Today is World Book Day, so it's fitting to observe the occasion by presenting Beauty Queen, a new graphic novel coming in fall by myself and artist Jamie Jo Parreno! It will be published by Charmz, a imprint of Papercutz that publishes romances for tweens and teens.
Here is the official description:
“Mamalarang! Witch!” These are words that have followed young Renata for most of her life, all because she has a power that no one quite understands. Living in the squalor of Manila’s Smokey Mountain — a slum within a garbage dump — Renata uses her power to communicate with insects to help her with the daily task of collecting recyclable rubbish. As her family ekes out a living, the flip side of Manila is one where glamorous Beauty Queens reign supreme. When a flamboyant talent coach spots Renata in the market, he gives her the chance to be plucked from poverty into the heady world of Filipino pageants. It’s a chance to help her family that she can’t refuse. But even as she is groomed in poise and beauty, her past and the plight of the poor in Manila haunts her. And her secret power just keeps strengthening. Renata knows what she has to do, but it means revealing her power — and exposing herself to shame and scorn. Will the love of a fellow pageant girl help Renata find the strength to set her power free?
And here's some beautiful concept art by Jamie! (It was created when our working title was Miss Mamalarang.)