One of FORBES Best Graphic Novels of 2019
On BCCB 2019 Blue Ribbons List
One of NPR's Best Books of 2019
Booklist 2019 Editors' Choice
One of Bitch Media’s Best Queer YA Novels of 2019
Author Mariko Tamaki and illustrator Rosemary Valero-O’Connell bring to life a sweet and spirited tale of young love in Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me, a graphic novel that asks us to consider what happens when we ditch the toxic relationships we crave to embrace the healthy ones we need.
Laura Dean, the most popular girl in high school, was Frederica Riley's dream girl: charming, confident, and SO cute. There's just one problem: Laura Dean is maybe not the greatest girlfriend.
Reeling from her latest break up, Freddy's best friend, Doodle, introduces her to the Seek-Her, a mysterious medium, who leaves Freddy some cryptic parting words: break up with her. But Laura Dean keeps coming back, and as their relationship spirals further out of her control, Freddy has to wonder if it's really Laura Dean that's the problem. Maybe it's Freddy, who is rapidly losing her friends, including Doodle, who needs her now more than ever.
Fortunately for Freddy, there are new friends, and the insight of advice columnists like Anna Vice to help her through being a teenager in love.
Laura Dean is a terrible girlfriend. Self-absorbed and careless, she breaks up with Frederica, 16, for the fourth time, via text message after being caught cheating at a school dance. But Freddy loves Laura Dean, and they're soon back together sort of though Freddy's relationship myopia renders her isolated and dismissive of her friends, all of whom are struggling with their own issues. A medium tells Freddy to call the relationship quits, but she has no idea how to stop perpetuating her part of the cycle. Bold, clean lines and pink highlights characterize rich art by Valero-O'Connell (the Lumberjanes/Gotham Academy series) as panels breathily dense with the personal details of the characters' lives morph to suit each meaningful scene. A largely queer and physically and ethnically diverse cast inhabits this vision of teenage Berkeley, and the high school specific mixture of self-possession and cluelessness with which Tamaki (This One Summer) imbues them lends depth and individuation. This exploration of toxic relationships and social dynamics at the cusp of adulthood is, like its cast, sharp and dazzling. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 14 up.
It was a worthwhile read and kept me engrossed until the very end.