Summary: The Tryout
I was so excited about Soontornvat’s debut graphic memoir, and it lived up to my expectations. The Tryout follows young Christina as she tries out for her middle school’s cheerleading team. As one of the few Asians in her small Texas town, Christina and her Iranian-American best friend are nervous about trying out, but determined to give their best. Unfortunately, tryouts quickly lead to heartbreak when Megan decides to partner up with another girl, leaving Christina to fend for herself. Can the girls make it work?
This was such a fun slice-of-life graphic novel. I loved seeing Christina’s day to day in the 1990’s. I’ve never been into cheerleading but I found this account fascinating. Christina’s father has a Chinese restaurant because apparently Thai food wasn’t taking off at the time. We also learn a bit about the struggles her father faced as a new immigrant and the racism Christina’s parents face as an interracial family.
Megan and Christina have a warm friendship and they do an excellent job working through their issues and keeping the relationship in check despite the ups and downs. I loved that they got to be in cheerleading together. This book has great illustrations by Joanna Cacao and that’s always the final cincher for me with graphic novels.
Overall: The Tryout
The Tryout is a fantastic graphic memoir that will appeal to fans of sports stories and books about life as a minority and child of immigrants. The author does an excellent job of balancing hard moments with funny moments of levity throughout the story. Filled with beautiful full-color illustrations and centering a biracial Asian-American protagonist, I’m sure lots of kids will see themselves in Christina’s story.