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As the Crow Flies

(As The Crow Flies #1)

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  3,365 ratings  ·  658 reviews
Melanie Gillman's webcomic about a queer, black teenager who finds herself stranded in a dangerous and unfamiliar place: an all-white Christian youth backpacking camp. ...more
webcomic, 276 pages
Published (first published August 1st 2017)
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Isaiah Middle school and up would be fitting. There is a lot of talk of questioning religion and set ways of thinking, which fits well with that age group!

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Average rating 3.68  · 
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 ·  3,365 ratings  ·  658 reviews

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It's interesting that I've read two graphic novels in a row featuring a prominent black female with thick ankles named Charlie, short for Charlotte. Was that a writing assignment for last year?

I don't know what to do with this graphic novel.

I mean, look at the summary: A queer, black teenager finds herself stranded in a dangerous and unfamiliar place: an all-white Christian youth backpacking camp.
It sounds like the kind of stuff I've been reading like crazy lately but I don't actually kn
Dave Schaafsma
Melanie Gillman's unique webcomic turned paperback about a queer (but I only learned this for sure from the cover, because it wasn’t obvious throughout) black (though her Dad appears to be white) teenager on a backpacking trip with what appears to be an all-white, cis-gendered Christian feminist organization. The teen, Charlotte, or Charlie, eventually finds that other girls also feel sometimes marginalized by the women leaders. Though I personally don’t see it as deeply disrespectful to either ...more
Krista Regester
Mar 01, 2018 rated it liked it
My absolute favorite thing in this graphic novel is how the incredibly drawn (all in colored pencil) the landscapes are. I think it's worth a read just for that. ...more
destiny ♡ howling libraries
There's so much rep in this, and it's a really cute and sweet graphic novel. Definitely heavy on the religious/Christianity aspects at times, so if that isn't something you enjoy reading about, be forewarned. I usually don't pick up books with religious sub-plots, but I liked the fact that As the Crow Flies represented the fact that queer Christians exist and that's okay, as I know it's a group of the queer community that gets erased a lot. ...more
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars. While I agree with most of the messages strewn throughout this YA comic, I'm left conflicted, because here we have yet another LGBTQ non-binary white woman (sorry) who really, really, really believes her experience is exactly the same as a gay black youth's experience and that rubs me the wrong way, hard.

I'm sick of pretty much every LGBTQ person saying their persecution is the same as black people. It's not. Yes, they both suck and are unnecessary and wrong, but LGBTQ people, you're
This book felt so much like home that I almost forgot that representation like this is rare.

Fantastic intersectionality, and I liked recognizing a discomfort with strenuous hiking (paired with a genuine love of the outdoors) like mine. The religious content is ticklingly familiar and adjacent to my own experience.

Really interesting illustrative style, easy to follow panel composition, gorgeous landscapes.

Main complaint is that this doesn't feel like a complete story - it feels like the climax i
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The representation was handled very well while our black possibly-queer protagonist (whose body doesn’t match magazine covers) and the transgirl they gets to know experience the white cis straight ignorance around them. I loved the subtlety of how Sydney mentioned things that Charlie might not have processed yet. I loved how we see their responses to the ignorance through both appropriate emotional experience and through pondering, and then I also love how after calling out ignorance, there is u ...more
Skye Kilaen
A compelling YA graphic novel about what it's like to enter a space you can't be sure is safe, take hit after hit (metaphorically speaking), but try to keep going and bond with others in similar circumstances. Initially published as a webcomic, it's about a queer black teen girl who goes to a Christian feminist camp. Charlie is immediately wary when she realizes every other camper is white. Her black mom immediately gets why she's uneasy, whereas her white father doesn't see what the big deal is ...more
Dewey's #Readathon Book 1 - I loved this book so much. The story of a black female questioning teen at an all-white summer camp is just the amount of idealism and snark I liked. And the artwork is well-drawn and gorgeous. However, the ending was a small letdown because I wanted more. I think this does continue further, and I'm down for it. ...more
Nay Keppler
Mar 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
Kept waiting for something to happen. This book is perfect for fans of Crayola colored pencils who like watching grass grow.
Sep 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's definitely clear that Charlie and Sydney are getting close ...more
Hmm hmm hmm. There's a lot I liked here--the art is gorgeous, I loved reading about Charlie's story and I think this raises a lot of important issues--questions of faith, microaggressions, macroaggressions, sexuality, gender, Nature... but I guess I didn't realize that this was a collection of a webcomic, and I guess I.................kind of question the decision to collect this at this point in time? The story doesn't come to a conclusion and since it's building up to such an obvious next step ...more
Rod Brown
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A summer camp hike becomes an enthralling microcosm of a lot of today's hot topics: race, gender, sexuality, feminism, spirituality, microaggressions, bullying, and our relationship with nature.

The only flaw that really needs attention is the fact that the cover design does not include a clear indication that this is only the first volume of a series so the reader does not expect a complete story. I was worried as the book started running out of pages and shocked when the story just stopped. I r
laura (bookies & cookies)
As many have stated in their reviews, this feels unresolved, but life is also unresolved, so I'll deal.

I really appreciated Charlie and Syndey's friendship. It felt extremely natural and comfortable.

Also, this is the 3rd summer camp graphic novel I've read this month... during the summer... so do with that what you will because I have no clue.
Hannah Garden
Nov 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics, november-2018
Wait I LOOOVED this but is that the end!?? Is this volume one!?? What happens!!!!

Oh ok pardon me I just took the two seconds necessary to find out the answer to my screaming and yes this is part one.


Ok well so then my review is: I LOOOOOOVED this and am dying for more.
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loooved this, though I'm super disappointed at where it left off (I wasn't aware that this was going to be a 2-volume release).

Charlie, a queer black teen, has committed herself to an all-white Christian backpacking camp. Charlie doesn't feel like she fits in with the other campers but is resolute to finish the week-long hike the camp has every Summer.

It's a brief description, but that's more or less the plot. Gillman is much more interested in exploring Charlie - her feelings, thoughts, and d
Dec 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic
A sweet, thoughtful story with stunningly beautiful color pencil artwork.
Charlie is thirteen and black and maybe queer and at an almost all-white Christian summer camp. As the book opens, she's in a sort of teenaged limbo, not sure she wants to be there. And as the book closes, she's still in a sort of teenaged limbo, because the story is unfinished. There's no real satisfaction to be had here.

As the Crow Flies started as a webcomic. The entire text to date is still available online (there's a note here that says the whole story is eventually meant to be published in
Maggie Gordon
May 22, 2018 rated it liked it
I don't know where I fall with As the Crow Flies. It is a beautifully illustrated book with an important story, but given this first book's lack of resolution, I'm unsure where it is heading. The story involves a black teen who has joined a women's religious group on a trek up a mountain. She immediately recognises that she is one of the only non-white individuals attending (save for one counsellor), and is discomforted by the lead's way of discussing women's retreats and "purification". Along t ...more
Jun 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbt
a bit disappointed, as i had been looking forward to this one. the art was lovely! especially the landscapes. but the story felt limited and didn't seem to get any resolution, and most of the characters fell flat. the dialogue was cutesy, though, and i enjoyed the interactions between charlie and sydney.

it would have benefitted a lot from being 2 or 3x the length.
Cass (all too tired)
Confusing to no end and the only thing that kept me reading was the colored pencil artwork. It says in the description that Charlie is queer, but there's no confirmation from her whatsoever. This might be because the webcomic has more story to tell, but that was not made clear in the book. It also seemed throughout that Charlie was looking for or remembering someone as she was backpacking, but nothing was explained, so I am left confused and unsatisfied. ...more
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels, ya, queer
The premise caught my eye when I first saw it. A young queer youth who has been sent off to a Christian summer camp where they are the only person of color.

This is a realistic story of what happens. There is no Christian bashing, if you think that will be what goes on, but Charlie has other feelings, longings, crushes, as they march from the camp up to Three Peaks, where once, women who were there in the time of the early white settlers, fled to get away from their husbands. There is more here
Bogi Takács
I didn't realize this was only Book 1 of... I assume more books, it's not marked anywhere. I thought it was a standalone, but it ends very abruptly and there are more pages online.

I had mixed feelings, which are colored by the fact that while I'm not Black, I was an ethnic minority person in a Christian (specifically Catholic) summer camp and my experience was.... very different and much more terrible. Granted, in a different country. I might need to sit on my feelings a bit before I review this
Dec 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really really gorgeous. I have 2 issues with it: 1. It felt unfinished and like kind of a copout to keep talking about a surprise at the summit of the mountain and never go there. 2. I didn't like that she kind of guilted Sydney out of participating. Transfolk should be supported when they choose to take part in traditional gender expression. ...more
May 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
A short book but yet the best. This book for a teenager you can really relate to a lot. It has all of those detailed moments and it's humorous. I think the character strength is friendship because in the book one of the characters-Charlie meets someone new and throughout the story becomes her best friend. ...more
Beautifully illustrated and it feels like I’m missing a few things (the subtle hints that pop up in Charlie’s mind, shown as thought “boxes”) in terms of back story. Will sneak online to see if there’s any more...
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a beautiful and important book! I loved the illustrations especially.
Kat Ice
it was cute but a little to religious for me. loved the artistry and the flow of the book though.
Suzanne Dix
This left me feeling very confused.
Sep 04, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
C/W:(view spoiler)

As the Crow Flies was an incredibly moving slice-of-life story following Charlie as she goes on a hiking trip with an all-white Christian camp. This book does so many things well. Charlie was a compelling main character who's grappling with her faith amongst a bunch of girls who are white and straight. Charlie's uncertainty that what drew her to this hike was God's work was really moving -- even for someone like me who has a
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Fictional Graphic novel 1 6 Nov 13, 2018 05:53AM  

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