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by Julie Maroh ; illustrated by Julie Maroh ; translated by Ivanka Hahnenberger

Age Range: 16 & up

Pub Date: Sept. 25th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-55152-514-3
Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press

From Belgium, the graphic novel on which the 2013 Palme d’Or–winning film of the same name was based.

Clementine is 15 in 1994 when she sees a beautiful young woman with blue hair crossing the plaza. That night, the woman figures in an erotic dream, and her world is rocked. “I had no right to have thoughts like that.” When she meets blue-haired Emma for real, she begins an at-first platonic relationship with the art student, who tells Clementine of her own coming out. The relationship turns sexual (graphically, beautifully so) and complicated. The story is told in flashback; readers meet a years-older Emma in the aftermath of Clementine’s funeral as she reads Clementine’s teenage diaries. The late-2000s scenes are somber and washed with blues, while the bulk of the tale is drawn in delicate black, gray and white with strategic highlights of blue. The text is occasionally clunky and purposive—“We do not choose the one we fall in love with, and our perception of happiness is our own and is determined by what we experience…”—but the illustrations are infused with genuine, raw feeling. Wide-eyed Clementine wears every emotion on her sleeve, and even if today’s teens will feel that her mid-’90s experience is rather antique, they will understand her journey perfectly.

Though a bit of a period piece, a lovely and wholehearted coming-out story. (Graphic historical fiction. 16 & up)