From this graphic novel I have learned that I should not request graphic novel ARCs from NetGalley. I have to read them on my laptop, which is not great for such a visual medium. This particular ARC had watermarks over the pages which made them even harder to read. I did receive this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. You should take my review with a grain of salt, because there were things working against my experience which you would not have if you bought the graphic novel in hard copy.
Yarrow is a young chef determined to make her mark on the cutting edge of cookery with her insect-based creations. Though her enthusiasm is infectious, it rubs some of her fellow cooks the wrong way, especially Chanda Flores, Yarrow’s personal hero and executive chef of an exciting new restaurant. Her people have been eating bugs for centuries, and she’s deeply suspicious of this newbie’s attempt to turn her traditions into the next foodie trend. While Chanda and her scrappy team of talented devotees struggle to open on time, Yarrow must win over Chanda — and Milani, the neighbor she’s been crushing on for weeks — or lose this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to achieve her dreams.
Setting aside my frustrations with the experience of reading a graphic novel on a mid-range laptop, Meal has a sweet story and addresses some important issues. Meal tackles large issues like the potential for insects to be a more sustainable source of protein, the cultural history of entomophagy (eating insects), cultural appropriation, self confidence and communication.
So much of the reading experience of graphic novels is the art, and I had a hard time seeing the art through the poor resolution and the watermarks across every page. The image I posted above is not from the ARC I received, but from a Google image search. I would have enjoyed the book more if every page I had seen had been as crisp.
I like the concept and at points I was able to become engaged in the story even with the visual frustration. So, if you are interested in reading about a young chef and her dream to bring delicious insect dishes to the community, you should go get this book. There are recipes at the back, too.