Imagine being a teenager and having to spend the summer with a father you hardly know. You’re in a strange place. The parent you normally live with is on another continent. The one you’re stuck with is putting you to work renovating the building you’re living in. And to top it all off, he barely speaks the same language as you — literally.
That’s the premise of Samuel Teer and Mar Julia‘s new graphic novel, Brownstone. The Beat is proud to reveal exclusively that, following a seven-publisher auction, the young adult graphic novel will be released by Versify Publishing, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt curated by award-winning author Kwame Alexander.
Brownstone centers on Almudena Brown, a mixed-race 14-year-old, as she moves in with her estranged Hispanic father, Xavier, after her WASP-y dancer mother gets a job touring Europe for the summer. The story follows Almudena as she adjusts to living with her father in a neighborhood full of Hispanic/Latinx residents who all have their own ideas of how half-Latinx girls should be living their lives, and who end up helping Almudena discover who she wants to be instead.
In a statement, Teer, whose previous work includes writing the graphic novel VEDA: Assembly Required for Dark Horse Comics, described what made Brownstone a story he needed to tell:
For me, Brownstone is story about navigating your heritage even though you might feel like fraud. Being mixed race/latinx makes up the fabric of who I am — my Mom is a first generation immigrant from Guatemala and my Dad’s American-born (who also happens to be deaf). This was less about my need to tell a story and more about sending up a signal flare into the world — to say to other mixed race people of all ages, “Hey! You are not alone.”
Julia, an artist with previous credits including Lumberjanes and Adventure Time, also expressed their excitement for readers to get their hands on Brownstone:
I’m excited for everyone to meet the whole neighborhood – I love a good ensemble cast and Brownstone is full of great characters that I’ve really gotten attached to! It was really important to us both to not only focus on the main character’s journey navigating her mixed-ness with her father, but also to highlight all these other people surrounding her, coloring her story through their own lives and experiences.
Brownstone is the second collaboration between Teer and Julia, and their first graphic novel together. The team has previously produced a two-page autobiographical comic, Mixed, about Teer’s own experiences growing up mixed-race.
Check out some preview pages for Brownstone, as well as designs by Julia for Almudena and the book’s other characters, below, and look for it to hit store shelves in Spring 2022.