I am so excited to be a part of this amazing blog tour, hosted by #HearOurVoices, where the focus is on promoting #OwnVoice authors and content creators to make diverse books more accessible to readers! Always Human is a graphic novel that explores the theme of identity through a variety of characters and their relationships – and I was LIVING for it!
Published September 10, 2015 by Yellow Jacket
Data from Goodreads
In the near-future, people use technology to give the illusion of all kinds of body modifications — from different colored hair and eyes, to highly-technological implants that change the way they function in the world. But some people aren’t so lucky, plagued with a highly sensitive immune system that rejects these modifications. Maintaining a “natural” appearance, these social outcasts must rely on cosmetics hair dye in an attempt to fit in.
Sunati is attracted to Austen the first time she sees her and is drawn to what she assumes is Austen’s bravery and confidence to live life unmodded. When Sunati learns the truth, she’s still attracted to Austen and asks her on a date. Gradually, their relationship unfolds as they deal with friends, family, and the emotional conflicts that come with every romance. Together, they will learn and grow in a story that reminds us no matter how technology evolves, we will remain… always human.
First serialized on the popular app and website WebToon, Always Human ran from 2015-2017 and amassed over 76,000 unique subscribers during its run. Today, as an archived piece on the site, the title has always over 400,000 unique viewers. Reformatted for a print edition in sponsorship with GLAAD, this beautifully-drawn, soft sci-fi, queer graphic novel will available wherever books are sold in both paperback and hardcover formats.
Rep: LGBTQIA+ rep, disability rep, Chilean-Australian MC, Asian-Australian MC
There are so many reasons to read this book! Always Human is such a wholesome story, with wonderful manga-like artwork. I loved seeing this beautiful sci-fi world, filled with virtual reality and the concept of modifications that people can use for useful purposes (like cancer prevention) or for more fun things (like changing your appearance). But what drew me to this story is the relationship between our two MCs.
Sulani and Austen are so different from each other, and yet readers cannot help but root for them. Their relationship is so light-hearted and lovely, and I actually saw so much positivity and wisdom from their deeper moments. It was a mature representation of how to respect others and I was all for it! The novel also shows how our MCs interact with various side characters, who were also very diverse.
I can go on and on about this novel – but the takeaway is: go and read it if you want a wholesome love story that uplifts different gender identities and is positive and light-hearted!
If you’ve already read this and want some bookish recommendations, here are my top 3 (based on the story and artwork):
- Fruit’s Basket – this is a manga/anime that I grew up with and still love. It is one of my favourites because it has surprising depth to it, even though it seems light-hearted. It is all about acceptance, identity, and that feeling of belongingess, which are central themes of Always Human.
- Flipped – this is one of my favourite young YA/middle grade novels because it is one of the cutest love stories ever! I also watched the movie (but the book was better). What I love about Flipped is that it is told from multiple perspectives and has a really strong female character who is firm in her identity. Readers can’t help but love her for it! If you haven’t read it, definitely give it a go!
- Heartstopper – this is a graphic novel I’ve just recently come across but I already love it! Not only does it feature a gay romance, but it also has a super sweet romance! I love that the focus of this story is being comfortable with who you are – and who you love. The illustrations are also very cute, making this a really fun and quick read!
So there you have it, folks! Make sure to check out all of the other bloggers who are participating in the Always Human blog tour and get a copy of this graphic novel!