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3.63  ·  Rating details ·  190 ratings  ·  57 reviews
Forward is a life-affirming LGBTQ graphic novel about two women, both of whom are unable to move "forward" and put the pieces of their lives back together. Still smarting years after a horrible breakup, Rayanne diligently buries herself in her work. Aside from work, she has her cat. And other than her cat, she has her crushes: crushes that she prides herself on being able ...more
Paperback, 198 pages
Published April 17th 2018 by Arsenal Pulp Press
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Average rating 3.63  · 
Rating details
 ·  190 ratings  ·  57 reviews

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Dave Schaafsma
Jul 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ach, I reviewed this here and must have lost it. This is a first graphic novel by Canadian Lisa Maas telling two separate stories of middle-aged women, lesbians, one of whom had a bad break-up as many as eight years ago, and another whose wife died only last year. The colors are lovely, pastel, muted, as is in a sense the story itself, as both women are middle-class, working, not very "forward" with respect to beginning new relationships, so "muted," but at some point they do actually meet. They ...more
Julie Ehlers
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a very, very sweet and likable story of two women meeting and trying to decide whether they want to have a romantic relationship: One wants something serious; the other is a widow who doesn't feel ready for anything except casual dating. There's nothing too groundbreaking about the plot, but I'm sure there will be people who can relate to the characters, and it was most definitely a fun way to spend a few hours. ...more
A great graphic novel! It felt very authentic to white west coast middle age lesbian culture in a way I think only an author representing their own culture can be. It's about two women both trying to move forward in their lives (one from the death of her wife, the other from a self-imposed exile from dating after a bad relationship). It was a bit sad, but also sexy and hopeful. It made me nostalgic for when I lived in Victoria (where it's set) and also for when I was a part of that culture (I gu ...more
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
(3.5) A really sweet book; essentially a lesbian romance in graphic novel form. This reminded me a lot of Alison Bechdel’s Dykes to Watch Out For series: you sort of have to suspend your disbelief about almost every character (including the secretary, the barista, and so on) being lesbian. Two women in Victoria, BC are fresh out of long-term relationships, Rayanne after a bad breakup and Ali after her wife’s death from cancer (based on the author’s own story: her wife died in 2013). They think t ...more
Rod Brown
Aug 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Two middle-aged Canadian women are each dealing with heartbreak; one has had a bad breakup and the other is mourning her dead wife. Initially strangers in separate storylines where they are both stuck gazing into the past, things start to converge in this simple but pleasant tale of people finding their way, um, forward.

The art, writing and lettering aren't exactly polished, but there is a lot of heart and earnestness in the storytelling.

Frequently my LGBTQ reading seems to focus on teenage com
Jocelyn H
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
I loved this! Graphic novel about two women, one feeling stuck years after getting out of a horrible relationship, the other, overcome by grief after the death of her wife. This book is sweet and sad and hopeful. Both women are complicated and a bit of a mess, and things happen between them very gradually. It feels real (and also kind of hot). Takes place in Victoria, BC.
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The introduction tells us that the characters in this graphic novel, Forward, were drawn directly from author Maas and her friends. That authenticity means there is no melodrama, no gimmicks, and instead just a straight-forward story of two middle age women dealing with the end of their longer term relationships. The art is detailed but admittedly it did get to be difficult telling the characters apart. There are only
Dakota Morgan
May 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
Forward is a tender-hearted lesbian love story that unfortunately gets off on entirely the wrong foot. We're first introduced to Rayanne, a busy career-woman with a seemingly endless supply of friends who ceaselessly belittle her for not being in a relationship. It's awful! Just when you're thinking, "how could this possibly be an interesting character," Ali comes onto the scene. She's more complex - her wife recently passed away and she's just starting to consider dating again.

Rayanne and Ali's
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A sweet and poignant look at just how friggin’ hard it is to start over. Rayanne had a terrible relationship four years ago, and now spends all her time working and resisting crushes. Ali’s wife died 10 months ago, and she’s not ready to move on, and she doesn’t think she should be. This book made me smile and laugh, but it also made me sad and tear up a bit. Ali’s grief and her attempts to navigate it are both empowering and heartbreaking, and were therefore more resonant. Maas’ watercolor art ...more
Maggie Gordon
Forward is one of those books that I wasn't too enthralled by (I'm just not a romance reader), but I am so glad it exists. It's a love story about older lesbians, both learning to reach out and connect with others after a death and abuse respectively. It's a slow burn that's sweet and real about ladies who love ladies that are far past the young and hot club scene. Definitely one to read if you're into the more romantic side of slice-of-life and just craving graphic novels where the main charact ...more
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Found this book quite difficult to judge, as so much of it relied upon quiet, introspective glimpses into the lives of two women, and I really, really didn’t like the drawing style. It did do a good job delving into their pasts and issues, but half the time I thought our MCs were in their 60s. I probably would have enjoyed their story more had it been a novel.
Ije the Devourer of Books
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Two women who need to move forward. Ali is grieving after her wife dies from cancer. She was the love of Ali's life and now it is over. Rayanne has been married to her work for years. She is still hiding after the demise of a really terrible relationship that lasted far too long. Rayanne wants something more, she wants a relationship but first she has to take those steps forward.

When both women eventually meet up, moving forward is just not as easy as it seems because each woman wants something
Ben Truong
Jun 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Forward is a graphic novel written and illustrated by Lisa Maas. It is a gentle and heartwarming graphic novel that explores finding love after loss in the lesbian scene of Victoria, Canada.

Rayanne hasn't dated since a bad breakup four years earlier. She claims to a friend that it's because she's too busy with work, only to slip into a sexy fantasy inspired by a women she spots on the street. Ali is still grieving the death of her wife, Liv, ten months prior. A supportive friend sets her up with
Nat Hookway
It’s more like 2.5 stars. I enjoyed it. It was a lesbian rom com in graphic novel form. As I’m not a huge fan of rom coms or romance It has to be incredible for me to rate it highly. But It entertained me on the subway and for my morning coffee this morning :-)
Amanda [Novel Addiction]
This was good, but it just felt like there was something missing.
Jul 24, 2018 rated it liked it
A quiet piece of comic awesomeness following two women as they seek to make romantic connections again even though they have every reason to never want to date again. It's delicate and funny and very real. ...more
"So tell us . . . What's she like, this potential trainwreck victim of yours?"

Goodness. Everyone is such a disaster in this book. But even disasters deserve a shot at something good, something genuine, and something real. Right?

Then again, perhaps the exhausted, inarticulate, age-appropriate trainwreck conglomeration that lies ahead is more real than one should care to admit. FORWARD is the magnified profile of a half-dozen middle-aged lesbians and their assorted emotional tumult. The graphic no
Michelle Mallette
May 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
See my full review at

This raw and touching story of grief, loss and apprehension finds the perfect home in the graphic novel format. Rayanne and Ali, forty-something lesbians living in Victoria, are both alone and determined to keep it that way. Rayanne is still hurting from a bad relationship that ended, not of her choice, several years ago. She has crushes and fantasies, sure, but she ignores them, creating a brittle shell around her heart. Ali is still
Overall, it's refreshing to see a love story (or a shot-at-love story) based in the LGBTQ community that plays it full on with all the "um"s and "oops"es and "maybe I shouldn't have"s. Life is messy and awkward, love is ill-timed and weird, sometimes worth the chance, sometimes better passed up.

FORWARD definitely gives a number of scenarios through the eyes of its two main characters who are in different places but equally stumped by how to fit their feelings into the right relationship box. Ra
Christina B.
Jan 18, 2021 rated it really liked it
📕Spoiler Free Book Review📕

⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 (3.5 rounded up)

Forward is a graphic novel about two women trying to navigate through life, and love. Rayanne lost her self-confidence after a former girlfriend ended their tumultuous relationship. In the years since, Ray has thrown herself into her work and the only romance she’s allowed has been in her mind. Ali is a widow, and while she’s ready to move on with her body, her heart is off limits🔒

This is such a sweet story, full of awkwardness, and hope. The
Mar 04, 2019 rated it liked it
What I really loved about this book:
- Such a genuine and vulnerable story about two women both healing from heartbreak and both trying to move forward. It is so real and emotionally raw at times.
- The plot is great, the writing is beautiful, dialogues are smart and witty, and heartfelt at times. The ending felt like a perfect conclusion to the story. There is resolution, character development, and space open for imagination. The whole story read like a romantic movie and I'm a sucker for a goo
Jan 17, 2020 rated it liked it
The characters looked too much alike, and it got confusing. I thought the widow was only 25 years old and then had to go back a few pages and re-read once I realized that it was actually the other woman she was talking to who was 25. It felt unrealistic to me how much everyone seemed to be meddling in their friends (and coworkers'!) dating lives. Also I'm in a mood to feel frustrated at the inevitability of the relationship, I mean the fact that two characters can keep having missteps and miscom ...more
Kate Atherton
The story kept me interested ; the author did a good job of developing two very different characters with different situations simultaneously with out it being too Hallmark movie obvious dialogue. There were of course the "When are you gonna get over her?" "Why don't you put yourself out there?" best-friend-y lines throughout but I feel as if I got fully fleshed out characters, leads, to follow and root for. ...more
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
As a story this was wonderful. It was realistic and a reflection of real thoughts, emotions, and desires. The only minor issue I had with it was that many of characters all looked alike with the same facial expressions and similar short hair so at times I couldn't immediately figure out who was who. But I got over it. ...more
Jun 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Sort of a sweet rom-angst (as opposed to a rom-com). Enjoyable, but thought the romance happened too fast for me (or the characters) to be really invested in the relationship. Also, drawing a bunch of short-haired lesbians in a similar style makes then a little tough to differentiate. But sweet portrait of grief and moving forward. Good double entendre with moving forward/being forward.
Oct 28, 2020 rated it liked it
I liked the trueness of this graphic novel; the grief and confusion felt so real. Also, a lot of lesbians not knowing how to figure out feelings which is very much a mood. But I didn't love the art style and I think the story would have been better if it had been deeper and longer with more developed side characters. ...more
Apr 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics, lgbtq
A gentle and emotional romance of three parts. Rayanne hasn't dated for many years since a bad breakup. Ali is still healing after the death of her wife. Both women have too much baggage, but meet just as each of them is yearning for a second chance. ...more
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
How do you move forward after your life partner has died? How do you move forward after a difficult breakup? FORWARD examines the challenges of moving forward with life in a graphic novel that captures the sadness and confusion that comes with the territory. I loved it.
Jean Ramsay
Aug 20, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2018
The only thing this book did for me was remind me that even though I'm a lesbian I don't look like a lesbian, I don't act like a lesbian, and lesbians judge me for that. Fuck the judgemental lesbian 'community' for only accepting one version of a gay woman and rejecting all others. ...more
Dec 13, 2018 rated it liked it
On the one hand, I really didn't like the artwork. (I appreciate the author doing this in watercolor, but several of the characters looked alike and it was a struggle for me to keep track of everyone. Also -- maybe this is just me -- I felt like because the characters are older, they weren't drawn to be attractive. To each their own, and maybe it's just the fault of the medium, but I really feel like if the art had been improved I would've been significantly more emotionally invested in this sto ...more
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