Grace Mendes a.k.a. Cinderhella is a fierce competitor in the PFF, a pillow fight federation that’s part roller derby, part professional wrestling. But in this fresh, coming-of-age YA graphic novel, Grace needs to learn to overcome her biggest enemy: herself. For fans of Check, Please and Bloom.
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!
Stephanie Cooke is an award-winning writer and editor based out of Toronto, Canada. She’s an avid reader, gamer, movie watcher, and lover of puns. Oh My Gods! and ParaNorthern are out now. Her next middle-grade series, Racc Pack will be out in Fall 2023. Pillow Talk is her debut YA graphic novel.
Mel Valentine Vargas is a Miami born, Chicago based, Latinx comic creator and illustrator. They work largely with digital media and have a BA in illustration from Columbia College Chicago. Mel loves drawing minorities and art that their younger self needed while growing up, including hispanic main characters, non-binary characters, and bodies of all shapes. Their work is largely inspired by LGBT, POC, and fem experiences, and is focused in graphic storytelling with themes that help highlight minority lifestyles. It is Mel's goal to ensure that their illustrations help people who are not often represented feel a little less alone and a lot more love.