October is LGBT History Month, so for our October meet up, we’re reading the queer YA graphic novel Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me by Mariko Tamaki, Rosemary Valero-O’Connell (Illustrator). We’ll be back in the game room at Riggs on Saturday, October 12 at 2:00 p.m.
To set up our conversation, Uni High Library GA Cynthia Medrano Torres shared a reflection on the book:
Freddie Riley is in love with Laura Dean, the most popular, dreamiest, and charismatic girl in school, but there’s a few problems: Laura isn’t all that nice to her. Full of desperation after Laura breaks her heart again, Freddie begins writing to advice columnist, Anna Vice, framing the story through these emails. Despite the sound advice from her best friend, Doodle, and local mystic, Seek-Her, Freddie can’t seem to give up on her toxic relationship, even at the cost of her closest friendship. Throughout the book, Freddie isolates herself and becomes a bad friend. She must realize the person she’s dating brings out the worst in her. This heartfelt graphic novel follows Freddie’s journey of re-learning how to show up for her friends (and herself).
This heartfelt graphic novel follows Freddie’s journey of re-learning how to show up for her friends (and herself).
The muted pinks bursting across the black and white sketches are raw, making readers empathize with intense emotions. Much like Mariko Tamaki’s previous works (This One Summer and Skim), this snapshot delves into an experience that alters a girl’s self-perception and opens opportunity for growth. There isn’t a dramatic crescendo for plot, but rather continuous moments of deep introspection. You keep wondering “will she, won’t she?” as it offers convincing portrayals of a queer teen girl making choices and finding herself. Tamaki and O-Connell succeed in representing racially diverse LBGTQ characters in a way that feels natural and layered. While this novel promotes universal experiences of first love, heartbreak, and friendship, the queer characters bring a refreshing perspective and send a powerful message, especially regarding Laura and Freddie’s unhealthy relationship. It gifts LGBTQ readers with open conversations about their experiences in a genuine and touching way. Audiences who enjoy highly emotional and realistic stories will appreciate this sad, but soft (oh so soft) book.
Side note: The plushies that sent little messages were so cute.
Cynthia Medrano Torres