The Avant-Guards, Vol. 1 by Carly Usdin, Noah Hayes | REVIEW3 min read

Cover of The Avant-Guards, Vol. 1 by Carly Usdin and Noah Hayes

Quick Info about The Avant-Guards, Vol. 1

Title The Avant-Guards, Vol. 1
Author Written by Carly Usdin; Illustrated by Noah Hayes
Publisher BOOM! Box
Release Date 3 September 2019
Format eARC
Representation Tons of characters of color (including MC and Love Interest); F/F relationship – no labels; Non-binary character; MC with anxiety disorder
Content Warnings Discussions of panic attacks and anxiety (but no descriptions or portrayals)
Synopsis When Charlie transfers to the Georgia O’Keeffe College of Arts and Subtle Dramatics, she struggles to find her feet, but winds up exactly where she belongs…in the school’s (terrible) basketball team.
As a transfer student to the Georgia O’Keeffe College for Arts and Subtle Dramatics, former sports star Charlie is struggling to find her classes, her dorm, and her place amongst a student body full of artists who seem to know exactly where they’re going. When the school’s barely-a-basketball-team unexpectedly attempts to recruit her, Charlie’s adamant that she’s left that life behind…until she’s won over by the charming team captain, Liv, and the ragtag crew she’s managed to assemble. And while Charlie may have left cut-throat competition in in the dust, sinking these hoops may be exactly what she needs to see the person she truly wants to be.

 Review of The Avant-Guards, Vol. 1

Cover of The Avant-Guards by Carly Usdin and Noah HayesUGH, this was too short! And to leave off on a cliffhanger like that?! I’m almost sad I read it as an advance copy because now I have to wait even longer. Almost. The Avant-Guards, Vol. 1 alternatingly follows Charlie Bravo and Olivia “Liv” Bates as they form their college’s first-ever sports team. Liv is the brains and main motivation behind the cause. Meanwhile, Charlie, a brand new transfer student who’s trying to escape painful memories of her old college’s basketball team, takes a bit of convincing before she joins.

Overall, this is a great setup to what I think will continue developing into an amazing story. Each of the characters in our main crew has such a distinct personality. On the surface, that seem as if they would clash as a team. Yet, they work together in such an effective way that doesn’t feel forced to pull this team together and play their first game. My Virgo self connected a lot to Liv. I love Charlie so much (and wow, was my guess that she’s a Scorpio spot-on). Tiffany is hilarious and Nicole must be protected at all costs. But I also really have a soft spot for Jay, because oh my gosh, they’re such a sweetheart, and I wish they had more lines.

Honestly, I’ve never followed basketball or cared about it much, but this cast kept me engaged. So you definitely don’t have to love or even know much about the sport to follow the story. It’s about so much more than just them playing basketball. Yeah, that’s the reason this group of six have come together. But there’s already a lot of history between them, and you can tell they have so much more to make.

I also want to make some notes on the representation in The Avant-Guards. There is a developing romance between Charlie and Liv. Unfortunately for Liv, there’s some romantic history between her and Nicole, which she’s struggling to get over. Another note on Nicole is that she’s transgender, as is apparent by the trans flag hanging in her dorm room. Lastly, for queer rep, Jay uses they/them pronouns, although they never say exactly how they identify. Plus, as you can see from the cover, the story shows a lot of casual racial diversity. By this, I mean that this diversity is shown pretty obviously, but it’s never discussed at any length.

Whom I recommend this to

  • Those looking for a quick, lowkey graphic novel to read
  • Readers who want diverse stories about sports

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