Review: Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell

bsg-eizcj311a0tpwi0_osuzy-exegvdfwc1mhpuuessyg6060“Of course, I know there are LGBTQIA activists out there who fought for centuries for me to have the right to fuck up like this… I’m aware that I should be grateful that I have the ability to get broken up with and publicly humiliated the same as my hetero friends. I am progress.”

This tremendous queer coming-of-age story feels heart achingly familiar and extraordinary at the same time. Stunningly rendered in grayscale, with tinges of pink, by artist Rosemary Valero-O’Connell, Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me is about two High School girls — Frederica (Freddy) Riley and Laura Dean — in a seriously toxic relationship, and spans a formative year in their lives; through the highs and lows of young, raw, love and the repercussions their noxious romance has on those around them.

Set in Berkeley, California, the cast is extremely diverse, with a broad range of sexualities, race, gender expressions and body shapes presented, not just as background, but as substantial characters, dealing with their own trials and tribulations that don’t always come to the fore — this isn’t their story, it’s Frederica’s —  but lends the narrative credibility. This world feels lived in; the characters breathe.

Complex characters, authentic dialogue, and messy-but-beautiful friendships; Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell have created a modern classic of graphic storytelling. Readers who’ve aged beyond Raina Telgemeier’s work should seek this out immediately. Read it, love it, cherish it. You won’t regret it.

ISBN: 9781626722590
Format: Paperback / softback
Pages: 304
Imprint: First Second
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Publish Date: 7-May-2019
Country of Publication: United States

One thought on “Review: Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell

  1. This was the first graphic novel I read by this author and it made me want to immediately go out and read her other stuff. ‘This One Summer’ and ‘Skim’ are great too (even though they’re not all by the same illustrator.)

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