Unearthed: A Jessica Cruz Story – Review + GIVEAWAY

Unearthed is the first graphic novel from acclaimed YA author Lilliam Rivera (Never Look Back) and rising illustrator Steph C., featuring a reimagined origin for Jessica Cruz, one of DC’s brightest young stars. As her home of Coast City is plagued by rising xenophobia, Jessica must navigate the challenges of life as a DREAMer in this honest and emotional exploration of the immigrant experience in America. Through Jessica’s bravery and determination, Rivera and C. show readers that even without a power ring, the best among us can be heroes when called upon.

Jessica Cruz has done everything right. She’s a dedicated student, popular among her classmates, and has a loving family that has done everything they can to give her a better life in the United States. While Jessica is a part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, allowing her to go to school and live in the U.S., her parents are undocumented. Jessica usually worries about her parents, but her fears and anxiety escalate as a mayoral candidate with a strong anti-immigration stance runs for office. As the xenophobia in Coast City increases, Jessica begins to debate whether it’s worth renewing her status to stay in the U.S., or if her family would be safer and better off moving back to Mexico. And despite her attempts to lean on her friends and family, she finds herself constantly visited by visions of Aztec gods, one pulling her towards hope and the other towards anger. But when her father is detained by I.C.E., Jessica finds herself being pulled into an abyss of fear. With her father gone and feeling helpless, Jessica must find her way out of her fears and ultimately become a voice for her community.


Let me start off this review by telling you all that this is a remarkable comic with beautiful illustrations representing Latinx communities.

Unearthed is not only a story of an everyday teenager doing her best with friends that love her, it’s also a story of immigration and how Jessica will question her role in a sometimes unforgiving and harsh world while trying to keep her family together.

She watches a family member be taken by I.C.E, which causes Jessica to become scared, angry, and unsure of herself and her place; often times expressing feelings of going back to Mexico. Her personal growth is so inspiring to watch as we see her explore a range of feelings. Through the support of her community, her friends, and her family, she finds her voice. She also has visions of Aztec Gods that begin to sway her emotions, as well as finding that glowing green ring….

This was a heart-wrenching representation of what Latinx people go through in this country. It shows me that there is so much more work to do. I really loved the unique retelling, even though it hurt.


In collaboration with DC Comics, I will be giving away TWO finished copies of Unearthed: A Jessica Cruz Story! In order to win, leave a comment on the Instagram post that will be up over on SubtleBookish. The giveaway will run till September 30th at midnight. I will be selecting the winners via a random generator and once I have contacted them both, I will send over their addresses to DC Comics who will then send out the book to the winner.  


Unearthed: A Jessica Cruz Story by Lilliam Rivera with art by Steph C.
Genre: Sequential Art > Comics
Publishing Date: September 14, 2021 by DC Comics

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