Pillow Talk

Pillow Talk
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Age Range
Release Date
April 30, 2024
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When college freshman Grace Mendes reluctantly attends her first pillow fight match, she falls in love with the surprisingly gritty sport.

Despite her usually shy, introverted, and reserved nature, Grace decides to try out for the Pillow Fight Federation (PFF), a locally famous league of fighters with larger-than-life personas like Pain Eyre, Miss Fortune, and champion Kat Atonic. They may battle with pillows, but there is nothing soft about these fighters. The first and only rule to pillow fighting is that the pillow needs to be the first point of contact; after that, everything else goes.

Grace struggles with deep-seated body image issues, so she is especially shocked when she makes the competitive league and is welcomed into the fold of close knit, confident fighters. As her first official fight performing as newly crafted alter-ego/ring persona Cinderhella looms on the horizon, the real battle taking place is between Grace and her growing insecurities. What if people laugh or make fun of her? Why did she think she could pillow fight in the first place when she doesn’t look like your “typical” athlete?

Turns out, no one is laughing when Cinderhella dominates her first match in the ring. And as her alter-ego rises through the ranks of the PFF, gaining traction and online fame (and online trolls), can Grace use the spotlight to become an icon for not just others, but most importantly, for herself?

Pillow Talk is an inclusive, high-octane, outrageously fun graphic novel that aims a punch at the impossibly high standards set for women in sports (and otherwise) and champions the power of finding a team that will, quite literally, fight for you. A knock-out! 

Editor review

1 review
A Fun, Silly, Sporty Graphic Novel
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Pillow Talk is a graphic novel that follows Grace Mendes as she joins The Pillow Fight Federation. Grace Mendes struggles with body image issues and is shy, introverted, and reserved yet her persona in the ring, Cinderhella, is confident and strong. Grace has a bit of a battle to overcome with herself though as her insecurities threaten to get the best of her when she encounters some trolls on the internet. Through this book, Grace learns about the importance of leaning on others and allowing them to help you see yourself the way that they do.

What I Like:

I’ll be honest, when I first opened this book I was a little wary that it was comedic and there would be nothing beyond that. I had a hard time acknowledging pillow fighting as a sport and seeing it as anything more than a game children play which is the point of this book. The author wants to change your view on pillow fighting and provides commentary throughout this book on how pillow fighting was viewed as “sexy” and not a real sport. To me, this commentary is something that can be taken into other women’s sports and is something you often hear when women are competing.

This book tackles a few difficult topics, such as self-esteem, queerness, body image, and the effect of social media. There is a scene in which Grace is giving herself a negative speech in the bathroom mirror and you catch a glimpse of the criticism she provides herself due to other's words. This moment was relatable and I find that this is something many teenagers will recognize as conversations they've had with themselves.

Grace’s stance on “ugly” people being used to portray villains was something that stuck with me. This was a small piece of the story but part of a larger conversation that is currently taking place in media spaces. I enjoyed her bringing light to this problem by sharing her feelings about being a heel vs a hero, and how Callie teaches her to reclaim this for herself.

What left me wanting more:

The ending left me a bit confused and wanting more of a closing. I liked that we see that Grace has now stepped out of her comfort zone to embrace this new part of herself. Grace has now taken it upon herself to show Callie how to try something new that scares her. While I did like seeing that dichotomy, I wanted to see more of the team in the end and see how that all wrapped up.

There were moments I thought the story was moving along rather quickly. The minute that Grace gets accepted onto the team and then gets to join the headliners felt rushed. I wanted to spend more time getting to celebrate those moments and see more of her feelings throughout those scenes.

There was also a moment that the writing style seemed to shift and have a lot more going on in the text bubbles. The colors also shifted to make this section feel like a short and not part of the storyline. I would’ve liked to see Grace experimenting with makeup and the conversation she has with Callie due to this more integrated into the story.

Final Verdict:
Pillow Talk is a quick-paced graphic novel tackling important topics affecting young adults in the modern world. This book offers great commentary on body image issues, social media, and women’s sports.
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