Always Human

Always Human : A Graphic Novel (Always Human, #1)

4.26 (3,048 ratings by Goodreads)
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"This beautifully illustrated slice-of-life tale that shows two young women of color getting to know each other and creating a relationship is so warm and charming that readers will hardly notice how much they are learning about how to better interact with folx who are different from themselves and the importance of not making assumptions." -- Kirkus Reviews

"...soft, expressive art adds a visceral charge to the couple's very human experiences, which range from excitement and affection to pain and doubt." -- Publisher's Weekly

"This wholesome plot focuses on building understanding, offering mutual support, and budding self-acceptance, as well as the importance of asking rather than making assumptions; avoiding othering; and regarding all those in one's orbit with compassion...A charming, sensitive story of love and acceptance." --School Library Journal

" In a technologically advanced near future, two young women bumble through their first dates and fights together as they enjoy the exhilaration of new love....Always Human by Ari North is an endearingly feel-good sapphic romance set against a diverting futuristic backdrop." --Samantha Zaboski, Shelf Awareness

First serialized on the popular app and website WebToon, Always Human ran from 2015-2017 and amassed over 76,000 unique subscribers during its run. Now reformatted for a print edition in sponsorship with GLAAD, Always Human is a beautifully drawn graphic novel about a developing relationship between two young women in a near-future, soft sci-fi setting. Always Human is drawn in a manga-influenced style and with an incredible color palette that leaps off the page!

In the near-future, people use technology to give the illusion of all kinds of body modifications-but some people have "Egan's Syndrome," a highly sensitive immune system that rejects these "mods" and are unable to use them. Those who are affected maintain a "natural" appearance, reliant on cosmetics and hair dye at most to help them play with their looks.

Sunati is attracted to Austen the first time she sees her and is drawn to what she assumes is Austen's bravery and confidence to live life unmodded. When Sunati learns the truth, she's still attracted to Austen and asks her on a date. Gradually, their relationship unfolds as they deal with friends, family, and the emotional conflicts that come with every romance. Together, they will learn and grow in a story that reminds us no matter how technology evolves, we will remain . . . always human.

Rendered in beautiful detail and an extraordinary color palette, Always Human is a sweet love story told in a gentle sci-fi setting by a queer woman cartoonist, Ari North.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 160 x 221 x 20mm | 635g
  • English
  • Co-Edition
  • Illustrations, unspecified
  • 1499811101
  • 9781499811100
  • 71,971

Review quote

First serialized on Webtoon and now published in partnership with GLAAD, Always Human by Ari North is a sweet sci-fi romance about two young women who learn that imperfections contribute to beautifully uncommon personalities.
Sunati first admires Austen at the train station because the young woman is not using mods to change her appearance. Sunati assumes this is because Austen is "brave" enough to be herself. When Sunati finally gathers the courage to talk to Austen, she learns Austen's overactive immune system rejects mods. Still convinced of Austen's courage, Sunati talks her into dating. As their love blooms across cute dates, both mess up. "Incurably honest" Sunati trips over compliments that offend Austen, while quick-tempered Austen assumes Sunati likes an illusion of her: "I can't live up to the pedestal you've put me on." Together, they realize even the most magnetic relationships require hard work.
North nails new love: the nerves ("My heart is too loud. And my head is too empty") that transition to excitement, the amorous teasing and the gushy fawning ("When I see you, the universe comes into focus"). She illustrates how infuriating medical challenges can be and the ways well-meaning assistance can hurt. Using her bright manga art style, she creates characters who exude emotion, while her ethereal, accessible tech world should charm any reader. Further LGBTQIAP+ representation adds refreshing diversity to the couple's social circles. Above all, North's ebullient characters demonstrate that loving someone means more than accepting their differences--it means forgiving their mistakes. Always Human by Ari North is an endearingly feel-good sapphic romance set against a diverting futuristic backdrop.
Discover: In a technologically advanced near future, two young women bumble through their first dates and fights together as they enjoy the exhilaration of new love.--Samantha Zaboski "Shelf Awareness"
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About Ari North

Ari North is a queer cartoonist who believes an entertaining story should also be full of diversity and inclusion. As a writer, an artist, and a musician, she wrote, drew, and composed the music for Always Human, a complete romance/sci-fi webcomic about two queer girls navigating maturity and finding happiness. She's currently working on a second webcomic, Aerial Magic, which is about the everyday lives of the witches who work at a broomstick repair shop. She lives in Australia with her husband.
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Rating details

3,048 ratings
4.26 out of 5 stars
5 48% (1,472)
4 34% (1,029)
3 15% (446)
2 3% (82)
1 1% (19)
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