ARC Review: Nubia: Real One

The story of Nubia is one of my absolute favorite stories now! This graphic novel is amazing in so many ways!

Title: Nubia: Real One
Author: L.L. McKinney, Illustrator: Robyn Smith
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: February 23, 2021
Genres: YA Graphic Novel Contemporary

I received an ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Official Synopsis

Can you be a hero…if society doesn’t see you as a person?

Nubia has always been a little bit…different. As a baby she showcased Amazonian-like strength by pushing over a tree to rescue her neighbor’s cat. But, despite having similar abilities, the world has no problem telling her that she’s no Wonder Woman. And even if she was, they wouldn’t want her. Every time she comes to the rescue, she’s reminded of how people see her; as a threat. Her Moms do their best to keep her safe, but Nubia can’t deny the fire within her, even if she’s a little awkward about it sometimes. Even if it means people assume the worst.

When Nubia’s best friend, Quisha, is threatened by a boy who thinks he owns the town, Nubia will risk it all—her safety, her home, and her crush on that cute kid in English class—to become the hero society tells her she isn’t.

From the witty and powerful voice behind A Blade So Black, L.L. McKinney, and with endearing and expressive art by Robyn Smith, comes a vital story for today about equality, identity and kicking it with your squad.


There’s so much to say about this book, and I find I can barely find the words to say it all. It was just that amazing.

This book deals with some tough issues–racial injustice, sexual harrassment/near assault, gun violence. But the way the issues are folded into Nubia’s experience feels so important. They are handled with lots of sensitivity, though I do still warn against reading for those who might find these issues triggering.

Nubia herself is one of my all-time favorite comic book characters now. McKinney’s version of her is so full of spunk and love and joy–I immediately loved her with all my heart. I hated seeing her pain, but what so thrilled to see her courage when she stepped up. She is not a rebellious teenager, buts he finds in order to do the right thing, she has to break some rules sometimes. I loved her relationship with her friends and her moms–she has some struggles with them, as her friends don’t know everything about her and her moms don’t want her to show everything about her because it would put her in danger. But they are all so loving and it made me so happy to see Nubia had so much support surrounding her.

The pacing in this book is quick, but it never felt choppy or awkward. Nubia’s arc as she figures out how to be herself felt totally organic and it ended in the best way. The dialogue is fun and the action is excellent. And the ART. Oh my gosh. It is so gorgeous, with it’s bright, bold colors and character styling. I couldn’t stop looking at it.

Overall Feelings

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This is by far one of my favorite graphic novels now, and I know I’ll be reading it over and over again in the future.

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