidants—and better yet, accomplices.

The book ends a bit abruptly, which bugged me at first. Then I went back and read the ending again, let it sit with me, and I realized that the final scene is actually very powerful in its subtlety.

I love Melanie Gillman’s artwork, the themes of faith and showing solidarity, and the quiet, gentle spirit of the main character. I’m always ready to enjoy a good coming-of-age story, and As the Crow Flies didn’t disappoint.