Garlic and the Vampire by Bree Paulsen


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Content/Trigger Warnings: Depictions of anxiety and panic attacks

“You are much braver than you think.”

Friends, this is probably the most wholesome read that I’ve had the pleasure of reading all year, thus far! Can I just have all the graphic novels that consist of witches, vampire, adorable creatures, and wonderfully stunning art? Please? Pretty please with a cherry on top? I just loved this graphic novel a lot and the wait for the next book to release feels like forever even though it comes out this fall! Yes, Fall 2022 friends! Plus, the author did a cover reveal for the second book and it’s GORGEOUS!

Our story follows Garlic, an anxious vegetable who just wants to do their very best. Though they struggle sometimes, with the encouragement of their friend Carrot and the love they hold in their heart, Garlic always strives for happiness and to keep trying even if things feel hard. However, when one day some of the fellow vegetables see smoke coming out of the abandoned castle and there’s rumors it might be a vampire, panic sets it and Garlic’s neighbor Celery nominates them to go to the castle to ward off the vampire. Though Garlic is anxious, they’ll set out on a brand new adventure and maybe make a friend or two along the way!

Let’s take a moment to address the precious friendship between Carrot and Garlic! Too freaking precious and it makes me feel all the things! The way their friendship is so evident and the way Carrot always tries their best to look out for Garlic just fills my heart with so much warmth. Not to mention, Carrot never tries to change Garlic due to their anxiety, but instead constantly encourages Garlic to do their best and keep trying. What a freaking wholesome friendship! Also, Carrot casually uses they/them pronouns and seeing some nonbinary rep always fills my heart with so much warmth and joy.

Speaking of rep, let’s talk about the anxiety and panic attack representation in this graphic novel. Seriously, it feels so spot on. If you’re someone who has anxiety or panic attacks, I think this graphic novel will speak volumes to you. The way the author put so much love into the depictions of the anxiety and anxiety feels very authentic and almost like they’re pulling from their own experiences/knowledge. It made me really soft and as someone who constantly battles their anxiety, I felt very seen by Garlic’s character.

And I would be doing this graphic novel a huge disservice if I didn’t talk about the vampire. Oh my glob, the freaking vampire stole my heart! Most wholesome bean and I just want to hug them, and learn all the things from them! Truly, I adored them and then seeing the way he interacts with the witch just made my entire existence melt. And he loves gardening! Be still my beating heart! I would fight for all the characters in the graphic novel, but I would fight tooth and nail for the vampire. And there’s this whole theme surrounding the vampire about how we shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover or allow our prejudices to convince us that someone is one way when they’re really not.

Overall, I really loved this graphic novel and I’m making big grabby hands for the second book. Seriously, fall can’t get here soon enough because I want to know what’s going to happening next to our little Garlic friend and what their new adventure will be. Also, you just need this in your life because it’s literally warmth and sunshine packaged in a graphic novel. I’m not emotional over fictional characters, you’re emotional over fictional characters!


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