Don’t have time to read the entire review? That’s okay! Scroll down to the very end for a TL;DR.
It’s not your typical family vacation when Olive, and her adopted siblings Darwin and Charlotte find themselves falling into other worlds as they explore Grandma Lupé’s strange hotel.
OPEN THE DOOR. ADVENTURE AWAITS.
Olive and her adopted siblings Charlotte and Darwin are spending the summer with their estranged grandma at her creepy hotel and it’s all work and no play. They’re stuck inside doing boring chores but they soon stumble upon an incredible secret… Behind each room door of the hotel lies a portal to a different strange and mysterious place. The simple turn of a knob transports them to a distant magical world filled with space pirates. Behind the next door are bearded wizards. Down the hall is a doorway to a cotton-candied kingdom. But once the doors are opened, worlds start colliding, and only one family can save them before they tear themselves apart.
Written by Terry Blas (The Amazing World of Gumball) and illustrated by the talented Claudia Aguirre (Kim & Kim), this world-hopping fantasy tale breaks down the door to imagination and dares you to embrace the idea that family is everything.
Hotel Dare was definitely not like the typical graphic novel I read and I’m so glad I gave it a chance! Terry Blas and Claudia Aguirre gave us such a diverse cast of truly likable people. We saw characters that were Latinx, queer, and one that was adopted. Each person had a specific struggle that was unique to them and I loved that I was able to see them all learn and grow throughout the story.
One of the things that really impressed me with Hotel Dare was how well the world was developed. Coming in at less than 150 pages this is a pretty short story, but the authors managed to develop their fantasy worlds perfectly without it ever feeling like an info dump. Each location was unique and had it’s own characteristics and characters which is hugely important.
The only thing I wasn’t a huge fan of was at times the story was convoluted. There were points when I would be so confused by how we were getting from point A to point B, it’s almost like there were weird passages of time maybe that I just wasn’t following. And honestly this could absolutely be a just me problem; I have a hard time following things that aren’t explicitly direct and to the point. I did actually read some other reviews of this on Goodreads to see if anybody else had mentioned it and, at least at the time that I wrote this review, nobody had.
Claudia Aguirre’s art was to die for and so perfect for the story that Terry Blas came up with. The two worked so well together and it really shows within these pages. Hotel Dare is absolutely worth your time whether world hopping comics are your thing or not. There was a little bit in here for everybody and I loved that.
TL;DR: A great graphic novel about the meaning of family with a widely diverse set of characters.
A digital ARC was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.