About the Book

Title: Teen Titans: Raven (Teen Titans #1)
Published: 2019
Series: Teen Titans
Swoonworthy Scale: 7

Cover Story: Emo Chick
BFF Charm: Heck Yes
Talky Talk: Meet Cute
Arty Art: Fan-tastic
Bonus Factors: Series Starter, Voodoo
Anti-Bonus Factor: Betrayal?
Relationship Status: I’ll Be Your Janine

Cover Story: Emo Chick

This depiction of Raven is pretty spot-on: She’s a young woman with a lot on her mind. It’s a lovely rendering, and I love the small additions of the feather elements in her hair.

The Deal:

Rachel Roth’s friends call her Raven—or, at least, that’s what she’s heard. Raven doesn’t remember much since the car accident in which her foster mother died, but she’s trying to get back some semblance of a normal life. Being able to hear thoughts and sense emotions, however, plus the fact that she seems to be able to cause people to do things just by thinking of them, isn’t really helping.

BFF Charm: Heck Yes

BFF Charm Heck Yes - sparklier and shinier than the original BFF Charm

Although Raven likes to act standoffish, and her empathic abilities make her want to avoid people and their loud thoughts, she’s a really lovely person underneath all the bristle—even if she can’t remember her true self. And when her secrets out, and she realizes who she really is, she’s even better. Powerful, self-confident, and caring. Exactly the qualities I look for in a friend.

Swoonworthy Scale: 7

When Raven meets Tommy Torres, she’s immediately interested, but tries to keep him at an arm’s length. Tries being the operative word. But Raven’s not the only one with secrets …

Talky Talk: Meet Cute

Like all of DC’s other forays into YA, Teen Titans: Raven is a new teenage origin story for a character who’s familiar to comic and cartoon fans. I know Raven from Teen Titans Go!, a super goofy cartoon (but not that cartoon), and so I knew a little about her story before diving into the book. But Garcia’s written a compelling and fresh version of Raven’s backstory, and I loved getting to read about her on her own, separate from her team.

The book is also delightfully feminist and inclusive, with ladies being the badasses who save the day and a variety of diversity—race, sexuality, physical ability—included in the story.

Arty Art: Fan-tastic

Gabriel Picolo is well known in fan circles for his art, specifically his fan art featuring the members of the Teen Titans. So he was the perfect pick to illustrate this book, and he does a brilliant job at bringing this version of Raven to life. He leans heavily on purples and blacks (two of Raven’s traditional colors), but includes a few other colors to emphasize certain panels or pages. His art is dramatic without being overly moody and looks like it belongs on the CW (i.e., everyone’s attractive).

Bonus Factor: Series Starter

Stack of YA book series

Teen Titans: Raven is the first in a series by Garcia and Picolo that will eventually introduce all of the Titans and maybe explain how they become a team. I’m looking forward to the rest of the books!

Bonus Factor: Voodoo

Raven’s new family lives in New Orleans, and voodoo is a big part of their lives. Although the book doesn’t go too deeply into the practice, it’s a nice added element to Raven’s story, and fits nicely with her truths.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Betrayal?

Cropped section of Vincenzo Camuccini's The Death of Julius Caesar, Julius being stabbed by Brutus and his followers

I can’t say much without spoiling a major plot point, but it’s not a nice thing [REDACTED] does to {REDACTED}, but there’s maybe a reason for it that makes it somewhat OK?

Relationship Status: I’ll Be Your Janine

I’m no superhero, Book, but I think I’d be useful to your team, when you eventually find each other. Until then, I’m happy to answer the phones, do the books—whatever behind the scenes things you need me to do so that you can focus on saving the day, I’m good with.

Literary Matchmaking

Mera: Tidebreaker

For more original origin stories, check out the first in DC’s YA books: Mera: Tidebreaker by Danielle Paige and Stephen Byrne.

Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale

Follow that up with Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale by Lauren Myracle and Isaac Goodhart.

Supergirl: Being Super

And for another fun DC superheroine story, check out Mariko Tamaki and Joëlle Jones’s Supergirl: Being Super.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from DC Ink, but got neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. Teen Titans: Raven is available now.

Mandy (she/her) is a manager at a tech company who lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, son, and dogs. She loves superheroes and pretty much any show or movie with “Star” in the name.