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Bingo Love

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Bingo Love is a story of a same-sex romance that spans over 60 years. A chance meeting at church bingo in 1963 brings Hazel Johnson and Mari McCray together. Through their formative years, these two women develop feelings for each other and finally profess their love for one another.

Forced apart by their families and society, Hazel and Mari both married young men and had families. Decades later, now in their mid 60’s, Hazel and Mari are reunited again at a bingo hall. Realizing their love for each other is still alive, what these grandmothers do next takes absolute strength and courage.

From TEE FRANKLIN (NAILBITER’s “THE OUTFIT,” Love is Love) and JENN ST-ONGE (Jem & the Misfits), BINGO LOVE is a touching story of love, family, and resiliency that spans over 60 years.

92 pages, ebook

First published February 20, 2018

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Tee Franklin

48 books185 followers

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5 stars
2,936 (33%)
4 stars
3,129 (35%)
3 stars
2,157 (24%)
2 stars
440 (4%)
1 star
172 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,811 reviews
Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,478 reviews19.3k followers
June 26, 2018
My heart 😭💔 this was a really sweet story and the art was AMAZING but tbh the writing left something to be desired. It was clunky and awkward at times and ended up taking me out of the story more often than not. It’s a fun read and I definitely caught the feels at times, but it wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever read.
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,169 reviews98.2k followers
February 19, 2019
“I’ve hidden my love for a woman for fifty years”

Wow, I loved this second chance romance so much. It was sweet, and heartwarming, but so real, and so heartbreaking. I laughed, I cried, I wanted more. Seriously, I’m so dang happy that I picked this up.

This story is told in flashbacks from present day to 1963, where we see two young girls discovering their sexuality. Hazel is at the bingo hall when she lays eyes on the new girl, Mari, for the very first time. Both come from strict and religious homes, but Mari’s homelife is far less supportive. And because of the 60s being a product of its time, they are never allowed to be together. That is, until they meet back up at a bingo hall, fifty years later.

“Since when is it a sin to be in love?”

But both Hazel and Mari have families and are leading lives where people depend on them. But neither is truly happy, or at least they know that they could be happier, if they were willing to take a risk. This story really is about how life is short, but no matter how short it is it will always be worth listening to your heart and trying to live the life that you want to live.

I do want to touch on a few other things that I truly loved about this graphic novel. First this is ownvoices, Tee Franklin is black and queer! Next, Hazel says the word pan on page! Hazel is also plus-sized! And I really loved the normalization of talking to a psychiatrist! This story just had so much good in it, and it truly touched me so very much.

Overall, this was just exactly what I wanted. It was equal parts heartwarming and heartbreaking, and just made me really appreciate the life I am able to live in 2019. Not saying that 2019 is perfect, but it’s better than the 60s and easier to surround myself with people who love and support me. I completely recommend this graphic novel with my whole heart. The art is perfect, the story is awe-inspiring, and the characters are truly unforgettable.

Oh, and this panel? Added five years to my life:

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Content and trigger warnings for homophobia, grey area cheating, and talk of illness/loss of a loved one.

❤ I also read this for Contemporary-a-thon!
Profile Image for emma.
1,825 reviews48.4k followers
October 3, 2020

(^ me being mad at myself for saying "review to come" on a graphic novel. My full reviews have longer word counts than graphic novels. This was a nonsense choice on my part.)

This book was cute and nice but also felt very stilted and unfinished at times. It moved really quickly at some really emotionally significant things and I wish it didn't...because if you're telling me a love story that occurs over fifty years, causing marriages to end and wars to break out and what have you, I should probably believe those people are in love.

But we can't have it all.

There were also some kind of annoying editing issues, and also a part in the book where literally in the middle of a panel they're advertising another book, which is irritating. Since when do books have commercials?

But I have nice things to say to. Another nice thing is that this is beautifully illustrated.

Look! I can be friendly.

Bottom line: Good stuff! Or like pretty good. I don't know.


this felt more like reading a Twitter thread than a book...but not necessarily in a bad way?

and also the thread is beautifully illustrated in this comparison.

review to come / 3 stars


"a story of a same-sex romance that spans over 60 years"

i've always thought my heart would look better torn out of me
Profile Image for Cindy.
407 reviews112k followers
February 15, 2019
A cute, feel-good story for when you want a nice light read. While I enjoyed seeing two black, queer women fall in love and the wholesomeness depicted in the story, the pacing, time skips, conflicts, and resolutions all moved too quickly to fully immerse myself in the relationship. It feels like you're glossing over the summary of a love story rather than experiencing it.
Profile Image for Sara the Librarian.
748 reviews323 followers
April 10, 2018
I'm really torn with this one. I'm giving it 2.5 stars. The artwork is absolutely terrific and its wonderful to see such a heartfelt romance with queer characters but the story and supporting characters just don't work for me.

The concept is lovely. We meet Elle, an elderly woman living in the year 2038 who is comforting an unidentified young woman who's parents have just kicked her out of the house for being gay. To comfort this person Elle tells her own story of meeting the love of her life when she was a girl in 1963. She and her "honey glazed goddess" Mari are best friends for years before confessing their love to one another but when their parents discover their relationship they're forcibly separated and basically forced into arranged marriages unless they want to be disowned.

This is where things fall apart narratively for me. I'm totally on board with their situation and the way its portrayed. Watching their friendship grow into the bliss of first love is very sweet. Its heartbreaking and infuriating to see these two lovely women who's only crime is being in love treated so horribly by their families. But everything happens very, very, very fast and the story starts to get sloppy.

Elle marries a man (who she tells us she loves) and has three kids. She decides (without talking to her husband) that he only wants to be intimate with her to have kids so they only have sex three times in their whole marriage. This is his fault. So she lives this lie for decades before abruptly running into Mari at the same bingo game they met at years before. Then in front of her children she abruptly starts making out with Mari. When her daughter (completely justifiably) freaks the hell out Elle pulls the old "you watch who you're talking to young lady" trope out and suddenly this very nice, sympathetic character becomes very unlikable.

Just from a storytelling perspective I have issues with this. Both Elle and Mari very quickly become totally selfish people under the guise of abandoning all their responsibilities with no apparent remorse in the name of love. All it would have taken was some sense that they have some responsibility in where they've ended up. They married people with feelings and needs of their own who might have rather been married to someone who could actually love them completely rather than lying to them for a lifetime. It makes them richer, more believable and ultimately more sympathetic characters to have them confront that part of their story. Their spouses and children are just kind of universally labeled as "haters" for not immediately jumping for joy when their lives are all completely upended. Neither Mari or Elle are ever responsible for anything. It feels very false.

It all just ends up being kind of trite and like a soap opera. There's also some very, very random science fiction elements kind of shoehorned in that make literally no sense whatsoever.

I really, really wanted to like this more than I did and I greatly admire the artists for working to get a story like this out there. I just wish it wasn't ultimately so disjointed and well silly.
Profile Image for Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd).
332 reviews7,311 followers
November 1, 2019
Really wanted to like this but it was just ok. My biggest problem is honestly that it felt like a f/f story for a straight audience. The amount of time it spent emphasizing that it was ok to be queer and that love is love just annoyed me as it went on. Plus, the writing of this is somewhat amateurish. One of the daughters in particular had the most stilted dialogue, but the arguments were also mostly obnoxious and simplistic.

This gets points for being a graphic novel about queer love, particularly love between women of color. And I’m glad I got to see rep for older queer women kissing because we’re really lacking that in current fiction! But I can’t get over how much I didn’t care about this story as I was reading it.

Actual rating: 2.5/5
Profile Image for Whitney Atkinson.
916 reviews13.9k followers
July 8, 2019
Loved this book for showing the queer relationship of two women of color, not just at the time it occurs, but in the way that it affects their lives down the road and the domino effect it caused. The art was also great; simplistic but cute and really captured emotion well.

This book was just far too short and rushed for what it was trying to do. I wish the initial relationship between the two women was fleshed out because it all happened so fast and felt like instalove. The last half got better, although I was shocked to see that although the characters were elderly, they weren’t drawn any differently than they were as adolescents, except their hair got grayer. I wish the artist better portrayed their age to be more realistic. Finally, one downside to this was that TWICE in the middle of the book it said “if you want to find out more about this important scene, buy the spinoff!” and literally self-promo’ed the other book if you wanted to find out the full details of what happened, which I just thought was kinda a scam?

Although the ending of this book is literally, scene for scene, a retelling of The Notebook, I do like the story of two former lovers reconnecting and getting their loved ones to understand why they needed to be with their true loves. I only wish this were longer to draw out necessary details.
Profile Image for CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian.
1,132 reviews1,390 followers
March 3, 2019
I am sad to report that I was disappointed with this comic. The art is amazing -- beautiful colors, expressive faces, fun spreads with unicorns and kissing. But the story and characterization are just not very good. The dialogue is stilted, awkward, and inauthentic, the plot is told rather than shown and feels very amateurish.
Profile Image for disco.
562 reviews222 followers
May 9, 2018
There's a lot of diverse representation in this - I liked the queer love story between the two main characters, Hazel and Mari. Although, I felt that the writing didn't flow as well as it could have. The text felt too scripted and awkward at times.
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.3k followers
December 7, 2018
In my relentless goal to read all of the 2018 Goodreads Graphic Novel and Comics nominees, I come to the tale of two grandmothers who fell in love at a 1963 church bingo night, discontinue the relationship, got heir separate ways, and reunite 50 years later. Yes, bitter because it took that long, society being then and still now that repressive, in the main, and sweet because it finally happened. Both were forced into early marriages, ugh. Hazel was married, had kids, grandkids. There’s a second kiss Mari initiates that happens after 50 years, this one, public!

The goofy cartoony colored art style I didn't like, but you say you read for inclusion? This is a comic focused on 1) African-American 2) women 3) lesbians, 4) two of whom are grandmothers, 5) one of whom is “plus size,” 6) that focuses on history from the sixties to the present. And 7) gay love and marriage!

Maybe the kooky art makes it more for a YA audience? The story and characterizations are thin—what about that early relationship? What about Mari’s life? Who is she? What is James’s secret?!--since this is only 92 pages, but you have to give this one credit for telling an important story in an entertaining way for a general audience. I bump my 3 star rating to 4 for social significance.
Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,659 reviews5,138 followers
January 11, 2020
This was pretty cute! The artwork was adorable and so colorful and pretty, and I enjoyed the characters. The whole premise is sad, of course, but I thought things went as well as they could have until the ending. I personally didn't love the ending of the story in general, which is the only reason I couldn't bring myself to give this a full 5 stars, but I definitely still thought it was a sweet, quick read that I would highly recommend to anyone looking for romantic graphic novels (especially queer ones!).
Profile Image for Chad.
7,720 reviews868 followers
November 12, 2018
A tale of 2 black women who met as teenagers in 1963 and fell in love only to be driven apart by their families. Fifty years later, they meet again at a bingo parlor, immediately reconnecting. Now they must decide if they will pursue their love or deny it to remain with the families they've raised in the intervening years.

This will give you all the feels, maybe even make you cry a time or two. Franklin has done a great job of capturing what was at the time, a forbidden love. It's a wonderful story of love and loss. Jenn St-Onge and Joy San do a bang up job of representing different body shapes and skin colors. The art is great. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Sara ➽ Ink Is My Sword.
560 reviews419 followers
June 22, 2018
3.5 “PoC F/F LOVE” Stars

🏳️‍🌈Pride Round, GR Inspired Read-a-thon Book #1.

The story of two lovely women of color, falling in love, with lots of cute scenes and hard hitting realistic problems.

Let’s start with the things I enjoyed. I loved the concept and storyline, the way we follow the relationship through different stages in their lifetimes, being able to see the struggles our characters had to go through. Obviously, the fact that both of our main characters were PoC had me thrilled! The art was also stunning, everything was so colorful that some panels had me drooling. The author touched upon hard-hitting situations, from homophobia to Alzheimer's, which helped to bring realness. Besides, the message of how people are never too old to carry out what makes them truly happy and to be able to love whoever they want, had me very inspired. I seriously believe many people are gonna love this graphic novel, and I am so surprised it hasn’t gotten more hype.

I am grateful this graphic novel exists because it represents people of color who identify as LGBTQ who we don’t see much representation in the media. I hope some girl out there reads this and feels identified and can feel less alone.

Sadly, I couldn’t love it. There were somethings that had me feeling unsatisfied. For example, I got to connect a lot with Hazel but not as much with Mari. I would have loved to see the life Mari has in the years in between. Although I was a fan of the relationship I felt I needed more moments of them together, I just couldn’t buy it 100%. Which it could have been affected by the dialogues, they felt too written/unnatural, if that makes sense. I also think it should have started the way it finished, there was no explanation whatsoever of who was the little girl at the start and when did that happen. Perhaps a solution would have been making it longer and give more development to different scenes, instead of making it so rushed.

I do 100% recommend everyone to read it, the concept and art style is worth it. Also, it’s very quick and it’s on hoopla, so check it out.
Profile Image for Cassie.
343 reviews65 followers
February 9, 2019
oh. my. god. the tears have opened a floodgate in my eyes.

this graphic novel was absolutely everything to me. this story is so important, i want to make everyone in this entire world read it.

elle and mari are the definition of couple goals. their love for each other just added 25 years to my life. the two main characters are queer woc and are in love, but because of the world they live in they can’t be together. i loved the dialogue in this story, the way elle stood up to people and told them this is who she is and there’s nothing wrong with being queer and loving a woman.

i have no words for the absolute perfection this graphic novel is. it deserves more than 5 fricking stars. please go read this, it will make you smile and cry in the end. but trust me, it’s so worth it. you can thank me later. ☺️
Profile Image for halfirishgrin.
288 reviews177 followers
February 4, 2018
This was so freaking adorable! Plus, the art was absolutely beautiful and so colourful. I loved the two main characters - especially Hazel.

The writing was kind of awkward at times. Thee dialogue wasn't always super realistic and I wish some of the characters were developed a little better. But honestly the book was so cute I will overlook all of that.
Profile Image for mina reads™️.
529 reviews6,733 followers
April 4, 2019
3.5 stars
I really loved the artwork in this but the writing left something to be desired in my humble opinion. It was very cute, i loved alot of the scenes and the arc of the story but it was missing just a little something.
Profile Image for Kate Olson.
2,194 reviews724 followers
May 15, 2019
LOVED IT. I struggle with so many graphic texts but this one worked for me in all ways - the story, the ART 😍 I never knew I needed a story about two grandmothers in love but I DID. I really did. And the art won’t get out of my head - the depiction of voluptuous womanly bodies was so so lush and so loving.
Profile Image for Fadwa (Word Wonders).
547 reviews3,543 followers
February 26, 2022
I really loved the story and art in this one, but really disliked the way the dialogue was written, it was very awkward and stilted. But if you can deal with that, I would still encourage you to read it, it's both cute and heartwrenching.
Profile Image for ambyr.
878 reviews77 followers
December 18, 2017
The art is the best thing about this book--fluid, colorful, bold, expressive. The writing, I thought, could have used some more work; the dialogue is painfully stilted in places, and the strong opening frame story never closes, leaving the reader awkwardly hanging. But I'm glad the story exists in the world.
Profile Image for Lois .
1,760 reviews466 followers
June 25, 2018
This was truly sweet. I'm not really a fan of comics, graphic novels or anime but I was truly surprised how much I loved everything about this. I fully intend to purchase and read the other installments in this series. What a sweet and beautiful love story💗
Profile Image for Erica.
1,331 reviews435 followers
April 5, 2018

That's a depressing beginning.
2038 and parents are still kicking kids out of their homes because of whom the kids love.
Is there no hope?

I think that's one of the reasons for this book - there is hope!
If that's what you're looking for, you may find it in this book.

As you can see by the cover, this is full of delightful pictures.
You can also tell that it touches on several topics: Women of color in love with each other from childhood on into their retirement years.

This is a necessary story.
And it's obviously a wanted story - it was backed in 5 days on Kickstarter and got nearly 3 times the goal amount.

I am not the intended audience and, as such, my review is based on my readerly reactions, not any emotional attachment to the contents.

The writing is not strong. We follow Hazel Johnson's journey from a love-struck 13-year-old to a grown woman who puts herself aside for her husband and family to her reconnection with the love of her life in her later years. Without the illustrations, though, we would have no idea what Hazel is feeling, despite her mechanical explanations of emotions. It’s clunky with herky dialogue and jerky pacing. It’s almost clinical in the way it does not allow for character-building. It relies too heavily on clichés - the oppressive 1960's grandmothers, tense mother/daughter relationships, the role of grandchildren in the lives of people who were repressed by their elders.

Still, I recommend this.
It highlights women of color, same-sex relationships and some of the struggles surrounding people in said relationships, romantic relationships for people in their later years, and, somewhat surprisingly, end of life care. There's even some pictorial commentary on breastfeeding.
The story has a solid premise and the illustrations are worth the price of entry.

Toward the end, there's an editor's note in one of the panels that says Find out what James was hiding in Bingo Love: Secrets by Shawn Pryor and DJ Kirkland, a digital release.
When I went looking for it, I found a March 16, 2018 update on the Kickstarter page that says Howdy folks.
I’m very sorry to share with you some news from DJ Kirkland. Unfortunately due to unforeseen scheduling conflicts, he will be unable to continue and complete the free bonus Bingo Love story entitled Secrets.
Writer Shawn Pryor, myself, DJ, and the Bingo Love team were extremely excited to share the story of James’ secret with you all, but alas DJ won’t be able to work his magic. Shawn and I hope it can still be brought to life in the future, as it is a beautiful, touching and caring story written by Shawn.
Profile Image for — nova.
442 reviews323 followers
September 22, 2018
I almost bought this a couple weeks ago, but I’m glad I decided to check it out from the library instead because this was a total letdown.

The concept was great and I think it had a lot of potential but everything felt so rushed. I couldn’t connect to any of the characters. The dialogue felt cheesy and flat to me. I wish the author had drawn it out more and really fleshed out the characters.

On the plus side, the art was great.

The worst part is, this could’ve been so cute and sweet. Ugh I’m just so disappointed.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,811 reviews

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