Review: My Riot

Title: My Riot
Author: Rick Spears, Emmett Helen
Genre: Graphic Novel
Publisher: Oni Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: September 8, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

“Full of raw noise & 90’s angst, MY RIOT delivers an electric gut-punch of a tale that will have you aching for the return of the riot grrrl movement.” — Kim Liggett, New York TimesBestselling author of THE GRACE YEAR

Set in the early ’90s, My Riot is about a trio of teen girls team up to form a rock band and shake off society’s expectations of what it means to be a young woman coming of age in the modern world.

1991—Val, a teenager from a conservative family, has grown up dreaming of becoming a ballerina, but recently something has changed. She’s begun feeling pressure to conform to a specific idea of beauty, body type, and a personality that just doesn’t fit.

Val meets Kat, a smart, witty girl that doesn’t take any crap off anyone. Kat introduces Val to punk rock. Along with Rudie, another new friend, the three form an all-girl punk band they ironically name The Proper Ladies.

Soon Val and her friends find themselves caught up in a movement with other girls also starting bands—also finding their voice. Collectively, these “riot grrrls” discover that their songs ring out loud and powerful, and for Val, there’s no going back.


Val is a girl from a conservative background who has always wanted to be a ballerina. When her ballet teacher tells her she needs to lose weight, she suggests she start smoking. Val gets the cigarettes from Kat, who becomes her new friend. Kat introduces Val to punk rock. They form a band called The Proper Ladies, and Val’s life is changed forever.

This was a great story about girl power. Val gained confidence from performing in her band. She had been restricted and limited in what she was allowed to do when she was a dancer. With punk rock, she could make the rules and become her true self.

A trigger warning for this book is eating disorders. It was disturbing to see how Val’s teacher told her and other dancers to lose weight any way they could. That included taking up smoking cigarettes. Some of them developed eating disorders. I was glad to see Val take up music so she could develop a healthy body image.

This is a great punk rock graphic novel.

Thank you Oni Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Queen of Kenosha by Howard Shapiro and Erica Chan

Mooncakes by Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker

Have you read My Riot? What did you think of it?

Author: jilljemmett

Jill lives in Toronto, Canada. She has studied English, Creative Writing, and Publishing. Jill is the creator and content producer of Jill’s Book Blog, where she has published a blog post every day for the last four years, including 5-7 book reviews a week. She can usually be found with her nose in a book.

2 thoughts on “Review: My Riot”

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