always human by ari north

Name: Britney

Grade: 12th

Title: Always Human

Author: Ari North

Published in: 2022

Pages: 256

Rating: 5 stars

What if you could buy body mods that change your appearance or improve health with technology? That’s what exists in this futuristic sci-fi world that “Always Human” by Ari North takes place in. Sunati loves to constantly change her looks as a form of expressing herself. She notices how a girl named Austen seems to always stay natural. She finds out that Austen has “Egan’s Syndrome”, where the immune system rejects modifications. Sunati begins to fall for Austen and over time they become closer. Austen initially worried that Sunati only sees her bravery with the syndrome and nothing more. Various emotional conflicts challenge the strength of their relationship. Over time they learn and grow with each other in this heartwarming comic that shows how they’re still human with flaws and unique beauty under any alterations. 

I loved every aspect of this comic, ranging from its stunning bright ethereal art to the intimate conversations between different characters. It’s been my third time rereading it and it still remains so sweet and emotional. There’s so much diversity included in this story. Queer women like Sunati and Austen are represented well, along with other complex characters varying in gender identity, race, and sexualities. Their stories are down to earth and can be relatable to other youth growing up. The comic acknowledges how important communication is in a healthy relationship and how they can be complicated. And that people can learn to understand each other’s differences when navigating through life. It also highlights how other relationships, besides romance, like friends and family are important parts of living too. All while incorporating funny and adorable dialogue at various points.  

I would definitely recommend this comic to anyone! Especially people who like sci-fi, romance, slice of life, or just want a pretty quick read. There’s also a free online platform called  “WEBTOON” that you can read the webcomic on. That version plays background music relating to the story while you read, which I think is super cool. It’s been one of my top favorite comics for a while and the art style is so comforting with its colorful aura. This graphic novel follows the first volume of the full story. I definitely recommended reading the sequel to this book as it follows the second half if you like it.

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