An autobiographical graphic pastiche recounts the author’s experience of leaving her rural hometown and going to art school in a new city.
Ramsey spent her first 18 years in the quiet town of Paw Paw, Mich., but she knew that she wanted to leave her comfort zone. After applying to a number of art schools—which she chose based on location and relative vibrancy of their punk scenes—she selects an art institute in Baltimore. She makes friends easily and shares her experiences of freshman year: being silly, pulling all-nighters and hanging out. As the semester wanes, the group’s dynamics shift, and Ramsey finds herself about to start her summer with a new boyfriend, Daniel. Ramsey’s an obsessive list-keeper, and her recollections are liberally peppered with catalogs of things she thinks about, memories drawn as comics and snippets from her journal. Being in her head is an intensely personal experience, but readers may feel oddly disconnected from her social life and her interplay with her peers. One of her professors tells her that she has “such a wall around [herself]”; this seems especially true in many places throughout her memoir.
Despite its split personality, her story is easy to relate to and recommended for fans of Raina Telgemeier and Laura Lee Gulledge. (Graphic memoir. 13 & up)