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A thoughtful and compelling exploration of adolescence.

Thrash (Strange Lies, 2017, etc.) returns with a graphic memoir blended with fiction.

A year and a half after Honor Girl (2015) ends, Thrash is a high school junior who has come out as lesbian; she is also depressed and flunking out of her exclusive prep school. She lives a life of ease and plenty with her overbearing, henpecking mother and federal judge father in their sprawling Atlanta home. Her only real sense of responsibility is to her beloved gray cat, Tommi, recently lost. While searching her cavernous house for Tommi, she befriends a ghost—also named Tommy—who lives in stark economic contrast to her. With a bit of insightful investigation, Thrash soon learns more about Tommy’s past, her father, and herself. Through an acute lens, Thrash has masterfully captured the tedium and melancholy of being a teenager: the self-doubt and preoccupation, the crushing ennui, and the sense of futility. In one scene, she recalls coming out, expecting this to be the topic of conversation at school, only to be ignored by her peers. Mixing recollections with a supernatural Hamlet-inspired theme, her watercolor-tinged illustrations add a wonderfully ethereal layer to an already nuanced offering. Defying genre boundaries, Thrash has proven herself a capable memoirist able to pinpoint her own pivotal life moments, turn them into art, and take risks with conventions. Nearly all characters present as white.

A thoughtful and compelling exploration of adolescence. (Graphic memoir/fiction. 13-adult)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9419-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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A bright, perceptive bildungsroman with a distinctive setting.

Humor and youthful angst lighten this graphic memoir of life in a country pulled strongly in different directions by conflicts between Western and conservative Muslim values.

Samanci looks back on her youth and schooling with a dual perspective: as a middle-class child caught up in relentless family pressure to excel academically as the only route to a secure future and, in a broader context, as a woman in a country that was forcibly Westernized years ago by the revered Atatürk but is currently experiencing a cultural backlash abetted by a repressive and corrupt government. The mixed context results in some wrenching juxtapositions. Effervescent childhood memories include falling madly in love with a stylishly dressed teacher, the huge popularity of the TV show Dallas (this was the early 1980s), and, later, trying (and failing) to juggle drama classes at one university with math classes at another. These are punctuated by graphic scenes of executions, comments from hostile schoolmates about “westernized bitches,” and a violent mugging on campus. Depicting herself with an unruly ginger mop that captures her character as well as making her easy to spot on the page, the author works dialogue and narrative around unframed, loosely drawn vignettes. These feature judicious spots of color, fluid lines, and occasional collage elements.

A bright, perceptive bildungsroman with a distinctive setting. (Graphic memoir. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-374-31698-3

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Margaret Ferguson/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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